Thursday, 22 August 2013

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones: Movie Review

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones: Movie Review


Cast: Lily Collins, Robert Sheehan, Jamie Campbell Bower, Lena Headey, Aiden Turner, Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Director: Harald Zwart

So, another YA series gets a big screen outing.

This latest, is the first of a six book series from author Cassandra Clare and was published back in 2007.

City of Bones focuses on Lily Collins' Clary, who has her New York world thrown upside down on her birthday. Not only does her mother disappear but she finds out she is a descendant of a line of Shadowhunters, a secret group who are locked in an eternal battle against demons for the protection of our world.

Clary is forced to join forces with these Shadow Hunters to try and track down her mother and an object of power known as the Mortal Cup - but that places her and her long time friend Simon (Misfits' star Robert Sheehan) in peril by putting them into a world of runes, vampires, werewolves, warlocks, angels and demons - and in the midst of a war, described portentously by one character as "A war that can never be won but always must be fought..."

But it also puts Clary in a position of discovering herself and a new potential love in the form of Jamie Campbell Bower's Jace, a hooded, blonde tousled fighter for the cause.

So, once again the teen / YA / supernatural genre gets another entrant, and once again, all the teen cliches and tropes, poor dialogue, brooding,  love triangle and dodgy acting are present.

I'm not 100% sure that it's the fault of the film that's launching The Mortal Instruments series, particularly if they are following the source material, but the generally cliched tone will mean that it won't appeal to all audiences. At times, it feels like a generic piece, with a lot of familiar elements in place from thousands of films you've seen before. References to Ghostbusters, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, an homage to the Exorcist, a Star Wars feel, a kiss in manufactured rain in a greenhouse between Clary and Jace (hello, Nicholas Sparks) and other moments et al - there are plenty of nods to others of its ilk and the end result is that The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones feels like a patchwork quilt of supernatural fantasy elements of the genre and doesn't really have a full identity of its own to stand on its own two feet.

Some of the CGI is a little off as well - with the werewolves looking slightly off kilter and feeling out of place. And a final showdown between Jonathan Rhys Meyers' boggling eyed baddie and just about everyone else goes on for way too long and places too many in jeopardy that by cutting back and forth, director Zwart loses any palpable feeling of tension for any of our heroes and heroines.

Plot threads are left dangling as well, with two major ones not resolved - though, this, I'm guessing, is intended to ensure future films are made (and is, in my understanding, in keeping with the books) but means it's a frustrating touch for the casual viewer.

In terms of the acting; Collins is okay as the lead - she does the doe-eyed girl in love well, but never quite convinces as the action heroine (though, she's a step up from a few others within her genre); Campbell Bower is a little too wooden and emotionless to feel any real chemistry between him and Collins; Sheehan impresses with some comic relief (though, to be frank, he's playing a lower level version of his Misfits character Nathan) but he's sidelined towards the end.

All in all, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones movie may well appeal to those teen audiences looking for a new YA fix now that Twilight has departed - but for the rest of the audience, there will be a general rolling of the eyes and a feeling that everything here's been done before. And in some cases, in a better film.

Rating:


18 comments:

  1. Such a bias critic! Would be nice to read one by somebody that doesn't hate on the whole genre and presume people won't like it because of that.

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  2. Ok it is NOT Twilight at all. The love triangle does not last long in the series. In fact it is unlike any other series. This critic of course would not know that, considering he was being a bit biased. The only similarity between this movie/book series and other films/books like Twilight or The Hunger Games is that they are written to target the teenage/early adult interests in literature.

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  3. sounds like they kept the characters close to their book descriptions...

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  4. Stephanie - I don't hate the whole genre - I quite enjoyed parts of Twilight and am a big fan of the Hunger Games. My issue is that I can't see the wide appeal in these films based on the first; plus as I said I've seen it all before. It's competently put together but when it's nothing original, it's not the best. Myra - I've not read the books so that's good to know - but based on what I saw on the screen, there was the worrying potential it would go on. Thanks for the comments and please let me know what you think when you see it.

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    1. So since you've seen it all before ... What you're really saying is that your an old fart that should be watching and criticing movies in your own age range. Like REDS. A story about old farts reliving their glory days by killing the spirit of their younger counter parts. Instead of ripping apart the work of a real writer why don't U come up with an original thought of your own. Stop killing the enthusiasm.

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  5. The movie was awful! But to characterize the plot line and book as being horrible as well is to do it a great disservice. The movie didn't seem to take hardly anything from its source material. So disappointing as a major fan of the series.

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  6. The books were fantastic and the film was great, but every film adaptation will never be as good as the book in terms of carrying the story because a film can only be so long. I loved the film and felt that the actors pulled their parts off although Lily didn't have the complete character of Clary, but all in all , I liked the film and hope there is a next one. The Mortal instruments are not the generic mainstream stories around right now and the idea and plot itself does not bore like the rest of the genre.

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  7. Jace looked unhealthy and way to skinny for my taste... but then again I pictured the character as Alez Pettyfer so... yeah. And I expected to have a feeling of wow after seeing it but it was just kinda like blah. It also ran way to long. And at some points I felt myself getting bored and figity. With a generation that is obsessed with unrealistc and "magical" romances these movies really need to start stepping up there game. There all starting to seem the same.

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  8. Guys, really appreciate you alltaking the time to comment. Interesting opinions here and a good spread from fans and not fans. Thanks for stopping by and see you around again?

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  9. For anyone who has actually read the books they will tell you that this movie is a bunch of garbage.... and the reason why its garbage is because they did not stick to the book.. the changed about 80% of the movie and made there own story... people wanted to actually see on the big screen what they read... at the end I wanted my money back....

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    1. People who think that the movie is bad because it changed some of the plot must know that the Movie is an adaptation so it can be as different as it wants to be. So don't just say that the movie is bad just because the movie is a bit different from the book.

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  10. Okay so I've read the series and i must say, the movie kind of followed the plot of the book but still took away most and put different stuff in. Sure, the book and movie were very different, but it's like that for every book-to-movie production. But honestly it made it more interesting for me, as i wasn't sitting there knowing what was going to happen. And The Mortal Instruments isn't like Twilight - I hate it when people say that - it's own story. YA books overdue the whole love triangle thing - it's true, we all know it - but the city of bones didn't have much of a love triangle - and the relationships in this movie wasn't really the main focus either. I think most viewers were generally happy - I mean both times I've gone to see it the whole theatre were laughing at the little comments and they seemed to enjoy it. It was a long a movie (I was fidgety by the end) but it's also a 500 page book so it's kind of hard to shove everything in - which is why certain parts seemed a little rushed. Personally, I highly enjoyed the movie as much as I did the books.

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  11. I totally agree with this review and I read the book. The movie lacked well everything and even as a reader of the book I had no idea what was going on in the movie. Nothing was ever fully explained and there were so many plot holes. There was far too much information for a two hour movie, it felt crammed. All in all, I wish I could unsee this movie and still have the delight the book brought me. I hope they don't make a sequel.

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  12. The movie was a joke. The acting was terrible, the casting intolerable, and the cgi laughable. I really like the books, and am usually able to enjoy a less than perfect book to screen adaptation, but this one was a complete flop. Giving away major drivers of the series' suspense and completely reconstructing characters is not something you can just brush off. On top of that, not explaining ANYTHING important completely alienates anyone who hasn't read the book and is interested in more than just the fight scenes. I call for a do-over and my money back.

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  13. Your review is your opinion and that's fine. I just have to say about Robert Sheehan's character - Simon is a lower level version of Nathan? How? They're pretty much completely different types of characters. I don't understand how you can think they're anything alike at all. I actually thought Robert was probably the best actor in the entire cast, he really nailed his role as Simon imo, and having been a fan of misfits, I saw no resemblance to Nathan in any way.

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  14. I loved book so much eagerly waiting for the Movie....Fifty shades of grey..
    Fifty Shades Movie

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  15. Great review ...
    Please keep sharing more...
    Thanks a lot
    Movie Fifty shades

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