The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones – Review

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Cast: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Genre: , ,
Age Restriction:
Studio: Constantin Film International GMBH, Unique features
Running Time: 125

Verdict: 3.5 / 5

Back in the 80’s JTT and Devon Sawa, and others like them, were the only real choice for the masses of hormone enraged teens. Clean cut, sweetly charming with floppy hair was the only choice verses a half-naked wondering mythical demon slayers of recent films. If we had leather clad Harley-Davidson driving men who introduced us into a mythical world that was living parallel to our The Babysitters Club universe I think we would have lost our minds.

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Clary Fray: Shadow Hunters?
Hodge Starkweather: Half Angel, Half human. Beings of immense power, strong enough to restore balance… and protect the world in a war against evil.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is an action-adventure science fantasy film that is based on The Mortal Instruments series written by Cassandra Clare. It is surprising to see that in this day and age, an age where the application of the Bechdel Test (are there 2 or more women in this narrative, do they have names and do they speak to each other about something other than a man?) is encouraged and the emancipation of women is so on the forefront of our mainstream media, that it is still a struggle to find a studio that is interested in taking on a film with a female lead. Suffice to say, Clare had a pretty rough time of it finding a film studio to take on the film. We are glad that someone finally had the balls to do it.

Based in contemporary New York, 15 year old Clary Fray (Lily Collins) lives shielded from a dark secret and an unseen battle between good and evil. The older she gets the more strange memories begin to surface into her mind and she begins to repetitively doodle strange symbols. One night she witnesses a ‘murder’ and has an encounter with Jace Wayland (Jamie Campbell Bower), a surprisingly hot shadowhunter. After Clary’s mom (Lena Headly) goes missing, Jace takes her to the only person who can help her. Together they discover Clary’s hidden past and the powers that come with it; they battle an increasing attraction to each other (and the consequences thereof) and fend off the encroaching enemy simply called ‘Valentine’.

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The settings and production design of this movie is really pleasing. It turns what could be seen as a trying-too-hard mediocre film into one that is refreshing, mysterious and sexy. The acting isn’t phenomenal but it suits the format and the target market of the film. For these efforts, the film has been recognized by the Canadian Screen Awards with nominations for Achievement in Art Direction/Production Design, Achievement in Costume Design, Achievement in Make-Up, Achievement in Overall Sound, Achievement in Sound Editing and Achievement in Visual Effects.

It is always with a bit of trepidation that one goes to see an adaptation of a novel that has been loved by countless teenagers. It is a litmus test of the intellect of our young, the new meat on the market and the latest mythical mystery that will be turned into a franchise and sub-culture.

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Truth be told, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones could have been an utter disaster but surprisingly, it wasn’t. It wasn’t a gruelling sit-through for accompanying adults. It was rather captivating. It is by no means a deep thinking adult movie, it is clearly for the tweens to early adult’s age group but it can be tolerated, dare I say enjoyed, by adults as well.

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