‘City of Bones’ disappoints, squanders source material
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Harold Zwart, director Screen Gems
Logan Qualls | writer
When a popular book series is adapted to film, the comparison game between book and movie inevitably ensues.
“Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” loses that game. It loses hard. Fans of the book will not be distracted by the extensive use of CGI or varied fight scenes so that they can ignore the glaring mistakes between the book and film adaptation.
A different side of New York City slowly reveals itself when Clary Fray (Lily Collins; “The Blind Side,” “Mirror Mirror”) begins to see an enigmatic symbol that appears with alarming regularity.
Following a desire to learn the meaning of the symbol, Clary drags her friend Simon (Robert Sheehan; “Season of the Witch”) into the nightclub, Pandemonium. There, Clary witnesses a murder committed by mysterious strangers that only she can see.
The next day, Clary recognizes one of the murderers who reveals himself to be Jace Wayland (Jamie Campbell Bower; “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”). He divulges to Clary that he belongs to a group of warriors, called Shadowhunters, that combat demons, much like the one Clary previously witnessed at the nightclub.
Meanwhile, Clary’s mother, Jocelyn Fray, (Lena Headey; “The Purge,” TV’s “Game of Thrones”) is abducted by two men, though not before she warns Clary to stay away from home. Clary rushes home to find her mother missing, the apartment destroyed and a vicious demon waiting to attack. Clary is saved by the timely arrival of Jace.
After her harrowing experience with the demon, Jace and Clary encounter Simon, who insists on joining their effort. The three leave to seek help from Luke Garroway, (Aidan Turner; “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”) Jocelyn Fray’s longtime friend and Clary’s pseudo surrogate father. The three find Luke captive at the hands of the same men who took Jocelyn.
With no other options, Clary and Simon accompany Jace to the Institute, a sort of refuge/HQ for Shadowhunters in New York City.
There she learns some of the history of Shadowhunters as well as insight into her mother’s involvement with the Mortal Cup, the cup given to the original Shadowhunters by the Angel Raziel.
The Mortal Cup possesses the ability to create new Shadowhunters and is of much interest to Valentine, the man responsible for Jocelyn Fray’s abduction.
The film’s soundtrack features artists including Demi Lovato, Zedd, and Colbie Caillat. The slick production of the soundtrack coupled well with the seamless action scenes.
The cast, more than capable, did its best to provide life to their characters but ultimately fell short. I spent most of the film desperately wishing for any reason to care.
There was plenty of material to use from the book, but the film squandered that opportunity by pushing the tried love triangle interspersed with sickening amounts of teenage angst. Never would I have imagined a fantasy film could be so boring. Characters were uninteresting and the dialogue riddled with clichés.
“Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” provides little to distinguish itself in the prolific fantasy film genre. It can be summarized as an exciting premise diluted by teenage trivialities.