[Movie Review] The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

By Melissa Platero, CCNN Writer

Shadow Hunters
This kind of dusty, badly lit scenery is common throughout the movie.

When you walk into a movie theater and notice that, aside from you and your friend, there’s only 4 other people… well, it kind of lowers your expectations for the entire movie. I’d blame the lack of audience on the time, but usually the 2pm slot for any movie at The Grove in Los Angeles is packed. The amount of viewers, however, is definitely expected with the low box office numbers. Not to mention, the reviews (this one included) are going to classify it as the lamest PG-13 movie of the year.

The Mortal Instruments movie is based on Cassandra Clare’s series of novels that go by the same name. The story focuses on Clary Fray (played by Lily Collins), a teenager who gets drawn into the world of demons, vampires, and various other monsters, in search of her missing mother.

The movie starts off strong with action sequences that have your heart racing, showing the world Clare has built with some promising cinematography. Following the search for Clary’s mother, Mortal Instruments tries to use monster mythology, but botches the experience with terrible CGI. The CGI is grimy and fake looking; werewolves look like overgrown puppy dogs, the vampire fangs look like cheap insertions, and demons that literally just look like they threw a black cloak on an actor. These distracting features make it difficult to enjoy the movie without bursting into laughter at every scene.

However, the worst part of the movie is the confusing plot and excessive amount of characters. The entire movie you’re introduced to characters that look like they will have a prominent part in the flick, but are gone within the next act. For the few mere seconds they’re on the screen, they reveal their troubles and ask for Clary’s help. You’d expect the movie to resolve these problems later on, but half of them never return.

Instead of getting closer to the whereabouts of Clary’s mom, Mortal Instruments focuses on the blossoming love triangle between Clary, her best friend Simon, and the new shadowhunter, Jace, she’s befriended. Despite the well-acted line delivery, the predictable cheesy lines resemble every other love triangle in Hollywood.

So, rather than getting an action-packed demon showdown, we’re given twenty minutes of fighting and an hour of lackluster character development. With far too many characters and storylines to follow, Mortal Instruments should have dedicated more time specifically to tying up loose ends smoothing the dialogue out. The final verdict? C-.

Images courtesy of The Mortal Instruments Facebook.