With cheesy dialogue, predictable scenarios, teen angst and complicated romance one might think I was reviewing one of the many TWILIGHT films. Even though THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES is pulled directly from the pages of the young adult fiction of the same name written by Cassandra Clare, it’s a bit removed from the Bella-Edward-Jacob love triangle. With this flick there is a little more to the supernatural world that mere humans are not privy to on a daily basis than feuding vampires and werewolves. Having never read the series of novels in Clare’s franchise, this flick was my first introduction to the world of shadowhunters. To say I expected a cheap knock-off the TWILIGHT franchise, is putting it mildly, so I was completely thrown when things were a more freaky and darker than I predicted.
Meet Clary Fray, a spirited teen who learns she is the offspring of shadowhunters (demon fighters) upon the disappearance of her mother. With only the help of her human best friend, Simon, and a newly acquainted shadowhunter, Jace, Clary must learn more about the underworld and her past to find a hidden relic wanted by demons, shadowhunters, vampires, werewolves, witches, and the like, while attempting to discover what happened to her mother.
How does Lilly Collins continue to get cast in roles that highlight ridiculous dialogue and contain storylines that feel like the punchline of a painfully awkward joke? First with MIRROR MIRROR and now in THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES, I want to give the girl a big hug and tell her to wait for a good script to come along that is worthy of her abilities. Considering the material, she does a fine job in this picture as the lead with her portrayal of Clary. The chemistry between Collins and Jaime Campbell Bower’s character, Jace sizzle but there were moments where their bickering felt like watching some middle school drama go down. Some of you will recognize this actor from the last three TWILIGHT films as Caius but without the blood red eyes.
There is something to be said of a well timed line and fantastic delivery. For the beginning half of the movie, Robert Sheehan delivers some funny one-liners and points out exactly what the audience is thinking with his character, Simon. As the picture progresses however, he is underutilized and the character falls flat even when he is the cause for some of the tween-sized romantic drama.
On one hand THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES is one of those movies that is easy to bash or dismiss as a critic, but on the other hand is one that could easily slip into the realm of guilty pleasures. Is this picture so bad, it’s good? Are there enough redeeming qualities to make room in the vault for pictures we’re ashamed to enjoy? After some soul searching, THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES falls short of being a guilty pleasure and manages to find itself guilty of being a mediocre movie.
Audio (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1): Nice sound quality.
Video (2.40:1): Clean video, exactly what you would expect from a modern Blu-Ray.
Character Lineage (07:00): Discover the Secrets of The Mortal Instruments by exploring each Faction, Species, Affiliation and individual characters.
Deleted Scenes (4:44): Six deleted scenes (Stunningly Attractive, Simon Asks About Demons, Magnus’ Party, You Came Back For Me, Jace Confronts Valentine, Luke Tells Truth About Valentine) that were rightfully cut. However, the “Stunningly Attractive” scene made me ‘LOL’.
Featurettes (29:05): Into the Shadows: From Book to Screen (writer, screenwriter, producer, director,, actors, etc in a generic making of), Bringing Them To Life (discussing all the characters), Deadly Attraction (Lilly and Jaime, their outfits and attraction), Descendants Of The Cup(actors review fight training for the film), Entering The Shadow World (a look into the make-up of the monsters in the film, the making of the creatures and those who protect the world from demon/dark creatures).
“Almost is Never Enough” by Ariana Grande ft. Nathan Sykes (3:44) Typical music video of the featuring clips of the movie cut into the video.