The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013)

The Mortal Instruments City of Bones Movie Poster

Directed by Harald Zwart

In these last couple of years we’ve all witnessed the emergence of a new market in the film industry, namely the young adults. Various book franchises such as The Twilight Saga and The Hunger Games have made it to the big screens thanks to their staggering fan bases. It’s not rocket science: the genre offers young readers the opportunity to delve into magical worlds and to sympathize with the lives of the characters. However, the reality is much harder. As Hollywood endlessly continues digging into the young adult category, it’s been more or less a minefield for new young adult movies. The standards are high; the expectations even higher. On the other hand, success at the box office does not necessarily guarantee the movie’s quality, nor does it set a higher standard to strive to with the usual adaptations. Nevertheless, we can safely say that the Twilight movies were real crap, but should that be defining for future franchises with the prospect of an equivalent plot?

In this case, I am more than happy to tell you that you won’t be disappointed with The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, which is based on one of Cassandra Clare’s young adult novels. The movie basically revolves around the fifteen-year-old Clary who discovers she’s a shadowhunter (and so not a muggle mundane) early on in the movie. After Clary’s mom is kidnapped by evil demons, Clary sets out to join a team of shadowhunters and gets involved in something which is bigger than anything she could’ve imagined.

I’m guessing you wouldn’t be surprised if I told you that the author of the novel started out as a writer of fan fiction. Many plot elements seem to have been taken out of the world of Harry Potter and the Twilight Saga; hence the somewhat cliché-toned parts in the overall story. But don’t let those ruin it all for you. There are luckily enough quite a number of other elements that set The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones apart. For instance the movie has been set in a darker and a way more gloomy setting and atmosphere than The Twilight movies. Moreover, this movie includes more action scenes than I’d initially expected.

Now, does all this mean that Harald Zwart’s (The Karate Kid) City of Bones is entertaining after all? On the one hand it is, but on the other hand you can get really confused watching it. Besides the lack of creativity in some of the parts, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is a structural mess. The protagonist, Clary, naturally sets out on a quest to acquire something important. Somewhere in the middle of the movie, the main storyline is pushed aside to make room for some romance, a hint of a love/hate triangle, embarrassing dialogues and poor performances. Fortunately enough, it is until the ending scenes in which things go back to normal.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones tries too hard to be the new teen hype of 2013 which consequently results in unoriginal scenes lacking real depth and the usual cliché-ridden romance. Nevertheless, setting aside all temptations for a comparison, and trying to overlook the simplicity of the story, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones proves to be a satisfying experience for any ‘young adult’.


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6 thoughts on “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013)

  1. People who read her fanfiction can testify that parts of Mortal Instruments actually adapted from various HP fanfiction… I don’t even know what to make of that.
    Cliche indeed Niejan! Did u enjoy it tho? I couldn’t help but cringe through the entire film 😦

    • My expectations for this movie were low enough to allow me to enjoy it. I did find the action scenes interesting, but the rest looked like some bad copy&paste.

  2. I enjoyed the books this is based on, like you said the plots aren’t exactly original but they are fun. I think I’ll wait until this comes out on dvd to watch though as I imagine it’ll be one of those films that works better on the small screen.

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