The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013)
Review by Jude Felton
Book adaptations are certainly nothing new, in the world of movies but, thanks in part to the combined box office slaying by the Harry Potter and Twilight flicks, they can be huge business. The combined returns of those two franchises must be well into the billions. The target audience is definitely of a younger variety and savvy old chaps, that the film studios are, they are always looking for the next big franchise.
The two mentioned above are exceptional examples of big money making, although on the flipside there have been those that have not been quite as successful. The Percy Jackson flicks, which are now two in, have been moderate successes and the less said about the John Carter flick the better. One that did not exactly rake it in at theaters was The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, adapted from the series written by Cassandra Clare, and I am actually quite surprised at this, as the film is fairly entertaining.
The core story follows a popular theme; a regular person realizing they have special powers, and is not quite “normal”. In the case of City of Bones it is Clary (rhymes with Larry), a young girl who keeps seeing a strange symbol. Events get even stranger when she witnesses, what she thinks is, a murder at a local nightclub. The strange thing is that no one else sees it.
It soon transpires that she is not a “mundane”, she is in fact the latest in a long line of Shadowhunters, a breed who fight to keep the demons, and other monsters, out of the everyday world.
You can throw in subplots involving family, a budding romance, unrequited love and many more themes that are common in this style of movie, add a fair smattering of vampires, werewolves and demons, and you actually get yourself a fun movie.
There are moments though where you will find yourself questioning the onscreen action, and the love story side of things is a little too much at times, but the cast is solid, the action cool and the overall feel of the film is one of entertainment. Whether or not the second in the series, City of Ashes, ever gets to see the light of day still remains though. I certainly hope so, as this film really serves as an introduction to the series, with four more books (and a fifth in the works) all ready to be tapped into.
Compared to the aforementioned Harry Potter and Twilight films, City of Bones is definitely a darker and more complex film, although it is far from taxing on the mind and it is still aimed at a younger audience, but I feel that this may have contributed in the poor box office performance. Still, an enjoyable film is an enjoyable film, and what City of Bones does it does quite well. The effects are cool, there’s some nice humor and Jared Harris (who plays the Dumbledore-esque Hodge) is also good value for money.
If films of this ilk aren’t your cup of tea you probably aren’t going to check this out. However, if action/adventure flicks with a little romance float your boat, you could do a lot worse than to check this out. Sometimes movies can just be good fun, and this is one such example. Not perfect, but definitely entertaining.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is released on December 3rd by Sony.