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Review: 'The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones' Starring Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower & More

Reviews
by Drew Taylor
August 21, 2013 9:58 AM
65 Comments
  • |

The duality of humankind has largely been visualized, at least in cartoons and broad comedies, as a tiny angel sitting on one shoulder while a devil is perched on the opposite shoulder. The inherent drama, of course, is watching as the character decides which symbol to listen to: the heavenly or the demonic. In the case of "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" (the ungainly subtitle is there because it's based on a series of popular young adult novels, and because the filmmakers and financiers are convinced this will be the beginning of a long and lucrative franchise), this dilemma is writ very, very, very large. But the inherent tension of this decision is diffused by a painful amount of clumsily introduced back-story, thin characterization, and a pace that makes the "Twilight" movies, which this movie is clearly inspired by, seem positively speedy in comparison.

The movie opens by introducing us, very briefly, to Clary Fray (Lily Collins), an average Brooklyn teenager who goes with her romantically ambiguous BFF Simon (Robert Sheehan) to a nightclub, where she witnesses a murder that apparently only she can see. Soon enough, she starts doodling a mysterious symbol and is being followed by one of the murderers from the club, who she must admit is sort of dreamy. While being confronted by this stranger, who says his name is Jace Wayland (Jamie Campbell Bower, who comes off like the working man's Nicholas Hoult), Clary gets a frantic call from her mother (Westeros' own Lena Headey). Clary returns home to find her apartment ransacked and her mother completely gone. The mystery! The intrigue! The insurance claims!

Soon, Clary is drawn into the world of "shadow hunters," half-angelic figures who fight evil but who cannot be seen by the "mundane" humans that populate the city. They walk around in lots of black leather, which makes them seem like the wimpiest biker gang ever, and every time they cast a spell, they have to etch a symbol into their skin, which leaves their flesh tattooed with runic graffiti. All of these impossibly young and pretty "shadow hunters" (including Kevin Zegers and Jemima West) make a pact to find Clary's mother and retrieve some kind of magical goblet, a "mortal instrument" (just like the title of the movie!) that holds some kind of incredible power that we still don't quite understand.

With a running time of 130 minutes, there's certainly a lot of plot in "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones," but the story is so obscure and cluttered that if you pinned us down and asked us what actually happened in the movie, we would still draw a blank. There are tons of demons and werewolves and vampires and critters with slippery tentacles, although what the connection these mystical monsters have with the bad guy's evil scheme is still beyond us. All of this nonsense probably would have made more sense if we had read the book (by Cassandra Clare) but that shouldn't be a prerequisite for watching the adaptation. The movie should stand on it's own. 'The Mortal Instruments' does not.

Collins, her hair dyed an unconvincing shade of red, does her best to emotionally anchor the movie in some kind of relatable reality. Her eyebrows, dark lightning bolts on her snow white skin, always seem to be twisted into some expressive punctuation mark. It's just that her transformation from Brooklyn every-girl to bad-ass demon hunter, never feels authentic. The idea of a shadowy supernatural underworld just beyond our own is a tantalizing concept, and having an audience surrogate as charming and beautiful as Collins is a terrific idea, but the filmmakers don't handle that transition gracefully. Instead of absorbing all of the weirdness with wide-eyed wonder, the narrative is clunky and awkward. Expository dialogue is less delivered than downloaded, and there's nothing even remotely graspable on an emotional level. It's all just a bunch of darkly lit hallways and poorly conceptualized, computer-generated creatures (the best of which look like ashy columns of smoke). Like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" before her, this should have been a story of female empowerment. Instead it's a story of a girl who, once again, does a lot of stupid stuff because she falls in love with a pretty boy. 

Half of the fun of these young adult novel adaptations is seeing what adult actors the filmmakers recruit to give heft to the Abercrombie & Fitch catalog cast. Sadly, this is one of many areas where "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" feels hopelessly limp and listless. Besides Headey, we get C.C.H. Pounder as a low rent mystic, a horribly wasted Jared Harris as the leader of the shadow hunters whose main character trait is his uncanny ability to lurk on the outskirts of scenes, and, most laughably, Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Valentine, an evil demonic something-or-other who looks like some kind of S&M swashbuckler, complete with phony-looking mini-braids sewn into his actual hair.

The one highlight of "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones," besides trying to figure out if the guy who plays the good werewolf is Michael Sheen (it isn't), is a moment when Clary suggests that one of the other shadow hunters doesn't like her because he is also in love with Jace. Just the implication of homosexuality in one of these young adult movies feels almost revelatory, since these movies often dramatize teenage feelings of otherness by having characters who are aliens, vampires, or angels, but rarely ever feature an actual gay character. Elsewhere, characters brandish clear plastic weapons that resemble oversized sex toys and almost everyone dresses like extras from "Cruising" (just wait until you get a load of the "high warlock of Brooklyn"), all of which contribute to a knowing gayness that at least adds a sense of effervescence to a movie that, despite having actual jokes, feels dire and grim.

When, in the movie's last act, Clary has to choose between the incredibly literal angel and devil, the drama is drained because the movie becomes bogged down in "Empire Strikes Back"-esque plot reveals (or are they?) and unnecessarily chaotic action set pieces, including some truly awful, "Birdemic"-quality computer generated birds. Director Harald Zwart, who also helmed the above average "Karate Kid" remake, shoots everything in luscious anamorphic widescreen, with lens flares and deep, cushy blacks. But no matter how good "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" looks, it's hard to really care about anything that's going on, and not just because we could barely understand it. [D]

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65 Comments

  • BOOKFAN.IG.376801A22 | July 4, 2014 6:35 PMReply

    FINALLY! Good to know I'm not the only one who HATES this movie. I read the books first and this movie is jut an insult to the books not following the plot line at all and being extremely confusing for those who haven't read the books. The demons are weird, valentine is just unreal and laughable- (he's supposed to have blonde hair and be in like a suit) Jamie and Lily were horribly acting and it wasn't realisticish at All-- their relationship- and Hodge gave away a giant spoiler, then the characters are nothing like how they were written -- I didn't like the casting choice except maybe hodge, so many people were offered the roles but turned it down. Like they knew it would be the worst movie ever made

  • Tzitzi | June 16, 2014 1:48 AMReply

    I watched the movie cuz I'm a big fan of Misfits so I wanted to see Robert act in a big Hollywood production but OMG this movie was so bad.
    It was all over the place, Clary just comes off kind of stupid, she never changes it makes no sense.
    And jace OMFG the most boring male lead (not the actor) the character just plain sucks, the dialogue!!

  • Tammy | May 11, 2014 12:26 AMReply

    It's a movie that needs to be watched a couple of times to get it. So give it a chance. It's fast pace from beginning to end and not boring. Your comments are unreasonable. Open your mind and don't compare it to Twilight as they are completely different and Twilight was predictable. The acting was much better in this and the story line is much more intriguing. Bring on the sequel I say

  • Imari | April 20, 2014 11:33 PMReply

    I hope they make a new movie

  • TMI.BOOKS.YES. | July 4, 2014 6:37 PM

    Yes, following the book with a new casting -_-

  • http://www.accountantslondon.org | February 4, 2014 3:25 AMReply

    Daniels did an amazing job on The Butler, his best work to date and tremendous growth and skill on display. Highly recommended. David Oyewelo did a great job. Everyone did.

  • Nonicantik | February 1, 2014 1:00 AMReply

    I liked this movie a lot I don't agree with the twilight comparison just because other authors use supernatural plots doesn't mean it's twilight at least clary is actually part of their world Bella just kinda whines and gets in the way

    Kepulauan Seribu
    Pantai Pulau Tidung

  • Heather | December 12, 2013 1:28 AMReply

    MAYBE if you have NEVER read the book you might find this to be an ok movie.
    Maybe. How ccan you people have positive things to say about this? They took an
    Amazingly written novel and basically defecated all over it. I still don't know what they were thinking??? This movie comes off like a bad SNL parody of the series and any true fan of the books would agree. The ravener? Agramon? The foresaken? Demons at the institute? Good thing they completely F***ed this one up. Hopefully 7-8 years or so down the road they can reboot the adaptation of this series and give the fans the awe inspiring film we have been waiting so long for. This movie just brings shame to Cassandra Clare and the whole series.

  • Me | September 10, 2013 2:00 PMReply

    I liked this movie a lot I don't agree with the twilight comparison just because other authors use supernatural plots doesn't mean it's twilight at least clary is actually part of their world Bella just kinda whines and gets in the way

  • Frank | September 2, 2013 3:25 AMReply

    I usually don't like this type of movies, as I didn't like Twilight, but my wife does and she convinced me to go and see this. I went thinking that it was going to be a waste of money, but it actually turned out to be a good experience. I enjoyed it and I was able to connect with the whole world of the movie. I think the characters were engaging and the acting was not bad overall, nothing compared to the silliness of Twilight, although, I have to say it, the story borrows from a lot of other stories and it is not as original as we would like it to be

  • xzones2013 | September 1, 2013 12:36 PMReply

    Scrap movie i ever seen

  • Natalie | August 31, 2013 10:09 PMReply

    I agree with all the positive comments! And to the people who thinks its not good, well they are filming City of Ashes, so in your face.

  • Natalie | August 31, 2013 10:03 PMReply

    I think it was amazing, all the actors were perfect especially Jamie! He is the perfect Jace, I don't agree with anyone here, it's not like twilight at all. It's amazing. Now stop saying it sucks and it's a flop because its not, and if you see the premieres and mall tours etc. millions of fans love it, stop being so witty.

  • Natalie | August 31, 2013 10:03 PMReply

    I think it was amazing, all the actors were perfect especially Jamie! He is the perfect Jace, I don't agree with anyone here, it's not like twilight at all. It's amazing. Now stop saying it sucks and it's a flop because its not, and if you see the premieres and mall tours etc. millions of fans love it, stop being so witty.

  • Lily Potter | September 28, 2013 7:04 AM

    Jmaie is a cheating dickhead and cassie clare plagerised from buffy the vampire slayer and heaps and heaps from the draco trilogy. Its not like twilight i agree it is 999999999 times worse and that is saying something seeinga s the series isnt to good either.

  • Carolyn | August 28, 2013 6:44 PMReply

    The worst film I have seen EVER!! I knew nothing about the film or the book so went to see it with an open mind as a friend had free tickets. Thank goodness we didn't pay to see it - a total waste of money. The acting, particularly by Jamie Campbell Bower, was dreadful to say the least - and he looks like a cross between Martin Bryant and Julian Assange!! The visual effects were so bad and totally ridiculous. I can appreciate that films of this genre are some people's cup of tea and I am sure that some are done in an exceptional manner but this was pathetic and beyond the joke. If only you could have been swept away in the fantasy of it all, but sadly you couldn't. The ridiculousness of it all was far and above what could have been a trip into an interesting world of make believe.

  • Floshandwa | August 27, 2013 4:08 PMReply

    I agree with you all the way...plus the person who played Magnus sucked

  • savannah | March 4, 2014 2:40 PM

    thank you

  • TMI101 | August 27, 2013 7:04 AMReply

    Disappointment. It was the only thing I felt when I watch the 'characters' come to life.
    Issues with the movie:
    1) Jace.
    And no, it is not about the casting. I have come to terms with it since last year despite the initial letdown. I promised to give Jamie a chance and went ahead to watch my favourite series on the big screen. But my friends were right. He was not Jace. He was so hopelessly 'Edward', so ready to 'rescue' the damsel in distress and come on! "I will protect you with my life"? That's NOT Jace. And the falcon story-- the key to understanding Jace....... I can't believe how they screwed it up. So badly. So so so so so badly.

    2) Also Jace
    Do you realise that only Simon kept the witty lines? When he protested that "those were cops" 'Jace' could only refute by saying those weren't cops. IF HE WAS JACE: He would have said something so witty that it will shut Simon up. But no. And the really cool lines? He said it so fast that nobody caught it.

    3) Valentine.
    Valentine does not dress like that. I mean come on! Plaits? Really? He is a militarian, someone who is so disciplined. And he turns up in plaits? Plaits? Geez.

    4) Clace
    They just found out the whole 'truth'. And the way they handled it? Drive away into the sunset on a motorcycle (which is supposed to fly by the way)

    5) Magnus.
    Magnus. Bane. Where is our flamboyant and fun warlock? Wait? Gone on vacation? Yeah. That makes sense.

    Honestly, before I went for the movie, I was so mad at the critics who compared it to Twilight because I loved the series so much (trust me, the books are nothing like twilight. NOTHING). But on the screen, yes, they did appear like 'twilight-ish'. Jace seems so 'Edward', with his gentlemanly ways and reassuring Clary. He was supposed to be an 'angst-ridden teenager' and here we have a mild guy who is so obviously head over heels.

    Yes. The books: Awesome. The movie: Twilight.

  • TMI101 | August 27, 2013 7:02 AMReply

    Disappointment. It was the only thing I felt when I watch the 'characters' come to life.
    Issues with the movie:
    1) Jace.
    And no, it is not about the casting. I have come to terms with it since last year despite the initial letdown. I promised to give Jamie a chance and went ahead to watch my favourite series on the big screen. But my friends were right. He was not Jace. He was so hopelessly 'Edward', so ready to 'rescue' the damsel in distress and come on! "I will protect you with my life"? That's NOT Jace. And the falcon story-- the key to understanding Jace....... I can't believe how they screwed it up. So badly. So so so so so badly.

    2) Also Jace
    Do you realise that only Simon kept the witty lines? When he protested that "those were cops" 'Jace' could only refute by saying those weren't cops. IF HE WAS JACE: He would have said something so witty that it will shut Simon up. But no. And the really cool lines? He said it so fast that nobody caught it.

    3) Valentine.
    Valentine does not dress like that. I mean come on! Plaits? Really? He is a militarian, someone who is so disciplined. And he turns up in plaits? Plaits? Geez.

    4) Clace
    They just found out the whole 'truth'. And the way they handled it? Drive away into the sunset on a motorcycle (which is supposed to fly by the way)

    5) Magnus.
    Magnus. Bane. Where is our flamboyant and fun warlock? Wait? Gone on vacation? Yeah. That makes sense.

    Honestly, before I went for the movie, I was so mad at the critics who compared it to Twilight because I loved the series so much (trust me, the books are nothing like twilight. NOTHING). But on the screen, yes, they did appear like 'twilight-ish'. Jace seems so 'Edward', with his gentlemanly ways and reassuring Clary. He was supposed to be an 'angst-ridden teenager' and here we have a mild guy who is so obviously head over heels.

    Yes. The books: Awesome. The movie: Twilight.

  • Heather | December 12, 2013 1:41 AM

    Well finally a comment on here that doesn't make me foam at the mouth with rage.... I agree with everything you wrote. Magnus.... Ugh he was one of the WORST. First of all.... Where was the GLITTER? The PERSONALITY??? Magnus was NOT flamboyant enough, jace wasn't angsty enough/ funny enough/ hot enough ( goat face?), clary wasn't clever enough, valentine wasn't disciplined and cunning enough, hodge wasn't cowardly enough, Alec wasn't surly enough. And really.... Jace is that snarky sarcastic kind of guy. Everything he says is witty,rude,and narcessistic all delivered with a sly smirk and a facade of confidence that too clearly reveals the pain and anger hiding beneath that smooth cool surface.

  • TMI101 | August 27, 2013 7:02 AMReply

    Disappointment. It was the only thing I felt when I watch the 'characters' come to life.
    Issues with the movie:
    1) Jace.
    And no, it is not about the casting. I have come to terms with it since last year despite the initial letdown. I promised to give Jamie a chance and went ahead to watch my favourite series on the big screen. But my friends were right. He was not Jace. He was so hopelessly 'Edward', so ready to 'rescue' the damsel in distress and come on! "I will protect you with my life"? That's NOT Jace. And the falcon story-- the key to understanding Jace....... I can't believe how they screwed it up. So badly. So so so so so badly.

    2) Also Jace
    Do you realise that only Simon kept the witty lines? When he protested that "those were cops" 'Jace' could only refute by saying those weren't cops. IF HE WAS JACE: He would have said something so witty that it will shut Simon up. But no. And the really cool lines? He said it so fast that nobody caught it.

    3) Valentine.
    Valentine does not dress like that. I mean come on! Plaits? Really? He is a militarian, someone who is so disciplined. And he turns up in plaits? Plaits? Geez.

    4) Clace
    They just found out the whole 'truth'. And the way they handled it? Drive away into the sunset on a motorcycle (which is supposed to fly by the way)

    5) Magnus.
    Magnus. Bane. Where is our flamboyant and fun warlock? Wait? Gone on vacation? Yeah. That makes sense.

    Honestly, before I went for the movie, I was so mad at the critics who compared it to Twilight because I loved the series so much (trust me, the books are nothing like twilight. NOTHING). But on the screen, yes, they did appear like 'twilight-ish'. Jace seems so 'Edward', with his gentlemanly ways and reassuring Clary. He was supposed to be an 'angst-ridden teenager' and here we have a mild guy who is so obviously head over heels.

    Yes. The books: Awesome. The movie: Twilight.

  • TMI101 | August 27, 2013 6:52 AMReply

    Disappointment. It was the only thing I felt when I watch the 'characters' come to life.
    Issues with the movie:
    1) Jace.
    And no, it is not about the casting. I have come to terms with it since last year despite the initial letdown. I promised to give Jamie a chance and went ahead to watch my favourite series on the big screen. But my friends were right. He was not Jace. He was so hopelessly 'Edward', so ready to 'rescue' the damsel in distress and come on! "I will protect you with my life"? That's NOT Jace. And the falcon story-- the key to understanding Jace....... I can't believe how they screwed it up. So badly. So so so so so badly.

    2) Also Jace
    Do you realise that only Simon kept the witty lines? When he protested that "those were cops" 'Jace' could only refute by saying those weren't cops. IF HE WAS JACE: He would have said something so witty that it will shut Simon up. But no. And the really cool lines? He said it so fast that nobody caught it.

    3) Valentine.
    Valentine does not dress like that. I mean come on! Plaits? Really? He is a militarian, someone who is so disciplined. And he turns up in plaits? Plaits? Geez.

    4) Clace
    They just found out the whole 'truth'. And the way they handled it? Drive away into the sunset on a motorcycle (which is supposed to fly by the way)

    5) Magnus.
    Magnus. Bane. Where is our flamboyant and fun warlock? Wait? Gone on vacation? Yeah. That makes sense.

    Honestly, before I went for the movie, I was so mad at the critics who compared it to Twilight because I loved the series so much (trust me, the books are nothing like twilight. NOTHING). But on the screen, yes, they did appear like 'twilight-ish'. Jace seems so 'Edward', with his gentlemanly ways and reassuring Clary. He was supposed to be an 'angst-ridden teenager' and here we have a mild guy who is so obviously head over heels.

    Yes. The books: Awesome. The movie: Twilight.

  • TMI101 | August 27, 2013 6:52 AMReply

    Disappointment. It was the only thing I felt when I watch the 'characters' come to life.
    Issues with the movie:
    1) Jace.
    And no, it is not about the casting. I have come to terms with it since last year despite the initial letdown. I promised to give Jamie a chance and went ahead to watch my favourite series on the big screen. But my friends were right. He was not Jace. He was so hopelessly 'Edward', so ready to 'rescue' the damsel in distress and come on! "I will protect you with my life"? That's NOT Jace. And the falcon story-- the key to understanding Jace....... I can't believe how they screwed it up. So badly. So so so so so badly.

    2) Also Jace
    Do you realise that only Simon kept the witty lines? When he protested that "those were cops" 'Jace' could only refute by saying those weren't cops. IF HE WAS JACE: He would have said something so witty that it will shut Simon up. But no. And the really cool lines? He said it so fast that nobody caught it.

    3) Valentine.
    Valentine does not dress like that. I mean come on! Plaits? Really? He is a militarian, someone who is so disciplined. And he turns up in plaits? Plaits? Geez.

    4) Clace
    They just found out the whole 'truth'. And the way they handled it? Drive away into the sunset on a motorcycle (which is supposed to fly by the way)

    5) Magnus.
    Magnus. Bane. Where is our flamboyant and fun warlock? Wait? Gone on vacation? Yeah. That makes sense.

    Honestly, before I went for the movie, I was so mad at the critics who compared it to Twilight because I loved the series so much (trust me, the books are nothing like twilight. NOTHING). But on the screen, yes, they did appear like 'twilight-ish'. Jace seems so 'Edward', with his gentlemanly ways and reassuring Clary. He was supposed to be an 'angst-ridden teenager' and here we have a mild guy who is so obviously head over heels.

    Yes. The books: Awesome. The movie: Twilight.

  • TMI101 | August 27, 2013 6:52 AMReply

    Disappointment. It was the only thing I felt when I watch the 'characters' come to life.
    Issues with the movie:
    1) Jace.
    And no, it is not about the casting. I have come to terms with it since last year despite the initial letdown. I promised to give Jamie a chance and went ahead to watch my favourite series on the big screen. But my friends were right. He was not Jace. He was so hopelessly 'Edward', so ready to 'rescue' the damsel in distress and come on! "I will protect you with my life"? That's NOT Jace. And the falcon story-- the key to understanding Jace....... I can't believe how they screwed it up. So badly. So so so so so badly.

    2) Also Jace
    Do you realise that only Simon kept the witty lines? When he protested that "those were cops" 'Jace' could only refute by saying those weren't cops. IF HE WAS JACE: He would have said something so witty that it will shut Simon up. But no. And the really cool lines? He said it so fast that nobody caught it.

    3) Valentine.
    Valentine does not dress like that. I mean come on! Plaits? Really? He is a militarian, someone who is so disciplined. And he turns up in plaits? Plaits? Geez.

    4) Clace
    They just found out the whole 'truth'. And the way they handled it? Drive away into the sunset on a motorcycle (which is supposed to fly by the way)

    5) Magnus.
    Magnus. Bane. Where is our flamboyant and fun warlock? Wait? Gone on vacation? Yeah. That makes sense.

    Honestly, before I went for the movie, I was so mad at the critics who compared it to Twilight because I loved the series so much (trust me, the books are nothing like twilight. NOTHING). But on the screen, yes, they did appear like 'twilight-ish'. Jace seems so 'Edward', with his gentlemanly ways and reassuring Clary. He was supposed to be an 'angst-ridden teenager' and here we have a mild guy who is so obviously head over heels.

    Yes. The books: Awesome. The movie: Twilight.

  • Anna121 | August 26, 2013 7:36 PMReply

    Great review! I don't understand how someone who read the TMI books can honestly say that this was a GREAT movie, it just wasn't. Even though it was pretty faithful to the book scene-wise, it seemed like a parody of these scenes, and not like they are to be taken seriously! I know a movie can never be as good as a book, but that doesn't mean that they have to make cringe-worthy scenes like the kiss-szene in the garden! The whole feeling of the book was not there, not a single second through the whole movie. It seemed forced and somehow like a movie for girls aged 11-14 and not for older audiences, which was really disappointing. When I saw the trailers I was happy that the movie seemed to have this dark look instead of the typical teen-romance-fantasy movie, but that didn't help the movie at all since everything else was still aimed at a very young audience. I don't think that the actors were the problem though, I think the way it was directed, edited and executed was the main issue.

  • Keith | August 26, 2013 12:07 PMReply

    I found the movie quite enjoyable. No it didn't follow the book exactly but the spirit and feel of the book is right on in the film. I can't wait for City of Ashes. As for the critics and their endless negativity I have a few comments for you. THIS IS NOT TWILIGHT, HARRY POTTER OR ANY OTHER FILM. Until you judge this movie based on this book series alone your reviews are just as USELESS as you are.

  • Dileena | August 29, 2013 3:49 PM

    Oh my god! My thoughts exactly, I can't say it better than you. Yes, it was not perfect, there were some scenes, that were rather ... pointless, but afterall, I enjoyed it. I am surprised how negative all people are. I mean just because it is a teenage movie, it doesn't have to suck. How prejudiced people are. Honestly, I'm more disappointed from the critics, than from the movie. Way, way, way more disappointed.

  • Liam | August 25, 2013 10:55 PMReply

    I just recently went and saw the movie with my friend who read the books, a friend who didn't read the books, and myself (I truly enjoyed the book series). Upon walking out of the theatre I go to my friend who has not seen the books and ask her opinion on it, before I even made any type of statement on my opinion, she broke into a smile and gushed. She understood it completely and loved it even though she was super doubtful before we saw the movie. My friend and I who have read the books thought it was very good as well. We felt the casting was done very well except for Jace, and Alec. While Jace grew into the role (I thought he was perfect by the end of the movie), I felt Alec was a bit out of place. The institution was beautiful and a perfect setting. I felt the movie was well paced, although the music was a tad silly at times especially during the battle at DuMort. The only super downfall I felt the movie had was the huge reveal from the third book about Jace and Clary's relations that you never find out until the their book as stated before, so if you have not gotten halfway through the third book at least hold off on seeing it! Other than that I felt the movie was a great adaptation from a book perhaps one of the best I had seen. I had read reviews before I went to see it and was extremely upset by the fact that it got one star. Now I have no clue why it got one star at least 3 if your being critical! Seriously! Anyway it was very good and I feel the series will start to grow with time! (=

  • Dee | August 25, 2013 8:49 PMReply

    FO SRS.
    "Instead it's a story of a girl who, once again, does a lot of stupid stuff because she falls in love with a pretty boy."

    Did you even watch the movie? can you please point me to the scenes where this occurred? I was under the impression that Clary was trying to rescue her mother (and also the she rescues Simon along the way) and that Jace was the one going all after her doing stupid stuff and getting actually called out on it in the movie by Alec and later Isabelle as well! SERIOUSLY.

  • Brandy | August 25, 2013 6:31 PMReply

    I liked the movie...I think u are very wrong I read the book and it couldn't have been any closer to it. They did a wonderful job on the movie. I expected jace to have a better body but allthe same Jamie played the part very well. I think ur being too critical it is a teen movie . So Cassandra wonderful job...

  • Jess | August 25, 2013 2:28 AMReply

    Yes it was god awful, anything to make a quick buck hollywood. To lazy to make a good film cause the scroll down generation is to retarted to notice or care.

  • nessa | August 25, 2013 2:26 AMReply

    and one last thing.. Telling me that this is like Buffy the Vampire Slayer(tv show) just makes me want to watch it even more, because like Clary, Buffy kicks ass.

  • Jess | August 25, 2013 2:26 AMReply

    Yes it was god awful, anything to make a quick buck hollywood. To lazy to make a good film cause the scroll down generation is to retarted to notice or care.

  • nessa | August 25, 2013 2:21 AMReply

    LOls I feel like all the critics just want everyone to hate this movie, so they will say anything like some stupid comment about her eyebrows or whatever. Well guess what, this movie kicked ass. and people actually liked this movie. And I find it offensive that they would automatically think that this movie was "too confusing" for viewers, even though it explains everything to the viewer. and the pretty boy comment, if you actually take time to read the books before watching the movie, you would know she isn't some damsel in distress. she slays demons for god sakes. THINK FOR YOURSELVES PEOPLE. If you think you would enjoy a movie, than let yourself enjoy the damn movie.

  • Dileena | August 29, 2013 3:57 PM

    Dear Martine, how can I put this... Um, did you really watch the movie? I mean... at least most people are accusing it for being with too confusing plot, now you say there is no plot... hm... Interesting. And the demons? Really, you are going to go down this road? The demons were amazing. They were so realistic, that they even surprised me (I was expecting less of them). And by the way, what is your problem with girl audience? Aren't girls human? Isn't their oppinion just as good as boy's? What the hell is people's problem with girl audience, really. A movie about cars and explosions and fighting is for everyone, but once we have love and supernatural, it automatically is a bullshit. How come ?

  • Martine | August 28, 2013 3:58 AM

    If people liked this movie it would have made more the $9, 336, 957, 456 in the opening weekend. By comparison the Host did great. I have never even seen such low numbers. It cost 60 million to make and another 60 on marketing. They lost their arse with this film. NO ONE is even seeing it. Unfortunately i happen to have seen it. Eyebrows are not the worst thing about this film by a long shot. You have demons that look like Chucky dolls, a story that had no plot just some cheesy teenage supernatural love triangle. And the characters did so many stupid things that people were actually laughing and yelling at the screen. Even though it was all teenage girl audience thought it was dumb.

  • nessa | August 25, 2013 2:15 AMReply

    This movie kicked ass. It wasn't perfect to every tiny detail in the book, but it still delivered. screw the critics. Think for yourself.

  • Jessie | August 25, 2013 10:09 AM

    Thankyou I absolutely agree with you there was no need for that rude comment about her eyebrows and almost everything they said was not true. Yes it didn't comply fully to the books but it was still the best movie I have seen this year and the best book series ever. I went with friends who had read the books and they said It was great I also went with friends who hadn't read the books and they understood fully. This person was obviously not paying attention at all.

  • Jessie | August 25, 2013 10:09 AM

    Thankyou I absolutely agree with you there was no need for that rude comment about her eyebrows and almost everything they said was not true. Yes it didn't comply fully to the books but it was still the best movie I have seen this year and the best book series ever. I went with friends who had read the books and they said It was great I also went with friends who hadn't read the books and they understood fully. This person was obviously not paying attention at all.

  • sharni-jade | August 24, 2013 11:19 PMReply

    this is complete bs i have read the books and even though it was not exactly the same as the books it was AMAZING! my brother who has never read the books loved it and understood it completely! i am sick of people comparing it to twilight IT IS NOTHING LIKE TWILIGHT! even though twilight was good mortal instruments is so much different to it im not sure they should be compared. Any way i think that the movie did the books justice

  • Floshandwa | August 24, 2013 11:04 PMReply

    I didn't really read the article but I think the movie was horrible compared to the books because when I read the books I instantly fell in love but the movie was nothing like the books so it makes it hard to see what the following movies will feel like

  • Shame | August 25, 2013 8:37 AM

    "Yeah but your not watching a book are you, your watching the movie, movies never have to be like there books because there movies not books. Even without being compared to the book this movie was awful all on its own." And somewhere, a English teacher weeps.

  • Jess | August 25, 2013 2:29 AM

    Yeah but your not watching a book are you, your watching the movie, movies never have to be like there books because there movies not books. Even without being compared to the book this movie was awful all on its own.

  • Elesha-Marie | August 24, 2013 8:16 AMReply

    this review is complete and utter bs. I've never read the books, but I understood the film perfectly, I only saw it yesterday and I came out buzzing because I absolutely loved it. And its NOTHING like Twilight so that's rubbish. People need to stop comparing every new film to Twilight. and can I just add, Jamie played Jace perfectly

  • Val | August 24, 2013 3:38 AMReply

    This article claims the movie is just another teenage girl doing stupid things for a pretty boy? Really? What scene was that? Clary in the first book and ultimately through the entire series does exactly what she want often against the advise of the "pretty boy." Same is true in the movie. Also this article says the movie was hard to understand and there is some random goblet as if no one knows its purpose. The is odd since the movie directly tells the audience exactly what shadow hunters do, how and why they were created and exactly what part the mortal cup plays in that role. Whoever wrote this article seemed to watch the previews rather than the actual film. I personally love the book(s) and thought this movie did it justice. It was a great adaptation as well as a thoughly entertaining movie that stands on its own. I went with a friend who has never read the book and she loved the movie and understood everything. But then again, it wasn't hard to understand considering they make it a point to directly explain everything that needs it. All you had to do was listen.

  • Jessie | August 25, 2013 10:10 AM

    Preach it sister 😄👍👌

  • Niamh | August 23, 2013 12:25 PMReply

    One of the best films ever!! It was amazinggggg

  • Gia Lewman | August 23, 2013 8:08 AMReply

    I read and loved these books from the first moment. For the last 3 years I have been waiting for them to get their act together and make the movie. I won't lie, I was scanning The Mortal Instruments Website all the time to find out who the cast would be. I was so sad when they picked Jamie Campbell Bower. When you think of Jace, you picture someone who is lion-like. Someone with a bigger build. Jamie Campbell is like a toothpick. He doesn't look strong enough to be Jace. To top it off I had to watch all the cheesy interactions the screen writers threw in there for Lily and Jamie to have to interpret. And I am sorry but that isn't how I pictured the high warlock of Brooklyn. He needed just a bit more pizzazz and a LOT more snark.
    Sorry folks but this was a mediocre movie. I was so excited for it to come out but have been thoroughly disappointed.

  • maria nccabe | August 22, 2013 10:28 AMReply

    So amazing cant wait to see the movie going tonight gonna be great

  • Martine | August 28, 2013 4:04 AM

    Go quick before it gets pulled from the theaters. it won't be long at this rate. of course the books were mediocre, but this was just...sad. Clary basically just runs around being stupid and angry at everyone, constantly making her own situation worse by being too emotional to think, and does everything either to spite Jace, or to save Jace. She fights angry Chucky dolls and is always screeching in a shrill, girly manner. Don't go if you value your sanity.

  • TeamEdwardJace | August 22, 2013 12:58 AMReply

    guys to those who tihnks its tiwlights its not. i am a huge tmi fan and this is coming frome someone who has read both vooks and seen the movie today which was awesome and seen all the twiight movies. i loved it and i thinks lots of people may be converted at least for the movie , but may not read the books. this review i'm oaky with because it didn't aggrestively tear it apart. tmi is very plot and character drivenwith elemtns of everything. okay im 21 an icheered and awed and such during a[proate times . the fansgirls knew it wa time to be quier though i'm sure we all inwardly fangirling. eahc my friends who didn't read the books and is a guy enjoyed the film. young adults love it, teens love it, older peopled do . amle and feamles and some kids like d itwhich i don't havea problem with as longs as its not so kiddie. it got a really godo reception and was busy for a wed night so imagine the weekdd. also the cahnges were just awesome as the original way they were, the they chanced parts already there and extra bits they w added also were awesome. quotes from the books are in there including directs ones o r ones tht are simliars. also i would they stayed faithful wit the esscenc.e some parts were accelrated from the others books or kept but a bit shortened because nyou know it can't be 5 hours. i wish it was alittle longer and i loved it and it may have helped if the y had bit more an explanation, but i really don't have any majorc complaints or rather any in a way. though if you don't like ya, then or any roamnce really, (and the relationships are important part but not the only major think and the acting was great and it evoked postive emotinal postives and negatives ones but in a godo way. you feel for the charctes even my friend felt it for them at times and he didn't and he had his oh shit moments. by the way he can't stand twiligth. some of t tmi ahters i'm pissed at because they are so damn biased. it does help going with a fan so they explain things. also, it's a balnce of appeasing the fans and fans of the movie who didn't read the books and genral moviegoers. some changes made sense as awesome as the origna lw were of left in a way that you'll see it later in films and some of the orders of the scens got changed around but its npt a bad thing.

    oh and the actors are really attractie but also great actors and people . and girls ,there's nothing wrong with enjoying a shirtless guy if its addds to thestory. i am sitten with the male and in way the female characters and the actors. also i think any similaires you may notice may beign to homage and utting a different twist or putting a twist you see in others things and in somes case real life.

  • Martine | August 28, 2013 4:10 AM

    The actors are really "attractie" and you are "sitten" with the male? And any "similaires" may begin to homage and "utting"? What Gosh darn language is that? You are 21? In what? Dog years? I am glad you read both "books". Even if you are texting you sound like an idiot.

  • pal | August 21, 2013 11:47 PMReply

    I personally hate how people are starting to compare each movie to twilight and to Harry Potter I read both sagas (of course The Mortal Instruments too) and this books couldn't have been more different from each other, first of all I think the people who saw the movie and criticize it (and didn't read the books) they don't see far beyond it they only see vampires and inmediately think of twilight, they see magic and automatically think of Harry Potter, they see a love triangle and they compare it to The Hunger Games, seriously people stop doing that, each book has it's own personality.

  • TeamEdwardJace | September 8, 2013 10:10 PM

    At Martine I was typing this on a touch screen. Cut me some slack

  • Kyra | August 22, 2013 5:11 AM

    The mortal instruments (at least the first book) is based off a fan fiction Cassandra ClaIre wrote about Harry Potter, with lines directly taken from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Pamela Dean, etc. Thus it is absolutely correct to compare it with Harry Potter, Joss Whedon, and other books because the author, Cassie ClaIre borrowed heavily from them for her fan fiction. The only difference is that City of Bones has no plagiarized lines in it and is more developed than her previous fan fic.

  • Laura | August 21, 2013 4:57 PMReply

    I think YA books can become really great movies, but they need good source material. Mortal Instruments just isn't. It's so riddled with cliche after cliche and the author takes so much material from Harry Potter, Star Wars and Buffy, that you might as well just watch the originals and not bother with it.

    But back to my original point: I do think they can be done well. The Hunger Games is a wonderful example. That movie worked well on fans, average movie-goers AND critics. It was a universal success. Maybe because it didn't act like the audience was brain dead and only interested in their heroine hooking up with some troubled, brooding bad boy, instead of having an actual plot. I swear people really underestimate teen girls sometimes and treat them all as if they're in line for a One Direction concert (nothing against those boys, I find them charming, but I find the trend that that's all the media seems to think teenage girls like to be alarming).

  • pal | August 21, 2013 11:55 PM

    Hey I respect your opinion but comparing this movie to another one just because they have similiar things is like comparing every single romantic movie. For example: The bad guy that falls for a girl an changes for her, we have seen tons and tons of this type of movies but we still see them and we still find they are different. One again I respect your opinion but to me they are totally different and you can count on me and trust me because I have read MILLIONS of books that maybe have the same "plot twists, descriptions, story lines, etc" and I have love every single one them because they have their own personality and essence. Thank You

  • Mary | August 21, 2013 6:04 PM

    YA books can of course become great movies. Just look at The Spectacular Now. Although good luck learning it's based on a YA novel from any of the reviews.

    I personally found The Mortal Instruments to be a clever, fun read. And about as close to Harry Potter and The Hunger Games was to The Running Man.

    I'm bummed the movie isn't going to convert legions of people to the fandom of Shadowhunters, but I've got my fingers crossed for the sequel. Maybe with all the world building out of the way, they'll have more time for their characters.

  • Mary | August 21, 2013 1:16 PMReply

    I know it's accepted knowledge that a film should "stand on its own" -- but why? Who says? I think the guys behind TMI have banked heavily on the hope that there are enough fans of the books to make the movie a hit without needing to convert a very YA tired culture. And therefore catered very specifically to readers of the books. A lot of the clunkiness in the movie came from the fact they included scenes and story beats that fans wanted to see at the expense of making a more digestible, streamlined movie for "everyone."

    Additionally, no fan of TMI cares about what the adult actors are doing -- sorry CCH Pounder. Maybe if Beautiful Creatures had contained a little less Emma Thompson and Jeremy Irons, the kids who loved the books would have doled out the dollars.

    It's not the typical method -- but maybe really trying to please the die-hard fans (and I think this will, but only time will tell) is an interesting way to go. I'm curious to see if it works for them financially.

    (It's a pity you guys don't have any YA enthusiasts around there. You all seem so weary about these movies long before they hit theaters. And it'd be nice to occasionally have commentary from someone who did read the novels.)

  • Richard Schitz | August 21, 2013 12:49 PMReply

    "insperastion"

  • Roxy | August 21, 2013 11:18 AMReply

    The mortal insterments City of Bones is nothing like twilight it's completly different than Twlight at all Cassandra Clare's insperastion for this book was from something she saw in a tattoo shop

  • Kyra | August 22, 2013 5:13 AM

    Actually the inspiration partly stemmed from Harry Potter, as well as from Joss Whedon's Buffy and Pamela Dean and who knows where else. There's a reason why the second search down on google from "Cassandra Clare" is "Cassandra Clare Plagiarism"

  • Jacques DeMolay | August 21, 2013 1:14 PM

    WHUT?

  • Alec | August 21, 2013 12:44 PM

    ^ Twilight fandom in a nutshell

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