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Movie Review

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Reviewer Rating
User Rating

Director: Harald Zwart

Starring: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Robert Sheehan, Jemima West

Duration: 130 minutes

Certificate 12A

1 of 3 The Mortal Instruments is a darker take on the teen fantasy
The Mortal Instruments is a darker take on the teen fantasy
2 of 3 There are some cringey scenes but the great acting compensates
There are some cringey scenes but the great acting compensates
3 of 3 Robert Sheehan shines as Simon
Robert Sheehan shines as Simon

Since the oh-so-painful experience that was The Twilight Saga, it is fair to say that most people would rather watch paint dry than witness another gooey romance between two non-human hormone-ridden teenagers,

With more demons, warlocks, vampires and werewolves, than you can shake a stick at, it is easy to dismiss The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones as just another teenage fantasy film gone wrong. However, The Mortal Instruments manages to shake off the majority of negative preconceptions to become a pretty enjoyable film.

Based on the hugely successful books of the same name, the film tells the story of 18-year-old, Clary Fray (Lily Collins) who discovers that she is not just a normal girl from New York but a shadow hunter, a race of part-angels who protect the world from demons.

To add to Clary's stress her mother disappears and she is forced to join forces with mysterious shadowhunter Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower) - who has features so chiselled he could probably use them as a weapons – and his brooding band of fellow shadowhunters, Isabelle (Jemima West) and Alec (Kevin Zegers).

What is fantastic about The Mortal Instruments is that far from being a PG version of some pretty dark source material, director Harald Zwart has actually managed to make the film even darker. Not only are the demons genuinely frightening to look at it but the decision to age up the book’s characters from 15-16 to 18-19 allowed the whole film to have quite an adult feeling.

Naturally, this type of film is always going to have a romantic element and unfortunately there are a few cringe worthy scenes that will have teenage girls sighing with delight while the rest of us struggle to keep our popcorn down but thankfully, it is easy to look over these when the acting and action are so top notch.

Both Collins and Bower perfectly embody the characters that were so loved by over 6 million readers. Collins is both convincing and endearing as the naive yet brave Clary Fray while Bower exudes just the right amount of brooding angst to play a young man battling with inner demons as well as outer ones without resorting to Edward Cullen like predictability.

Similarly, Irish star Robert Sheehan is suitably adorable as Clary’s geeky best pal, Simon and also provides most of the laughs.

Fans of the books are almost guaranteed to be delighted with this offering. Despite some inevitable changes to the original story, the film is a perfect homage to the world created by author Cassandra Clare.

The Mortal Instruments doesn't exactly break any new ground, what it does bring to the table is a more grown up take on a genre that has traditionally only ever appealed to pre-teens with two X chromosomes.
 

Ruth Aravena




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