Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
I just reviewed Percy Jackson a week ago, yet I’m already looking at another attempt from Hollywood to create the next Harry Potter. We shouldn’t be surprised. The most important people to the studios are not the audience but the stockholders. They need money to run their business, and to do that they need successful movies. The Lone Ranger, R.I.P.D. and Turbo are some examples of box office bombs from just this year that have tried to emulate the success of other films, not thinking that people can spot the difference. It’s becoming more obvious that us people can see a copycat from a mile away.
What a lot of these producers are missing is that it’s not the environments that are a turn off. It’s about taking a lot of these elements, whether it’s wizards, aliens, monsters, or even a simple romance and doing something unique with it in a story. It all really comes alive with deeply built characters; someone that’s really relatable with perfect reasons for their actions. But with a lot of the wrong people in charge, it’s only to use a stereotype, put them in a different world, and you have your fast food-like blockbusters. Case in point, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.
Here we have yet another story about a child who feels out of place who may be destined for a more fantasy-like world. Our girl here is a Brooklyn teenager named Clary Fray (played by Lilly Collins). Unlike something like Percy Jackson or Harry Potter where their homes were awful and filled with mean people, Clary’s is actually nice; she has a mother (played by Lena Headey) and lives in a confortable brown house. One night, when out with her friend Simon (played by Robert Sheehan), she starts seeing a mysterious symbol and even witness a killing in a nightclub that no body seems to notice.
The next day, she meets the killer who is actually a shadow hunter (half human, half angel) named Jace Wayland (played by Jaime Campbell Bower). The introduction into this world is interrupted when her mother calls her, telling her not to come home. Clary does, and she finds the place trashed and her mother gone. She ends up also seeing a dog that’s really a demon try to attack her. Jace kills it and determines that she is no longer safe. So he takes her to a building that no one else can see that’s also the home of fellow shadow hunters. Cary’s told that in order to get her mother back, she needs to find a magic cup and use her newfound powers to save everyone.
I really went into this movie expecting to completely hate it (I know I shouldn’t be doing that). But’s it’s actually not as much of a copycat as I thought it was. It has a rather interesting underground world full of monsters that could have been good. Note that by using the word could, it doesn’t take it’s own advantage.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones has a lot going on. They have many creatures, a lot of rules and order, an infinite library of books and weapons, and you have your leaders and eventual villains. I hope that the book it’s based off of went into that better, because the movie tries to put it all in a two hour running time, and boy does it back fire. What we have is a very cluttered mess where every scene is exposition. Any good movie would allow a couple of scenes to rest so that everything can sink in, but this movie never takes a break. As I’m trying to process what’s happening in one scene, another brings up more shadow-hunter information that I have to catch up on. Never have I worked hard to try and understand a tween centered fantasy story.
The shameful thing here is that there are some moments where it actually works better then Twilight. The movie is very self aware (points to the guy with the Ghostbusters joke), making a lot of jokes at itself. And to be fair, most of them are funny. How many jokes did you laugh at in the Twilight franchise (I would hope you say none)? But the one point of the movie that it does slow down is the final battle. But it all goes on forever. I think it goes on longer then any Harry Potter fight combined. While I’m trying to figure out what’s going on, the battle keeps adding a dumb excuse just to keep going. I kept thinking “Just end already!”.
I’ll give this two and a half shadow-hunter symbols (which look like upside-down Assassin’s Creed symbols) out of five. I hope we are coming to the end of the studio trend of finding the next Harry Potter/Twilight movie and focus on something else. I hope that Enders Game will be one to do so. But not Mortal Instruments.