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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones review

Mortal Instruments City of Bones red light Jamie Campbell Bower Lily Collins

Way to give overwrought fan fiction a bad name. No amount of fairy dust can make this bewitching.
I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

I have not read the source material

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Way to give overwrought fan fiction a bad name. Geez. Bad enough that this adaptation of the first installment in a warmed-over Harry Potter knockoff — author Cassandra Clare changed a few names for her “novel” about a teen girl named, ahem, Clary who discovers she is *cough* heir to a magical heritage — is an unholy mishmash of supernatural creatures engaging in convoluted teen-romance melodrama. But it’s as if it were written in esoteric runes and set in a world on a different plane of existence from our own. Clary (Lily Collins) gets the first hint of her secret identity thanks to weird symbols and spooky people only she can see, which might work as except it’s plain that the entire population of her New York City is deaf and blind to things that we would expect muggles to notice, such as the friggin’ gas explosion that blows up Clary’s Brooklyn apartment (no one calls 911). Supposedly important characters appear out of nowhere, literally and narratively. And we’re bombarded with lines of dialogue like “They’ve taken So-and-So!” when we have no clue who So-and-So is, and “Does that symbol stand for Such-and-Such?” when we’ve never heard of Such-and-Such and have not the first inkling why it should matter. No amount of fairy dust can make this bewitching.

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The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013)
US/Can release: Aug 23 2013
UK/Ire release: Aug 23 2013

MPAA: rated PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action, and some suggestive content
BBFC: rated 12A (contains moderate violence and threat)

viewed in 2D
viewed at a public multiplex screening

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, please reconsider.

  • Charol A Gonzalez

    hi greetings, ur crazy because first of all would ur first damn thought be to call 911 after u just had a damn dog thinggermabob try to kill u in ur apartmemnt then have a sexy blond dude rescue u ?????? whell if it was ur first though then u have a serious problem…….. i recomend Dr.up my butt , to the left , apartment 3 door 2 first floor. ps the police did show up ….clary was told not to talk because they were also “friggin” demons in the cop car so get it strait ……… watch the movie ..read the book just dont act like u know what ur talking about ………..and yess i do knoe

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    lol, wut?

  • I deleted the original comment, but that’s no reflection on you. I just have zero tolerance for idiots these days.

  • LaSargenta

    I thought it was a (poorly done) parody.

  • I farted

  • Juwei Nam

    Yes, the whole premise is blatantly generic, but it’s actually the way Cassandre Clare writes that made people enticed into the book series. Harry Potter if you describe it a certain way was just as generic, but JK Rowling’s writing style and description were what grabbed most intrigued readers. However, it buys into Cassandra’s little league because despite all the floppiness and general copy-off to her stories, her writing is just that good to trick a lot of teenaged readers to thinking it’s so original and good. I give credit to the author for being a good writer, but not for originality and definitely nothing for the film.

  • PasteNameHere

    The book was good but they fucked up the storyline with the movie it’s like they combined stuff from the first three books into the movie
    3 out of 10

  • Julia Jayne Moore

    I would like to point out that Cassandra Clare did not rip off J.K Rowling… If you looked into anything about the Nephilim background and the lore and other stories that have been created even since the bible. You will see that she did her proper research just as J.K Rowling had done with the magical realm of witchcraft and wizardry. Also if you read the prequel series to the Immortal Instruments, the Infernal Devices… it gives you more of a bbackground. The characters are not even all that similar to each other. Making a comment like that can cause a huge debate over any of today’s books and movies in fantasy, paranormal, and paranormal romance category. That they all copy each other. I do enjoy both J.k. Rowling and Cassandra Clare very much. I do respectfully disagreee one was copying from the other.Though I was not impressed with the film, it was not very close to the book (actually more like a jumble of the books together) at all and seemed it seemed a bit rushed and choppy. As usual the book is much better than the movie.

  • leather pants

    That’s right, CC didn’t only rip off Rowling. She “borrowed” from Pamela Dean and Buffy and everything in between for her Draco Trilogy. Fandom doesn’t forget, and neither does google.

  • Frogstrotter

    You’re saying…. It wasn’t a parody….??? :(

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Too right.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Now I’ll always wonder.

  • Nicole

    Your a horrible person who wrote this really could u be more stupid and jealous that u don’t her talent and more people like her then u sorry that ur so pathetic

  • *sigh*

    I’m taking a wild guess, Nicole, that you’re about 12 years old and very passionate about the things you love (like certain fantasy novels). That’s great. I was like that when I was 12. But I’m fortunate that I was not 12 at a time when I could post angry, illiterate, and unkind attacks on people merely because their opinions differed from mine. I wrote mine down in diaries that I destroyed a few years later, because oh my god, was I awful, and by the time I was 15, I was already embarrassed by myself.

    But for your generation, your tween tirades are going to live online forever. Thousands of years from now, a historian studying the pre-Singularity era will write her thesis on the peculiarity of how immature homo sapiens had no compunction about setting down for all eternity every last random meanspirited thought that crossed their minds, even in response to the most insignificant of issues. (This will seem bizarre and uncouth to future generations, who will have learns, once telepathy was weaponized by forces looking to cause civil unrest, to regulate our random thoughts as a matter of politeness to those in the vicinity.)

    Congratulations on being a future footnote.

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