become a Patreon patron

film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

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.

When you purchase or rent almost anything from Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Amazon UK, and iTunes (globally), you help support my work at Flick Filosopher. Please use my links when you’re shopping at either service. Thank you!

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.

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap