The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013)

Perhaps you know the series, perhaps you don’t. Either way, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is the latest movie adaptation of a beloved (by some) teen fantasy series. Is it different from Twilight? Yes. Is it better than Twilight? I’m sure. Is the movie any good? No.

The film starts by introducing us to Clary Fray (Lily Collins). She’s just your average, everyday girl. One night, she goes out to a poetry reading with her best friend (whom she’s friendzoned) Simon Lewis (Robert Sheehan). After being bored to tears, Clary gets the two of them into a nightclub by asking what the club’s symbol means. That’s a fair question, except for the fact that she’s the only one who can see it. In the club, she witnesses a murder of what appeared to be an innocent man. Clary freaks out and goes home, only to be haunted by what she saw. That night, Clary draws the same symbol from the club all around her room.

The next day, Clary sees the young man who killed the other man at the bar and she confronts him. She questions why she is the only one who can seem him and why he killed that man. The young man, introduced as Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower) tells Clary that she is shadowhunter and the man that he killed was in fact, a demon. When Clary returns home to find her mother abducted, Jace takes her and Simon to their headquarters in downtown New York. Their headquarters, like the shawhunters themselves, can’t be seen by mere mortals.

With her mom abducted and learning that she is a shadowhunter, Clary begins to uncover truths about her past and secret abilities that she possesses. Hodge Starkweather, the groups adviser, tells Clary that her father Valentine (Johnathan Rhys Meyers) is responsible for the disappearance of her mother and that he is after the Mortal Cup. The cup, which was believed to be in the possession of Clary’s mom, has the ability to turn anyone into a shadowhunter with the aid of Valentine’s blood. Now, it’s up to Clary to save the world and protect the ones that she loves most from Valentine, including Jace, with whom she’s developed strong feelings for.

The biggest problem with this movie, aside from its long title and runtime, is that it’s never clear what Valentine wants to do with the cup. He never reveals his plan in a cliché manner, so we’re left wondering what he wants to happen. Another thing wrong with this movie, is the fact that Clary and Jace turn out to be brother and sister. Before they knew that, they kissed in a garden with Demi Lovato singing a love ballad in the background, as the sprinklers got them wet. They also flirted quite a bit and talked a bit sexually to one another. When they discover that they’re siblings, the film gets really awkward, really fast. What makes it worse is the fact that they still have the hots for one another and still want to be together.

Add in cheap animation, unexplained magical powers, an unnecessary lover triangle and teen angst and you’ve got one of the more awful movies of the year. This film falls into the same pitfalls as the Twilight series did, but I’m told that all these love triangles and Twilight-like elements never existed in the books! Leave it to Hollywood to ruin another teenage series. However, I must admit that I laughed  great deal during this film. The only problem is that this film wasn’t supposed to be funny. If you have any desire to still see this movie, hopefully I can save you $11 after you read my Top Ten Thoughts on The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones!

It was weird enough when Bella kissed Edward, the 100+ year old Vampire, in "Twilight". Even weirder, is Clary kissing Jace, who turns out to be her brother. That fact doesn't end their flirting though...

It was weird enough when Bella kissed Edward, the 100-year-old Vampire, in “Twilight”. Even weirder, is Clary kissing Jace, who turns out to be her brother. That fact doesn’t end their flirting though…

What I Enjoyed

What I Didn’t Enjoy

In the beginning, the film has a pretty interesting story!

The title of this movie is way too long.

The concept of Angels’ being Shadow Hunters is kind of cool.

Lily Collins makes the stupidest faces when anything new to her character happens.

Some of the special effects in this film are pretty great!

The film very much forces the love-triangle, which makes it more like Twilight then it should be.

Jared Harris has one of the coolest voices of all time. He needed some more monologues!

The film clearly shows you that Sheehan‘s character got bit by a Vampire, but literally nothing happens as a result.

The concept of memory repression to save Clary was believable.

The actual City of Bones is only in the movie for about a minute… Why is that?

The relationships in this film are ridiculously funny.

There is little to no explanation as to why Clary can draw on her palm and get magical powers.

One particular event will have you laugh out loud and then cringe.

There is way too much music used in this film. Pop music plays during a make out scene…

It was nice to see Jonathan Rhys Meyers in something new!

Valentine’s motivations are odd and what he hopes to achieve is never explained.

This movie is unintentionally, really funny! I laughed way too hard.

Apparently, Clary and Jace are siblings and incest is okay because they both really love each other…

This movie, while not being the worst I’ve seen this year, is pretty bad. It’s too long and doesn’t do anything with its time.

This movie had some promise, however, it has now become just another awful movie based off of a teenage bestselling book.


The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is another addition to the pile of Teen Book Movies that aren’t that great. The film, along with its title, is far too long and barely covers anything in its allotted time. Instead, we are left with many things unexplained and a relationship between a brother and sister. It gets weird. The acting is far from great and this film will become a comedy about half way in. My recommendation? If you’re at all interested in this series, read the books and skip the movies.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Trailer

1.5 STARS!!!

1.5 / 5 stars     

2 thoughts on “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013)

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