Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Movie Review

1 Oct


Jonathan and I were excited to hear that the Mortal Instruments books would be turned into a movie, since it’s a series we’ve both discovered and read together. Basically, I snagged it out of the discard pile of our local library back when I was working there as a Librarian Assistant back in 2011. I was surprised that such a new book series was being tossed aside. So out of curiosity and boredom I read through it, and tossed it Jonathan’s way so we could make fun of it together. Then we accidentally, kinda sorta found ourselves wondering what happens next and ordering the rest of the books.

So we were all geared up to watch this movie and lend our fangirly support. Buuut, come opening night for the movie, we were busy with all the hubbub of moving into our new home in Pensacola. So we haven’t had a chance to watch this flick till just yesterday.

And! It was Tessa’s first time watching a movie in a movie theater! And by watching, I mean sleeping peacefully on my chest, which she did the ENTIRE length of the movie. (Well, she did get a bit fussy during an excruciatingly painful cheesy love scene. But that’s okay. Because I was getting fussy at that point myself.)

Jonathan pointed out that it’s strangely fitting that this is Tessa’s first movie, considering we stumbled upon the name Tessa in the Infernal  Devices book series, which is the extended story and precursor to Mortal Instruments. Speaking of, I have NO IDEA how Mortal Instruments was made into a movie first, what with the current steampunk and industrial era craze sweeping our nations. Not only is the book series far superior and riveting, but the imagery and storyline is far more compelling than more Twlight-esque gothic wanna be drivel that Mortal Instruments offers. But I digress.


So let me go on the record as saying that I love the Mortal Instruments book series. Well, let me rephrase that: I’m captivated by the first few books, then the series kind of dwindles down. There’s just waaaay too much Jace / Clary / Sebastian drama going on for my tastes by City of Fallen Angels and City of Lost Souls. I actually found myself exhausted after reading the last book that was released. REALLY Cassandra Clare? We gotta go through another round of lovers separated and reunited? AGAIN?! But nevertheless, I was excited to see what the movie would churn out.

And I was surprised. The movie is not as bad as I had expected. I think it’s definitely much more entertaining and action packed than Twilight. (I know, I know, that’s not saying much.) But that said, there were so many things just WRONG with this movie.

As far as story goes, it did a great job sticking to the books storyline and plot. But so many characters were so OFF. Like Alec, the 17 year old in the closet Shadowhunter… Being played by a guy who looks like he’s old enough to be my father. Are you serious?! Not only does this dude not remotely pass for a teenager by any standard, but he doesn’t look or act anything like Alec in the books.

But the worst miscast? Magnus Bane. Where did they find this guy? His acting level is barely on par with a first semester drama student at a community college. Seriously, every single line he delivers sounds like it was a cold reading at an audition… that he should have failed for his wooden delivery and inability to grasp inflection and cadence. Not only was his acting awful, but he didn’t even attempt to portray the flamboyant character of Bane in the books. And he was one of my FAVORITE characters. So that is a mighty fine grievance in my book. You fail movie. You fail.


And this movie was all cheese. Don’t get me wrong. I eat up that pre-teen, forbidden romance garbage like candy. Especially the almost but not quite incest WINcest. It’s my secret obvious guilty pleasure. But there were so many moments where it was just a bit too much for me. (This isn’t entirely a bad thing. I to this day cannot watch Twilight or High School Musical without being intoxicated or listening to Rifftrax, but I still proudly display those bad boys on my DVD shelf and pull them out whenever Aunt Flo comes to visit.)

I just found myself trying to sink into my seat and squirm away from the awkward at certain parts. Like, the moment when everyone is being chased by vampires, and suddenly Clary trips and falls onto Jace. The sun filters down through her hair, and their lips get closer and closer and… meanwhile, Isabelle is still below the landing, getting freaking MAULED by vampires.

And then the whole rooftop birthday scene, when the cheesy romance music comes on full force, and then kissing and then fireflies and then WATER STARTS FALLING FROM THE SKY. Cuz no cheesy makeout scene is complete without our hero and heroine drenched in the sweet waters of their forbidden passion. Or something like that. (I will say, this scene was greatly improved by being surrounded by the burly giggles of active duty marines in their uniforms watching the movie on the military base alongside us.)


Despite my harsh critique, I like the movie. For the most part. And I hope it gets a sequel. Or better yet, I hope some producer gets wise to the fact that Infernal Devices is far better movie material. (As of my writing this it appears that the follow up film, City of Ashes, has been delayed due to the flop of City of Bones. Looks like it only grossed $37 million off a $60 million budget. Ouch.)

BUT ANYWAY! The action was awesome, the costumes were hot, the comedy and banter was entertaining (though a bit awkward and stilted at times), the storyline was true to the books, and it did a great job weaving in aspects and clues for the follow up books / movies. If there’s a follow up movie, I’ll most likely be in line on opening day wearing leather and fake rune tattoos showing my support along with all the other 13 year olds…


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