The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013)


Clary Fray, played by Lily Collins (The Blind Side and Love Rosie) is just an average day human. She hangs out with her best friend, Simon — played by Robert Sheehan (Moonwalkers and Misfits) — going to poetry slams and local cafés. When she drags simon into a club one night and witnesses a murder, her entire world begins to change. Her mother disappears, her home is destroyed, and she learns her batty old neighbor is really secretly a witch. Clary determined to find her mother joins forces with a league of shadow hunters, learning along the way that she was one. Clary must learn to accept her destiny in order to save her mother and the world from a demonic demise. Can she accept the world she’s been thrown into? Will she be able to master her powers in order to save her own mother?

The Mortal Instruments was anticipated to be one of those horrible bottom out blockbusters that never should have been made into a movie. I was pleasantly surprised when I was sucked into a world I knew nothing about and found myself really believing this could exist. No, this was in no way The Hobbits or A Star Wars kind of  release of a movie. City of Bones falls into honestly a very common category of unmarketed great blockbusters. A category I continue find some of my favorite films in including Beautiful Creatures, Vampire Academy, and I Am Number Four. A great fantasy films that never got their deserved sequels because Hollywood failed to advertise them, and I mean why would they when no one goes and see films outside of summer and christmas.

Mortal Instruments brought a new vibe into the world of fantasy. We are riddled with so many films focusing on Vampires and Werewolves that City of Bones brought a new story line and new heroes into play much like I Am Number Four did upon its release. It brought an old battle the front of our minds as it returned to the first battle in history to rage on: Angels versus Demons. It was a breathe of fresh air among a time where we reboot every film and character that made big money and reuse the same races over and over.

The CGI was never overpowering and was simplicity compared to today’s standards (Crazy how much has changed in three years). They used it to create some cool elements such as ravens turning into demons and demons being able to shape shift into these octopus like creatures. I loved it. Really some of the most subtle and elegant CGI work when it comes to films. Probably one of the best pieces of CGI in this film was on we saw a glimpse of in Harry Potter 5 where a building appeared one way and then revealed something else.


The make up and costume department was probably my favorite part of this film. A dark edgy looking wardrobe for the shadowhunters to give them that distant out of this world look. They were covered in tattoos of ruins that healed them, turned them invisible, manipulated gravity, and froze the very essence of time, adding to the grunge look of these characters. Also, the tattoos gave a unique outlook on magic and the cost you might have to pay for using it.

The film was not great all the time. The casting was pretty good for the most part, but some of the actors really made it a struggle to get into at some parts — and was saved by the editing in others. The worst actor being Jamie Bower (Twilight and Sweeney Todd) who played Jace in the movie. I may not be fond of his acting across the board as I thought he struggled in Sweeney Todd as well, but he just brought this film down. He almost appeared as an awkward actor who was really not into his own character. I would argue he simply needs to stick to already horrendous movies (Twilight) or stick to the silent roles where he just jumps out a window (Harry Potter 7 part 1).

The second actor I thought just bombed it was Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Mission Impossible 3 and Match Point) who played Valentine. Really your character was already a villain did you need to just amp up the creepiness and over act the hate that we all know was not really there? His wardrobe was enough to present his character’s distinct break off from the shadowhunters and should have helped tone down his acting, but maybe Meyers does not have a toned down version of acting. He did big motions with no reason, got into everyone’s face with no sense of boundaries, and at one point, you wondered if he and Clary were going to begin doing an interpretive dance. Okay maybe he was the worst part of this film.


I personally found this story enticing even without having any knowledge of the books. I think it is one of the fantasy relics that got buried at the beginning of the year with no marketing budget set aside for it. With a new vibe to some old story lines and a rundown genre, I say this movie is hot!

And for all of you who are fans of the movie, it has been attempted to be redeemed through a tv show called Shadowhunters: the mortal Instruments. There is one season available, but I have not seen it. If I ever stumble upon it, I will try my luck and give you a full review!


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

  1. Great review 🙂 The series you are talking about can be found on Netflix. I have not seen it myself, but i hear it is supposed to be pretty good. It has already been greenlit for a 2nd season 😉

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