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Monday, September 16, 2013

Movie Review - Mortal Instruments

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones   $$$ 1/2   


130 Minutes
Starring: Lilly Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, and Robert Sheehan. 
Director: Harald Zwart.

            I admit it. Stories about angels, devils and the conflict between good and evil really grab my attention. It’s no surprise that I went out and caught what is essentially a teen movie. And I’m glad I did.
            Clary (Lilly Collins) is a typical teen. Except for the part where she hangs out at coffee houses listening to bad poetry. Does anyone do that? While out with her best friend Simon (Robert Sheehan) she witnesses the violent death of a young man. That leads to the discovery that she is a Shadowhunter; a group of warriors that battle against the forces of evil.
            Not only is she a member of this secret society of holy warriors, but so is her mother, Jocelyn (Lena Headey). But before she can confront her mother with discover Jocelyn is taken by a rogue Shadowhunter named Valentine (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). She must work with the young Shadowhunters she has just met if she is to save her mother.
            How did it rate? I’m glad you asked. Using my new system for rating movies I gave The Mortal Instruments three-and-a-half Movie Bucks.

1.      Fun – I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Demons, vampires, werewolves, sorcerers, and half angels all woven together into a single tale. While it may be a crowded backdrop it sure made for an interesting one as well. It earned a full MB for fun.

2.      Story – This is probably the weak point of this film. A teenager who finds out that they are part of a secret organization is pretty standard fare in YA fiction. That part isn’t original, but the treatment of the concept I felt was reasonably unique. It earned a half MB for story.

3.      Technical – There are some great special effects in the film. I especially like the water tricks with the portal. The demons looked cool and were easy enough to see. The musical score set an appropriate mood. In my opinion all the technical aspects worked seamlessly and earned a full MB.

4.      Acting – I didn’t notice any glaring flaws in the acting. None of the main actors made me want to leave the theater and while a couple of the secondary cast were nothing noteworthy, they also didn’t subtract from the story. While this category gets a full MB keep in mind that a rating like that indicates a lack of horrible acting and not Oscar worthy performances.  

I recommend seeing The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones as a matinee or other discounted showing. It’s not a movie that’s going to change your life, but it was a lot of fun to watch.

                        Randy’s Rating System 

$$$$   = Full Price    See this movie right away and pay full price, it’s worth it.
$$$     = Matinee      Catch this as a matinee or other discounted showing.
$$        = Discount     Wait until this movie reaches a discount theater near you.
$          = Rental         Wait until this movie reaches your local video rental outlet.
0          = No Sale       Don’t see this movie at any price.


  1. I was surprised by how poorly this performed at the box office.

    1. I didn't realize that it hadn't performed well at the box office. Maybe it didn't get enough good promotion because the movie itself was pretty good.

  2. I'm still waiting to read the book first before seeing the movie so I may not get to see it until after it hits the DVD shelves.

    1. I kind of like to do it in reverse. If I read the book and then see the movie I'm usually disappointed in what got left out. But if I do it the other way around it feels like I get to enjoy even more of it. If that makes sense.

  3. I really enjoyed this book, so I'd be interested to see the movie, especially since you gave it 3 1/2 not 1/2 :)

    1. If you see it, I'd be interested in how you'd rate it.