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article imageReview: ‘City of Bones’ is meatier than expected Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Aug 21, 2013 in Entertainment
In ‘The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones,’ Clary Fray is swept into an alternate New York populated by demons and the warriors who hunt them.
With the Twilight saga completed, it was only a matter of time before Hollywood would latch onto the next popular young adult book series and turn it into an inevitably popular movie franchise. Cassandra Clare is the lucky author whose fantasy novels will be adapted to the squealing glee of teens everywhere. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is based on the first book in a series that already totals five and counting.
Clary Fray (Lily Collins) had no idea about the power she possessed, having inherited it from a mother who concealed their past at all costs. But the appearance of hidden symbols and witnessing a possible murder put Clary in contact with people who share her gift and can show her the extent of her abilities. She is part of a line of shadowhunters, a group of mystical warriors born to fight the world's demons. Immediately drawn to the angelic Jace Wayland (Jamie Campbell Bower), she eventually meets his adoptive siblings and fellow shadowhunters, Alec and Isabelle Lightwood (Kevin Zegers and Jemima West), who grudgingly agree to help Clary rescue her mother from the evil Valentine (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). Their only hope is to recover the Mortal Cup, which can be used for light or dark depending on the intentions of the possessor.
As expected, this movie is surreal and romantic. It begins in the world of the mundane, in which Clary is a regular teenager celebrating her birthday with her best friend, Simon (Robert Sheehan). Jace's arrival awakens in her an attraction to a more exciting lifestyle that includes tattoos, leather, vampires, demons and werewolves. Attacked by a dog that evolved from the cloned beast in The Thing and given refuge in an extravagant but generally invisible castle known as the Institute, Clary realizes anything is possible.
A scene from ‘The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
A scene from ‘The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones'
Entertainment One
The CGI effects are effectively incorporated into the picture to create Downworld, an alternative reality that conceivably exists parallel to our own. The molten demons that materialize from darkness are creepy and pose an immediate threat, instantly changing the dynamic of any scene. For a film in this genre, it contains a lot of action sequences but not a lot of blood.
For fans of the source material, this movie appears to be a satisfactory adaptation of Clare’s narrative. However, for the uninitiated, the picture feels somewhat superficial. Even though the film runs just over two hours, it seems to only cover the surface of the 500-page book. It’s clear there are numerous details missing and others being rushed through, giving the impression of it being incomplete.
With director Harald Zwart’s experience in the teen movie realm, this series appears to have a little more substance than other recent additions to the genre. The actors wholeheartedly take on their roles, treating the material with the respect devotees expect. It will be interesting to see if they’re able to dive a little deeper in the next installment.
Director: Harald Zwart
Starring: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower and Kevin Zegers
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