Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones (2013) (Minor Spoilers Review)

**This review contains minor spoilers, no major plot details, surprises, or reveals are mentioned in this review**

Living in New York City, Clary Fray (Lily Collins) struggles to comprehend a strange and bizarre obsession with seeing mysterious symbols in various places. Clary’s mother, Jocelyn (Lena Headey) realizes her worst fears have come to life, but before she has a chance to explain the truth to her daughter, Jocelyn is attacked by an intruder.

At a night club, Clary witnesses a man named Jace Wayland (Jaime Campbell Bower) use his sword to kill a man, but Clary’s frightened screams are met with confused looks, because no one else was able to see the murder. Why is Clary seeing symbols? Why is Clary the only one, who can see Jace? Clary’s determination to find the truth will lead her on a journey into a mysterious world to fight supernatural forces. And with the help of her best friend, Simon Lewis (Robert Sheehan), Jace, and others, Clary will uncover secrets that will change her life forever.

Lily Collins was lucky enough to land a spot in The Blind Side, but of  course, she was overshadowed by the critical acclaim for Sandra Bullock’s performance, and Bullock winning the Oscar for Best Actress and various other Best Actress awards. She hit a rough spot with that abomination Abduction (still haven‘t seen Mirror, Mirror), but despite the negative backlash for this film, I think Collins handled herself well in the leading role. With Headey’s character on the shelf for the vast majority of the film, and limited focus on the other  noticeable veteran in the cast (Jared Harris), Collins had the task of carrying the load as the main character. She’s not quite there yet, but Collins showed  some strong signs of potential here. With the story revolving around her, Collins showed poise and confidence as Clary, while showcasing an emotional side during Clary’s hard times throughout the film.

Bower is your typical pretty boy rebel/bad ass, who only shows his soft side to the ladies. Not a bad performance, but nothing too special either. Headey’s character doesn’t receive enough conscious screen time here, so it’s not fair to judge her performance (or lack there of). And Sheehan is believable in his role as the nerdy and awkward outcast.

As far as a critical reception goes, The Mortal Instruments has received a strong, negative backlash. Complaints range from The Mortal Instruments trying to be a Harry Potter or Twilight knock-off, the film borrowing elements from damn near every fantasy/action film over the past thirty years or so, and so on. Well, a lot of that’s true. The Mortal Instruments isn’t completely original, not by a long shot. But at the same time, I think it’s unfair to bash a film for mimicking other fantasy films/stories or borrowing elements from said films, because if we use this criteria to bash other movies like The Mortal Instruments, then we would have a pretty lengthy list of bad movies. And on top of that, it would be damn near impossible to rate any movie that resembles Mortal Instruments with a positive score, IF we use this criteria.

The Mortal Instruments is loaded with enough dazzling visual eye candy to bring out a few “oooohhh” and “ahhhhh” moments, and there’s a handful of  surprisingly entertaining fight sequences throughout the movie. Plus, they’re able to mix in some decent humor every now and then, and fans of the Ghostbusters films should appreciate the wink to the original film. I’ll openly admit this here and now, I went in to The Mortal Instruments with a very negative mindset, but I found myself having a lot of fun with this one as the story developed.

Rating: 6/10

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