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The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
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Index 463 reviews in total 

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Decent *if* you can ignore how derivative it is.

Author: TCLAustin from United States
10 October 2013

Harry Potter, Underworld, Twilight, Star Wars - This script overtly, and at times painfully borrows heavily from all of them. Suitable for low to mid teens, the older folks will suffer tedium from knowing what's coming every step of the way.

Featuring violence throughout, blood and guts are kept to a minimum via the usual mechanics - you can tell the vampire is being terribly savaged by the werewolf from the noises going on, fortunately the werewolf hit the vampire at 40 miles an hour knocking him into a corner and you can't actually see any of it. Similarly, the shadowhunters favor edged weapons which somehow don't cause much blood to spray, nor does the camera linger on the wounds. The action is kept fast and choreographed well enough.

With a better, more original script this really could have been a standout. Dialogue was a middle of the road effort, but effects, acting, sets, cinematography, etc etc would have gotten this movie a solid 7/10 from me if the plot didn't keep going down such incredibly well worn paths.

As it is, 5/10. At way too many points in this I found myself shaking my head at the reuse of plot twists that have already left the dead horse nothing but a scrap of hair in a hole in the ground.

If a sequel to this is made I would certainly give it a chance on DVD, but I hope they will get some fresh writers if that happens.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Lame but entertaining

Author: tinovalkki from Finland
5 October 2013

City of bones is more CGI effects than serious movie. Script is confusing and strange. City of Bones doesn't have anything to catch and storytelling is weak. None of the characters feels natural and familiar. I am sure that the story in book is much richer and stronger than here. Despite of that City of Bones is not too bad to watch. Especially if you compare it to Twilight saga. It was good thing to go to see this movie without knowing much about it, so I was entertained enough to watch the whole movie. I just hope that if they are going to film more movies to this series they focus on characters more. Better script is unconditional if they want to succeed with this series.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Do you really disagree with the critics?

Author: aobryan2 from United States
24 August 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Let me start off by saying I DID read the books. Now I know that the movie is not going to match the book completely, and that is understandable. However, that being said, I have never seen a movie that is based off of a book, that strays so far! I don't understand some peoples reviews on here who read the book. Basically, the director took the book and basically just used what I would consider an "outline" of the story and then filled in the rest with his own. This irritated me like no other. SPOILERS***** Simon was not even turned into a rat! That seemed to be a pretty big part to me, not to mention that it was just Jace and Clary who saved him, not the whole group. This helped portray just how much Jace would do for Clary, such as going behind his partners (Alec) back! Then they rode the motorcycle off of the building. I was really excited to see that. Hmm too bad that never happened! I was really depressed with the Silent brothers. They seemed very scary in the book, and although they were creepy in the movie, it just wasn't the same. Valentine was too soft. He did not match the character in the book at all. Bane was so spunky in the book, and he was just a bland character in the movie, which really depressed me because I loved him in the book. I could go on forever, but I will stop now.

Now I am going to review the movie as if I NEVER read the books. That being the case, it has something promising aspects. My boyfriend who never read the books actually enjoyed it somewhat. However, the actors and actresses needed some more training. Sometimes when Bane talked, he seemed like he was reading from a script. There was barely any emotion. Hopefully with the second movie, he does better with this. Now Clary, oh dear Clary. She tried too hard. She tried to act scared when she was supposed to be, she tried to act angry and tough at the right times, she portrayed the right emotions...but she tried to hard! Clary also needs more training as an actress. That is how Twilight became such a horrible movie. Half of he cast sucked! Please don't do that with this series!!! Clary was just to cliché and I really really hope this does not happen with the second movie.

This movie is promising, if only minor things would have been tweaked. I am hoping the director and cast learn from their mistakes, and hopefully the second movie will be better.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

The Ultimate Movie Review! - - @tss5078

Author: Tss5078 from United States
27 January 2014

For those of you who didn't read the book, City of Bones, this movie may seem a bit confusing to you. This film is kind of like a cliff notes version of the book. Certainly they had to cut things out of the nearly 500 page novel, but some key moments are simply touched upon with a line or two, making the movie a bit confusing at times. Clary Fray (Lily Collins) is a seemingly normal girl, who for some reason can't stop drawing a symbol. When she starts asking about the symbol, she is pulled into a world she never knew existed. As it turns out, Clary is keeping secrets, secrets she doesn't even know she has. It's those secrets that will eventually put her life, and the lives of everyone she knows, in danger. At first, the two main characters seem like they are completely different and won't have any chemistry at all, but as time goes on, they learn they're more alike than they think. Once their on the same page, the story really takes off. Lily Collins (Abduction, The Blind Side) really takes hold of her character and gives the film a strong female lead, that rivals Katniss Everdeen. Collins is paired with British heart-throb, Jamie Campbell Bower, who is a lot more than eye candy. I'd never seen Bower in anything, except bit parts in Twilight and Harry Potter, but the guy has some serious fighting skills. Bower is another one who at first doesn't seem to fit, but in the end really helps to make this film something special. To answer the big question about City of Bones, no, it is not as good as the book and you really shouldn't have expected it to be. The novel is massive and has entire parts that simply couldn't be transferred to the big screen. Some things were left out that shouldn't have been, while some of the more fast paced scenes were extended for the screen. All in all, I thought this movie was a pretty good representation of an excellent novel and a great film to include in your next movie night.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

An incestual love story disguised as fantasy story.

Author: Invasion OfPrivacy from United States
12 October 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Wow, how horrible this movie was. Riddled with plot holes that a 1st grader should be able to point out. Where to begin.

1. Demons are "affected" by music. OK cool, no problem. It's too bad the characters in the movie ignore this... The scene where the black witch lady is a demon, Jace nearly plays the whole song on piano and still does NOTHING until Clair is attacked by her.. seriously the old lady tweaking out when you were playing the song for 5 minutes wasn't a good enough clue? 2. Hmm, Simon can suddenly see without his glasses but nobody really cares, I mean that's totally normal right? People that need glasses usually just magically one day can see perfectly without them... Not to mention his bite marks that go unnoticed, nobody thought to check him after he was captured by vampires? 3. The "shadow hunters" are a bunch of bitchy adolescent hormonal teenagers, and they're suppose to be the ones to save the world from demons? Ha, give me a break, they're too busy with their incest/gay love triangle to notice anything actually going on in the story.

4. The entire first half of the movie is just about how Simon loves Clair but Clair is falling for Jace(who is her brother) and the other dude is gay for Jace... what? Why is that even needed in the plot at all? Do yourselves a favor and never see this movie, you'll regret it if you do. (Unless you like needless screwed up love stories that make no sense with a swiss cheese plot.)

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A stupid, badly made, boring and silly movie

Author: koen_smit from Netherlands
10 September 2013

So, I went to the cinema and hoped this movie would be funny, well made, interesting and exciting, because the trailer was quite catchy. Man, was I disappointed. This is your average lame young adult fantasy movie like Twilight, although I have to admit after seeing this movie that Twilight was actually much better (and I never thought I'd say that).

The montage is very badly done. That makes the movie jumpy and very unclear. They want to add a lot of different species and story lines but it lacks the depth and they appear and disappear so that you actually get lost. Some lines are supposed to be funny. Yes, supposed to be. Some situations should have been funny. Yes, should have been. The intentions of the director are sometimes clear, but apparently he lacks the knowledge to make it work within this story and with these actors and producer. And there are a lot of things happening that are not explained or just silly and cannot be correct within the story. This really cannot be a budget thing, 'cause a lot of money has been spent on it, you can see that. Clearly it has been spent on the wrong departments, the special effects cannot mask the poor quality of the rest.

I can go on like this for a while, but that would give to much attention to a stupid, badly made, boring and silly movie. I think a lot of people who worked for it or acted in it should be ashamed for making such a lousy movie. I hope it will not get any sequels, but I fear the worst, seeing the next one being announced already...

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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:


Author: snodlander from United Kingdom
28 August 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Er Indoors made me watch City of Bones. First off I am aware that I am not part of the target demographic, being an adult, male and with a partner. I've also not read the books, but a film should stand on its own regardless of whether you've read the book/played the game/eaten the cereal.

The plot revolves around good versus evil, and a young girl trying to decide which of the boys totally in love with her she should go for. One's a vampire, the other a semi-mythical being. Sound familiar? It's Twilight ripping off Star Wars. I love you. Oh, but ew, you're my sister. Luke, Jon, whatever your name is, I am your father. If you defeat me, I shall become more powerful than you can ever imagine. Oh, I'm torn, I love the vampire and I love the, um, angel thingy. Werewolves vs vampires, yeah. Let's fight with sabres. Pause for two minute lead up to kiss.

I swear to God watching that drivel I could feel the acne returning. Not worth watching if you're over fourteen or male.

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Great Book, Terrible Movie

Author: blossoms-733-387580 from New York, NY, USA
2 September 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Words escape me... As a fan of the Mortal Instruments book series I had expected a much better film than this. Cassandra Clare may not be Annie Proulx, but she is an engaging writer who can spin a good yarn and can keep readers riveted in her world of shadowhunters. Unfortunately, it seems that the producers of this movie decided that YA fiction fans aren't intelligent or sentient enough to know the difference between good and bad acting or well-written and lousy scripts. The film's pacing is terrible, acting mistakes that should have gotten more takes made it into final production, the different scenes pieced together don't tell a coherent story, and the most egregious, unforgivable sin of all is that the film is not true to the book (the director needs to take a lesson from Peter Jackson). In one scene, the shadowhunters arrive at the warlock Magnus's party. When Simon drinks the blue liquid he should have turned into a rat and been mistakenly taken to Dumort by a vampire who thought he was one of them. The biggest deviation from the book was that Valentine is a stranger to Jace. In the book Jace recognizes Valentine as his father, Michael Wayland, who had raised him from childhood and died in front of his eyes (which led to Jace being sent to the Lightwoods). Michael Wayland is somehow miraculously alive and Jace joyously reunites with his father only to discover later that 'Michael Wayland' is actually Valentine Morgernstern. This film deviates so much from the books that I don't know how they're going to piece this bad mess together into a coherent story in the second film "City of Ashes". And if "Ashes" gets as many crappy reviews, I'll be saving my money for The Hobbit.

Hollywood, when are you going to learn that women and girls--the series' primary fanbase--are a powerful and wealthy demographic capable of filling your coffers with millions of dollars? And if you do realize this already why do you think you can give us lousy movie adaptations and expect us to clap like monkeys and throw our money at you? It's extremely insulting how you continue to belittle and disrespect female audiences and still think you're entitled to our hard-earned dollars.

There are enough male fantasies being played out in theaters, in the form of Spider-Man, Superman, Marvel Avengers, and giant robots battling in the oceans--to name a few. But there are comparatively far fewer female fantasies out in theaters. And when they are shown they're often belittled, disparaged, and ridiculed. But I have to question the sanity of anyone who thinks some macho Marvel comic hero with a fragile ego and countless notches on his bedpost (Ironman) is a better character than a nice, ordinary girl who discovers she has great supernatural powers and who grows in maturity and strength in the course of the story. I like the second type of character, as embodied by Clary Fray, much more. So, why not invest more in her story?

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Not anything special, but at least it's way better than Twilight

Author: gavin-thelordofthefu-48-460297 from United States
30 August 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When I saw the trailers, I became very amused and read all five Mortal Instruments books with a sixth book coming next year. Then, as I watched it, it turned out to be a very interesting film. Although, I do understand the critical reception it had due to it's similarities of Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Twilight, but I don't think it's as bad as they say it is because what these critics don't know is that "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" is entirely different than those films and much better than Twilight in my opinion (heck, even better than the "Twilight-wannabe" Beautiful Creatures).

Before I can get to the good stuff, I would say that there are some flaws. The story is a lot more engaging than Twilight and Beautiful Creatures and the opening is well-done, but when it comes to young-adult film adaptations, it did left out some of the important stuff that have already caused an outrage to the fans, although they did give a lot of nice detail of the world created by Cassandra Clare. Also, the romance between Jace and Clary is poorly done because it transited some scenes a bit too fast and there wasn't enough chemistry.

With that said, everything else was great. The visuals are breathtakingly beautiful, the scenery is nice to look at, and the special effects are very cool (even the creepy demons look realistic). The music score, aside from a few out of place pop songs, is epic with a lot of atmospheric stuff in it. There are bits of funny moments and the action sequences are entertaining, but the best part would have to go to a decent cast of actors.

Lily Collins is very appealing as Clary and emotes very well with the supporting actors, Jamie Campbell as Jace is very witty, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers is very sinister as Valentine Morgenstern. The script is fine with really smart dialog and the direction from Harold Zwart is solid.

Overall, TMI: COB isn't as excellent as the other fantasy films like "The Lord of the Rings", "The Chronicles of Narnia" and "Harry Potter", but like I said before, it's a lot better than Twilight and I strongly suggest that anyone, especially those who haven't read the books, can go check it out! It is that good! :)

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9 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

A loose, indulgent and oftentimes draggy adaptation reminiscent of Twilight: not recommended for non-fans and post-adolescents

Author: moviexclusive from Singapore
22 August 2013

Hot on the heels of movies based off bestselling young adult books such as the Twilight Saga and The Hunger Games comes the film adaptation of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, the first of six books in Cassandra Clare's urban fantasy series. The recipe is textbook: Expect a detailed chronology of the lives of nubile teenagers embroiled in the trappings of young love while seeking their identity and/or destiny; struggles with family demands and social awkwardness, and throw werewolves, warlocks, vampires and witches into the mix. The stars here, though, are Shadowhunters, a clan of demon-slaying angel-human hybrids with a penchant for leather jackets and skintight black attire.

In the centre of this universe is a teenage girl who, much like Twilight's Bella Swan, initially appears ordinary. A fresh-faced girl- next-door with an artistic streak, Clary Fray (Lily Collins) starts subconsciously recognising and drawing a rune that no one else, especially not her geeky best friend Simon (Robert Sheehan), seems to see. She witnesses and reacts to a demon killing, leading the Shadowhunters to realise that she isn't just a normal 'Mundane' human. One of them, the handsome blond Jace Lightwood (Jamie Campbell Bower), brings Clary into the fray, saving her life in the aftermath of her mother Jocelyn's (Lena Headey) disappearance after an attack at her home.

As Clary gets inducted into the Institute of Shadowhunters, she sets off on a search to uncover her past and locate her mother. The rules include trusting no one. Everyone, including a mysterious Shadowhunter named Valentine (Jonathan Rhys Myers), has got their eye on a cup that was previously under Jocelyn's care, a treasure rumoured to hold immense power.

The CG may be passable but the demons are commendably unsettling, in particular one of the first demons faced by Clary is a dog that transforms into something that is the stuff of nightmares. Yet this is all overshadowed by the ludicrous script, courtesy of first-time writer Jessica Postigo Paquette. Some of the most laughable revelations include that of a certain 18th-century German composer being credited for being a Shadowhunter who invented the art of using the piano as a demon-sensing instrument (although frankly this is one possible spin off that sounds like it has much potential).

Tightening the script and applying a more liberal hand at editing would have benefited City of Bones, considering how much the young actors flail at their main responsibility of emoting. Collins is passable in the lead role, likable but altogether vanilla. She lacks both the oddly engaging coldness of Kristen Stewart and the acting chops of Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence, whose grounded performance in The Hunger Games' made Katniss somewhat relatable and minimally annoying. Bower is presented with some of the better lines in the movie, but fails to capitalize on it. Veterans Headey and Rhys Myers, who demonstrated skill at playing intense and complex characters in medieval settings on Game of Thrones and The Tudors respectively, are underused and relegated to making the best of their limited screen time and cringe-worthy dialogue. Meanwhile, Jared Harris plays a professor whose actions are utterly baffling.

There are elements that set certain young adult book series apart from their competition, separating stellar book / film franchises from mediocre ones. Unfortunately, it's not just about having a dark-haired 'ordinary' girl find out she has been inexplicably blessed with overwhelming power around the same time she meets the love of her life. J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter, for instance, invested effort into characterisation and meaningful dialogue, fleshing out everyone's strengths and failings while ensuring real-world parallels can be easily drawn amidst a fantasy setting. City of Bones falls in with Twilight at the other end of the spectrum: not only do you have to suspend logic to accept the two-hour long story; you're given very little reason to care about it at all.

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