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The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013)

PG-13 | | Action, Fantasy, Horror | 21 August 2013 (USA)
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When her mother disappears, Clary Fray learns that she descends from a line of warriors who protect our world from demons. She joins forces with others like her and heads into a dangerous alternate New York called the Shadow World.

Director:

Harald Zwart

Writers:

Jessica Postigo (screenplay by) (as Jessica Postigo Paquette), Cassandra Clare (based on the novel by)
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901 ( 140)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lily Collins ... Clary
Jamie Campbell Bower ... Jace
Kevin Zegers ... Alec
Jemima West ... Isabelle
Robert Sheehan ... Simon
Robert Maillet ... Blackwell
Kevin Durand ... Pangborn
Godfrey Gao ... Magnus Bane
Lena Headey ... Jocelyn
Harry Van Gorkum ... Alaric / Werewolf
CCH Pounder ... Dorothea
Jared Harris ... Hodge
Jonathan Rhys Meyers ... Valentine
Aidan Turner ... Luke
Stephen R. Hart ... Brother Jeremiah (as Stephen Hart)
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Storyline

Set in contemporary New York City, a seemingly ordinary teenager, Clary Fray, discovers she is the descendant of a line of Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of young half-angel warriors locked in an ancient battle to protect our world from demons. After the disappearance of her mother, Clary must join forces with a group of Shadow Hunters, who introduce her to a dangerous alternate New York called the Shadow World, filled with demons, warlocks, vampires, werewolves and other deadly creatures. Written by Sony Pictures Entertainment

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action, and some suggestive content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

USA | Germany | Canada | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 August 2013 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones See more »

Filming Locations:

Toronto, Ontario, Canada See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$60,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$1,800,000 (United Kingdom), 21 August 2013

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,336,957, 25 August 2013, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$31,165,421

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$90,565,421
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At around 52 minutes a banner of Harald Zwarts favorite soccer team appears. Fredrikstad Fotball Klubb See more »

Goofs

When both Valentine and Clary go through the portal they come out wet, but when Jace puts his arm through it comes out completely dry. See more »

Quotes

Clary Fray: You play that piano as if you've lost your only love.
Jace Wayland: Unfortunately, my one true love remains myself.
Clary Fray: Well, at least you don't have to worry about rejection.
Jace Wayland: Not necessarily. I turn myself down occasionally, just to keep it interesting
See more »

Connections

References The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Goldberg Variations BWV 988, Aria
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach
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User Reviews

A loose, indulgent and oftentimes draggy adaptation reminiscent of Twilight: not recommended for non-fans and post-adolescents
22 August 2013 | by moviexclusiveSee all my reviews

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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