The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones review

Young adult literature adaptations are 10 a penny nowadays, with Twilight being the most prominent and successful. Which means there is a measuring stick for any new adaptations to set themselves against.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is an adaptation of the bestseller by Cassandra Clare. Clary Fray (Collins) is a seemingly normal teenage girl until one night she stumbles headfirst into a new supernatural world full of demons, vampires and all manner of creatures when her mother disappears without a trace. She meets Jace (Bower), a Shadowhunter: humans born with blood of the angel and who are duty bound to hunt and slay demons. Clary and Jace set off on a journey to find her mother and what her connection is to the mysterious Mortal Cup that the villainous Valentine Morgenstern (Myers) wants so badly.

As an avid fan of the books, I've been chomping at the bit to see this movie ever since it was announced around three years ago. On first viewing it did not disappoint one bit. Everything that the most ardent of book fans (which of whom I count myself among) would want was included, though some rearranging and condensing of plot points, scenes and reveals were done, nothing in the greater sense was lost to the fans.

Collins does a fine job as the leading lady, with the right amount of strength and vulnerability to make Clary a likeable heroine. But it's the men in her life, the snarky Jace and quick witted Simon (Sheehan) who truly shine, with Jace as the wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am action hero and Simon as the loveable boy-next-door who you just want to hug.

The film also boasts an impressive supporting cast of Headey as Jocelyn Fray, Turner as Luke Garroway, Harris as Hodge Starkweather, Zegers as Alec Lightwood, West as Isabelle Lightwood and Gao as Magnus Bane.

However, even as a fan I have to recognise the flaws in what is a faithful adaptation for previous fans but may fall short for people who are unfamiliar with the series. The film begins well, but towards the middle the pacing becomes too fast and good chunks of the plot are condensed too quickly for non fans to keep up with. I went to see it with my mum to get an unbiased opinion and she thought it was a good film but that it also went careening from point to point too quickly and that a bit more context was required which I have to agree with.

On the whole it's an enjoyable watch for both book fans and new fans alike. It's got just enough snark, romance, fighting and monsters to satisfy any fantasy fan and with the sequel City Of Ashes already greenlit and about to go into production, hopefully this franchise can only grow and rectify some of the few flaws that the opening segment has.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones at IMDb

London Press Conference for The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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