Film review: The mortal instruments: City of bones

Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower) takes on the Vampires,  Alec (Kevin Zegers), Clary (Lily Collins) and Simon (Robert Sheehan)
Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower) takes on the Vampires, Alec (Kevin Zegers), Clary (Lily Collins) and Simon (Robert Sheehan)
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And there’s another five books left...

Fantasy/Action/Horror. Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Robert Sheehan, Jarred Harris, Kevin Zegers, Jemima West, Godfrey Gao, Lena Headey. Director: Harald Zwart.

With the final screen instalments of Harry Potter and the Twilight film series done and dusted, The Mortal Instruments film franchise comes at the perfect time for fantasy film fans.

Like the two famous film series before it, The Mortal Instruments is about an ordinary teenager who discovers they’re not so ordinary after all. In this case, it’s 15-year-old New Yorker Clary (Lily Collins) who discovers that she is from a family of Shadowhunters, who are half-angel warriors locked in a battle to protect the world from demons.

But with her mother missing, Clary and ‘mundane’ (human) best pal Simon (Misfits star Robert Sheehan) have no time to ruminate on her new lineage and instead must join forces with some other Shadowhunters, including Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower) to find her dear old mum.

Downworld, the alternate New York where the Shadowhunters live, proves to be an unsafe place to hang out and the makeshift gang soon find their lives are in danger. As an added kick in the teeth, they are also no closer to finding Lily’s mum.

With so much at stake, there should be a lot of drama here but instead The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones limps on, ticking off movie clichés along the way.

While there are a few moments of intentional humour to liven up proceedings, there are also plenty of unintentional corkers, mainly from Jonathan Rhys Myers who plays good-man-gone-bad Valentine.

At one point Valentine tells Jace the damning news that he is his father.

To illustrate this, he turns Jace’s ring which is shaped as the initial ‘W’ to represent his supposed surname Wayland, upside down so it looks like an ‘M’ standing for Morgenstern, his actual last name. “Appearances can be deceptive,” Myers simpers.

Myers might overact but thankfully the three leading actors do a good job with the sometimes cheesy script and will doubtless keep their fans hooked.

Which is lucky, really, considering there are another five books in the series, and this lot will be around for a good while yet.


(12A, 130 min)