Starring: Lena Headey, Lily Collins, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Jamie Campbell Bower, Aidan Turner, Kevin Zegers, Jemima West
Directed by Harald Zwart
Written by Jessica Postigo, based on the novel by Cassandra Clare.
Adventure, fantasy, science fiction. 2hr 10mins. M for fantasy violence.
I don’t want to bandy the P-word around, but accusations of *whispers* plagiarism plagued Ms Claire, as did those of bullying, lying and generally being a bit of an ass online.
(The worst thing about this, I think, is the incredibly bad name fan fiction gets from this “author’s” works being so widely known. There are millions of writers and hundreds of millions of stories being written by fans, many of them of a calibre I would gladly pay money for. None of them are the product of Cassandra Clare. But I digress…)
Luckily for Ms Clare, and perhaps not so much for us, she based her stories on the work of some of the world’s great fantasy writers, so it’s not really surprising that her books were so popular they fooled some film exec somewhere into getting her cheque book out and turning on the green light.
And what a cheque book it was, too. There is a lot of money up on the screen in Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (The colon represents the goggling eyes of movie execs gazing on the endless honey pot that is YA novel adaptations), that’s for sure. No-one scrimped to make this terrible film.
But that just makes how bad the film actually is, smart all the more. Imagine if they’d bank rolled something good, like say… practically anything else at all.
Having said that, if you like urban fantasy, Mortal Instruments will not disappoint – there are enough beloved tropes to to keep any fantasy fan happy – in the same way a happy meal will get you to shut your trap for the ten minutes it takes to eat it.
In fact you can make a game out of spotting them – that’s what Cassandra Claire and her friends used to do back in the day when these stories were given away free on the internet, for fun not profit.
Up on the big screen, however, the pilfered highs are cobbled together with some utterly awful lows – the tacked on stroppy, gay love triangle is particularly galling – to create a tedious monster of a film which lumbers along, a Frankenstein of visual misfires.
Bottom line, if you believe plagiarists should prosper, then by all means see this execrable film.
If the thought of someone half-inching every good thing from fantasy fiction and jumbling it together in an ill thought out muddle of childish thumb-sucking, then this is the film for you!
A cynical, self indulgent mess that deserves no stars and, angels and demons willing, no sequels.
- A beginner’s guide to Cassandra Clare and her “Mortal Instruments” (dailydot.com)
- Mortal Instrument’s mortal failure (everyrosehasathorn.com)
- Watch The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Full Movie Online (watchthemortalinstrumentscityofbonesmovieonline.wordpress.com)