About the film
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is a 2013 film adaptation from the book of the same name by Cassandra Clare. The film has a run time of 130 minutes and is rated 12A.
In New York, Clary Fray is going about her everyday life when she sees someone and something she shouldn’t have in a club. Problem is, no one else around her can see what is going on. Clary is the descendant of a Shadowhunter, a group of half angel warriors who fight to destroy demons. After her mother disappears without warning, Clary is forced to ask for the help of other Shadowhunters as they may be the only ones who can help her. She is thrown into a new life filled with demons, vampires and werewolves, amongst other things, and must quickly learn to accept what she thought could never be possible.
Lily Collins as Clary Fray
Jamie Campbell Bower as Jace Wayland
Robert Sheehan as Simon Lewis
Kevin Zegers as Alec Lightwood
Lena Headey as Jocelyn Fray
Kevin Durand as Emil Pangborn
Aidan Turner as Luke Garroway
Jemima West as Isabelle Lightwood
Godfrey Gao as Magnus Bane
C. C. H. Pounder as Madame Dorothea
Jared Harris as Hodge Starkweather
Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Valentine Morgenstern
What I thought
The Mortal Instruments is a series of books that I absolutely love so when I heard about the film being made, I was a little wary about it. I had never heard of the girl playing the lead and the actor playing the male lead just didn’t sit right with me. I had also heard bad things from others who love the books just as much as me.
City of Bones has quite a quick beginning. It doesn’t take long for protagonist Clary to be introduced to the world of the Shadowhunters. While out in a club with her best friend Simon, she thinks she witnesses a murder than no one else can see but learns that the now dead man was actually a demon. Here, she meets Jace (a Shadowhunter) and he explains what is really going on although he is surprised she can actually see him. While I was thankful that the beginning of the film wasn’t dragged out, I do think that Clary became all too okay with the changes in her life too quickly. I remember in the book that she took a while to get used to everything that was going on around her.
Speaking of Clary, Lily Collins plays the character and I was actually quite pleasantly surprised by her performance. Collins makes the character likeable while still being able to show strength and bravery. There are a few times where she comes across as a bit whiney but not overly and I was thankful for that. As someone I hadn’t previously heard of, I was unsure about how well she’d be able to portray the role but she did a good job. Collins shows emotion well throughout the whole film and considering how much the character has to go through, she needed to show quite a lot. I think that Collins also dealt really well with the action scenes which I wasn’t expecting.
As with the beginning of the film, the plot moves along at a quick pace. There is a lot going on in this film and it is pretty non-stop all the way through. As soon as Clary learns of the Shadowhunters and what they do, her life is filled with secrets, lies and demons. The fight scenes were pretty impressive and well done by all involved. There are quite a few characters in the film, not all of which are Shadowhunters. There are allies and enemies between different kinds of creature and I really enjoyed how this was explored. There is a whole host of supernatural creatures to get to know in City of Bones and it was interesting to see how they worked (or didn’t) together to get things done.
As this is a film adaptation of a book, there are certainly things missing that I think should have been put in. People who have read the book might be a little disappointed to see some quite important parts missing but obviously, the film can only be so long so things needed to be cut. However, while I would have liked to have seen some things, I was still happy with the film overall. Author Cassandra Clare had a hand in writing the screenplay and watched over production so I guess if she was happy, then book fans should be as well. For me, casting was most of the problem rather than the plot and bits missing.
One thing that did get talked about a lot was the portrayal of Jace Wayland, Clary’s love interest. Playing Jace is Jamie Campbell Bower. Now, for those who haven’t read the book, I’m sure you will all find him to be great in the role. Jace is a character who is full of himself, cocky and very witty. Campbell Bower manages to get this part of the role absolutely perfect and he comes across as arrogant and as someone who loves himself. His acting skills are not to be frowned at and I do think he did a really good job. However, he still isn’t the Jace I imagined. In my eyes, Jace was a bigger guy with a lot more muscle and Campbell Bower is quite slim although he did bulk up a bit for the role. It wasn’t that I didn’t like him though, he just wasn’t perfect.
Overall, City of Bones wasn’t nearly as bad as I had expected it to be. The plot moves at a fast pace and is exciting the whole way through. Even without my perfect choices in the casting, this is a really entertaining film and I can’t wait for the sequel to come out.