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“The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” features a few moments of terror and slick CGI which are lost in a sea of loose ends and gratuitous mythology.
Clary Fray, a teenager living in New York with her artist mom, starts absently drawing a mysterious symbol over and over and over. What could it mean? Is she going crazy, or is she simply the long lost daughter of half-angel demon hunters, her mysterious and secret past kept hidden from her in an attempt to protect her that goes awry and actually puts her in greater danger? As Clary hangs out with a young man who moons over her (and, inevitably, becomes ENRAGED when she kisses someone else, even though he’s never asked her out or expressed overt interest in her) she notices Mysterious And Scary Things happening around her…. Things Nobody Else Can See! She comes home to a trashed, mom-less apartment, and there’s some legit scary scenes with a shape shifting demon dog that owes a bit of its character design to Marvel Comic’s “Venom.” Thus launched into the thick of the adventure, Clary hooks up with other half-angel demon hunters, meets some werewolves, finds out Johann Sebastien Bach was a demon hunter and that there’s weapons caches under Christian church alters, hangs out at a secret citadel, and makes out with her brother. There’s demons and werewolves and vampires and secret portals and magic and tarot cards and it just comes and comes and comes and doesn’t stop, with no much actual story (other than “find the macguffin/keep the macguffin safe”) holdings things together.
There’s a lot of teens in leather pants, though.
I am a sucker for vampires, full stop. They are absolutely one of my favorite things. I’m also interested in demons, angels, angel-human (and demon-human) hybrids, girls who have to save the world, werewolves, hotties in leather pants, and mystical tattoos/runes that grant magical powers. In theory this movie should have been a big hit. But it’s not, it’s just kind of boring. A trimmer cast, more focused story, and less vague side-quests would have helped quite a bit. Eliminating the “we’re just friends lol whoops no I loved you all this time you owe me” character– or making him not romantically interested in Clary/not a tedious jackass– would have helped also.
I classed this as horror because there’s demons and vampires and shit, and early on when Clary’s fighting the apparently unkillable demon dog that keeps shifting and oozing? That was horrific. But the movie can’t sustain that horror or tension so whoops.
I give this movie 2 out of 5 stars.
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