Harold Zwart


After the huge success of the Harry Potter movies, the overwhelming money-making power of the Twilight franchise, and the gargantuan debut of the first Hunger Games film, it was starting to look like adaptations of Young Adult literature were going to be the new go-to when it came to tentpole filmmaking—the new super hero movie, essentially. The longevity of the YA trend got called into question, however, when The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, which was the first film adaptation of a series of wildly popular YA novels by author Cassandra Clare, came and went at the box office without making so much as a peep. Suddenly studio execs had to start asking themselves a bunch of questions about the future of supernatural love triangles. Was it possible that the YA craze had come and went already? Was there something about this particular property that didn’t translate as well to the screen as the successes that came before it? Eventually concerns around City of Bones’ sluggish box office returns became so great that production on the sequel, City of Ashes, was halted indefinitely just a week before it was scheduled to begin. That didn’t seem like a good sign for fans who were hoping they’d get movie versions of all three installments of Clare’s initial “Mortal Instruments” trilogy.


review city of bones

Clary (Lily Collins) has moved to Brooklyn with her mom (Lena Headey) and pseudo step-dad, but while her best friend Simon (Robert Sheehan) still lives close enough to visit on a daily basis something is amiss. A visit to a nightclub sees her witness a murder that no one else seems aware of, and when she awakens the next morning after a night of somnambulistic rune doodling her day goes progressively downhill. Her mom is abducted, their apartment is left in disarray, and she’s attacked by a dog that’s seen John Carpenter’s The Thing one too many times. On the bright side though she meets and falls for Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower), the lanky, blond killer from the night before, and discovers that she’s not quite the “mundane” teen she thought she was. Instead, she’s descended from a line of Shadowhunters tasked with killing demons, policing vampires, and keeping Hot Topic in business. Together they race to rescue her mom and find the chalice from the palace with the brew that is true before the evil Valentine (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) can use it to rule the world. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is the first film in a hopeful new franchise based on the best-selling YA fantasy series, but while it checks the boxes on many of the genre’s most common ingredients it neglects the ones necessary to tell a good and engaging story. It’s crowded, dumb and more interested in the set-piece destination than in the journey getting there, […]


The Mortal Instruments City of Bones

The new trailer for The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is incredibly encouraging. Not because it avoids the overused normal-person-discovers-they-have-extraordinary-powers-in-a-magical-world-beyond-our-own trope that’s been hollowed out for a decade. Not because it steers clear of what looks like a crush-triangle. But because it looks like it’s injected some horror sensibilities into the Young Adult world. Which is kind of funny to think about. With the two most famous horror icons at its disposal, Twilight never went that route. It was all big CGI action and brooding. Meanwhile, TMI: CoB (which really needs the acronym) definitely has a dark side. It even has werewolves. Check it out for yourself:

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published: 12.22.2014
published: 12.19.2014
published: 12.18.2014

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