This is essentially Twilight, mark 2. A supernatural thriller type movie, based on a series of novels by Cassandra Clare, Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is desperately trying to break into the extremely lucrative tween market which is still mourning the loss of Edward, Bella and Jacob (that’s not a spoiler by the way). Clary Fray’s mother disappears, around the same time that Clary realises that she can see people that other humans can’t. Handily, these people are young, fit and like to wear leather. They’re called shadow-hunters and track down demons and kill them. Not quite sure why… Mundanes (think muggles) are oblivious to this parallel world that surrounds them. Clary joins forces with a sexy shadow hunter called Jace, played by Jamie Campbell Bower, who has managed to straddle the other main teenage franchises, Twilight and Harry Potter. He knows what he’s doing… There are also werewolves, vampires and a dog that turns into a really gross monster.

Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Trailer

Robert Sheehan who was the best character in Misfits, plays the geeky best friend to Lily Collin’s Clary, and provides some comic relief but they shouldn’t have scripted him quite so much; he’s much funnier when he’s improvising. And please don’t make him do an American accent because the poor boy just can’t do it. And he sounds much sexier with his native Irish accent. To be honest, there are way too many characters to care about, some of them good, some bad, some you really have no idea. There’s a good guy, that turns out to be bad, but then becomes sort of good again and you have no idea why any of it happens. You can tell it’s come from a written series because the filmmakers have attempted to cram in loads of detail that can only be properly developed in a book but instead of leaving out unnecessary plot points, they tease them and then forget about them. Or they expect their ‘tantalising titbits’ to carry your enthusiasm for seeing the next film, which it doesn’t, it’s just annoying and makes it seem badly made and thoughtless.

It’s dense and overpopulated but Mortal Instruments attempts to touch upon what no other teen film franchise has yet explored – gay relationships. Or in this case, unrequited love. I’m glad they’ve tried to include it but as usual, it’s not pushed far enough, the character in question in always on the periphery and is left unsatisfied (thanks to @alexiomatic for his valuable input here). In the inevitable sequels, I’m hoping this type of storyline will become more central but somehow, I doubt it. I can see what the film is trying to do – make a dent in quite a saturated market to fill a Twilight shaped hole – but it’s nowhere near as fun or interesting, it takes itself too seriously and it relies on clichés. Just wait for the next Hunger Games film.

2*

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