The Buzz: City of Bones

Vrinda Chauhan, Staff Writer

Three years. I have waited three entire years for this movie to come out. As soon as Cassandra Clare announced on her blog that there would be a movie adaptation of her charming book series, “The Mortal Instruments,” I was stoked. (In my defense, I was a 7th grader trying to move out of my “Harry Potter” phase.) I was madly in love with the book series and developed high expectations over time, which, unfortunately, were not met.

The plot revolves around teenager Clary Fray, who lives in New York City with her mother. She decides to celebrate her birthday at a club with her best friend, Simon. There, she witnesses a murder committed by three teenagers with exotic weapons and strange tattoos– a murder invisible to everyone else. Assuming someone had drugged her and she was hallucinating, Simon drags her out of the club. However, when she returns, her house is trashed and her mother is missing. As she heads out to look for her mother, she sees one of the teenagers with the strange tattoos again, who provides some answers but brings about more questions.

From him, she discovers that she is a human-angel hybrid being called shadow-hunter. She is introduced to a world filled with fantastic creatures, such as vampires, fairies, and werewolves (but not zombies– that would be ridiculous). She soon discovers a lot about her family and in the process of trying to retrieve her mother, falls in love with the cocky male antagonist, Jace Wayland (who later turns out to be related to her and her evil father –insert evil laughter and thunder.)

In retrospect, I suppose the books weren’t perfect to begin with. It was your average teen fiction novel: girl meets mysterious yet enticing boy, girl discovers a supernatural world (and finds that she is suddenly a very important part of it), love triangle forms, the usual. However, in the books, Clare had stitched all the loose ends together nicely. They weren’t anything unique, but at the very least, they made sense.

The movie, on the other hand, left countless loose ends. It seemed as though characters were randomly acting out scenes without providing an explanation for what exactly was going on. The whole movie moved too fast and skipped a lot of important parts of the story, which made the movie confusing and chaotic.

Many of the lines were very cheesy and I found myself rolling my eyes or snorting several times throughout the film. I was also less than impressed by Jamie Campbell-Bower’s portrayal of Jace. He couldn’t pull off the sarcastic and suave (but sadly fictional) Jace that I had fallen in love with. He instead made Jace seem moody, rude, and bland and gave the character a feminine quality, which Jace didn’t have an ounce of in the book.

It was also a shame that the horror elements were downplayed in order to focus on the lackluster romance, because the few demons that were shown looked very impressive and frightening. The CGI was as effective as that of movies with twice this film’s budget.

I could ramble on about the flaws of this movie forever, but it wasn’t all bad. I was pleasantly surprised by Lily Collins’ and Robert Sheehan’s performances. Collins delivered her lines naturally and was perfect for Clary’s character while Sheehan’s performance was flawless. He played the sweet, nerdy, friend-zoned Simon with seemingly great ease. Also, his casual lines incorporated dry humor, which made his character a bit more quirky and fun to watch.

However, the overall production was unimpressive and disappointing. It was definitely not worth the popcorn.