The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
Directed by Harold Zwart
Starring: Robert Sheehan, Jamie Campbell Bower and Lily Collins
★★ (out of five)
I’VE never been to Brooklyn, but after watching the latest addition to the teen fantasy genre I may have to go. Who knew that behind the iconic landscape of New York lay the centre of an ancient battle between half-angel warriors and demonic forces?
Director Harald Zwart, famous for his remake of The Karate Kid (2010), stepped into an unfamiliar realm with The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, an adaptation of the first installment of Cassandra Clare’s best-selling fantasy novel series.
Zwart was fascinated with the characters of this eerie parallel world. There are certainly plenty to choose from — Shadowhunters, warlocks, faeries, vampires and werewolves. And those are just the ones that I remember.
Lily Collins is Clary, who appears to be a normal teenager living an ordinary life in an ordinary neighbourhood. This is until one evening when she heads to a downtown nightclub with her loveable best friend Simon (Robert Sheehan).
It is here that she encounters the mysterious and charming Shadowhunter Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower), and after realising that only she can see him kill a demon in the crowded club, Clary questions whether she is that ordinary after all.
If the story began and ended here it would have been fairly straightforward. But, between the unlocked vortexes, the Mortal Cup, Mortal swords, Downworlders and Runes, I found myself in moments of sheer distress as I struggled to keep up with the pace of the complex storyline.
Essentially, it was ‘good versus evil’, but at times the lines of differentiation became blurred. I spent much of the film questioning where my loyalties should lie; I wasn’t entirely sure whose side I was on.
Valentine (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) didn’t help my struggle. As one of the most powerful Shadowhunters he attempts to impart his radical agenda of producing more of his kind at the expense of protecting humans, thus establishing himself as an enemy to all.
Another Irishman to grace the screen is Aidan Turner, who despite frequently morphing between father-figure and werewolf maintains his steely disposition throughout.
Zwart extracted too much detail from the novel into this two-hour-long film, and as a result the story became disjointed and confusing at times. However, my main qualm about this action-rammed film is the unsubtle and cringeworthy love triangle between Clary, Simon and Jace.
But if you’re a sucker for cheese then you should definitely take this trip of a lifetime into the dark and dangerous world of Brooklyn.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is out now