Being based on a bestselling novel and with many on the hunt for the next Hunger Games, the pressure was on for The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones. Unfortunately, it’s not up to HG standards, but there are positives enough for it to be worth a watch.
Supernatural creatures are creepier than anticipated, given the rating and considering it’s director Harald Zwart (The Karate Kid)’s first fantasy gig. With a back catalogue comprised heavily of kid’s movies, his demons, vamps and werewolves are surprisingly well constructed, fitting convincingly into urban Manhattan.
The action is gripping enough to, momentarily, remove you from the inevitable love triangle conventional in YA adaptations. Thought the Twilight teens had it hard? Imagine finding out your potential love might be your sibling, after sharing a kiss more passionate than that of Luke and Leia.
Get passed the clichéd romance scenes and awful ‘you know I told you I’d never seen an angel?’ chat-up line and the leads are rather good. Campbell Bower’s (Harry Potter, Twilight) Jace is satirical, delivering one-liners flawlessly among his otherwise brooding persona.
Sheehan’s Simon, too, is amusing, though not as hilarious as his Misfits‘ character; understandable when considering the differing certificates. Collins (Mirror Mirror) deserves praise for tough but not faultless Clary, who’s set on finding her mum, without constantly focusing on the lads. The ‘kids’ certainly steal the show; with Lena Headey, Jared Harris and Jonathan Rhys Meyers given comparatively less screen time.
Costumes can be eccentric. Clary even questions why she need dress like a lady of night to get into a party, although, when the host emerges trouser-less, she seems overdressed. The goth look can be OTT, but sci-fi favours a studded, leather-clad wardrobe, right? The Shadowhunters’ tattoos, however, appear to be inked on with a Sharpie.
There’s room for improvement, but it’s good enough to aid growing appeal in YA adaptations. You might not pre-book for part two, but you’ll probably rent the DVD.