2013, Movies

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013, Harald Zwart

This is one of the innumerable young adult fantasy franchises that has seemingly popped up out of nowhere over the last decade and a half. I watched it for the same reasons that I watch all of these – I enjoy bad movies. This one is, at times, better than a lot of the other lower tier of these films, because it has a sense of humour and it has a sense of humour about the cliches of the genre. Yes, I know, this one was a flop. But it’s certainly more entertaining than a lot of these pandering “You are so special, reader!” films. When it tries to be.

SPOILERS, if you care about such things as this movie’s cliche plot points.

Unfortunately, that sense of humour is only occasional and the film takes itself entirely too seriously most of the rest of the time, like in the run of the mill fight scenes and, at its worst, in the romantic scenes. (This is particularly true of the scene in the greenhouse with the song about finding your soulmate, which has to be one of the most absurd things I’ve seen in a movie in a long, long time – but I haven’t seen any of the Twilight films yet.)

And, when the film isn’t gently mocking the cliches of the genre it is fully embracing them, to the point where it is rendered utterly ridiculous (sophisticated British people, love triangles, yada yada yada). For example, the series’ “Luke, I am your father” moment happens less than 90 minutes into its first movie! (Did I mention this is long? Because it is.)

And do you want plot devices stolen from other films? The brother and sister kiss because they don’t know they’re siblings. (And do they ever look alike….) Where did that come from? Should George Lucas sue? (I suspect he stole it from someone else, possibly from a fairy tale, so no…)

Anyway, I guess there are worse films, but this is pretty brutal despite its humour.


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