The term "Too many cooks in the kitchen" doesn’t do it justice when describing Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. Due to the sheer density of cooks, the kitchen explodes and between the ashes rise a rare breed of phoenix called Mediocris Cashgrabitus.
Anyone who laid their unfortunate eyes on a trailer, TV spot or even a bus banner of this focus grouped filmed version of pink slime will not have a hard time making a connection between it and the Twilight Saga. It’s obvious that Mortal Instruments is a vulture desperately pining after the breadcrumbs of Twilight’s inexplicable giant financial success.
Perhaps that’s why an unoriginal yet simple Young Adult Demons vs. Humans story has vampires and werewolves amateurishly wedged in between it. I don’t know if the "original" series of novels came before or after Twilight and I’m not going to bother spending the 0.2 seconds on Google to find out. I’m already wasting enough time on writing the review of this instantly forgettable corporate refuse.
Of course we get a love triangle a-la Bella, Edward and Jacob. The fact that I know these names off the top of my head makes me pull the barrel that much closer to my temple. But this time, it comes with sweet, sweet incest, Empire Strikes Back-style. The premise itself is the Twilight version of Harry Potter:
Seemingly normal young girl Clary (I still don’t understand what talent Lily Collins possesses apart from being Phil Collins’ daughter) grew up her whole life not knowing she’s a demon hunter with special powers. When her mother mysteriously disappears, she’s taken under the protection of Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower), our hunky demon hunter.
The goal of the demon hunters is to find a cup that does, well, something important. Even though it’s explained three times in the film, I wouldn’t be able to tell you what it does even after a day-long waterboarding session.
From this point on the studio regurgitates any element from recent pop-culture they think will stick. Apart from obvious Twilight, Harry Potter and Star Wars references, we even get a nod (or a steal) from Inception’s Limbo concept and even John Carpenter’s The Thing.
Harald Zwart, the priceless auteur who brought us the masterpiece called The Pink Panther 2, must have asked himself "How can I take the brilliant practical effects of The Thing and turn them into cheap CGI mediocrity in the least creative way imaginable?"
Even though the premise doesn’t show a hint of originality, I have a feeling Cassandra Clare’s books explain the ins and outs and the endless rules and symbols of the demon hunting world in great detail.
Screenwriter Jessica Postigo tries to condense the hodgepodge of all of this gobbledygook into the already interminable 130 minutes but it quickly becomes exhausting to try retaining it all in memory. If you’re a big fan of the books, I guess this works as a visual companion and not a stand-alone feature.
Well, at least Clary is a more active character than Bella, which is not much of a compliment since any life form with a pulse would be an improvement over Kristen Stewart.
Of course I understand that as a 33-year-old man, this is not marketed for me. But if you really have to pick a YA girl entertainment, you can do a lot better. Off the top of my head, the recent Beautiful Creatures is far better than Twilight and Mortal Instruments combined.