Piedmont’s McMovie reviews “The Mortal Instruments”

BY JACOB MCKEE

Contributing Writer

If there is one movie that you need to go see this weekend, it is not “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.”

Based off the popular young adult book series “The Mortal Instruments,” “City of Bones” tried to do what so many other movies did: turn that literary success into a cinematic one.

Unfortunately, unlike the “Harry Potter” films, “The Hunger Games” or even the “Twilight,” I do not think this series has what it takes.

Despite my distaste for the “Twilight” series, they had at least one major thing going for them when they made the jump from page to screen. They already had an extensive, established fan base.

“The Mortal Instruments” series is sort of popular, but in order to truly rise to fame, the film would not only have to appeal to book readers but also to those, like myself, who have not read the source material.

In other words, it would have to be a good movie.

And it did not totally fail. There were some highlights, although few and far between, such as Lena Headey’s performance as Jocelyn Fray. She  makes the best of her cheesy, forboding dialogue and engages in an exhilarating fight scene close to the beginning of the film.

The movie also tries repeatedly to use witty one-liners to lighten the mood, and although they mostly fall flat on their face, some made me laugh for the right reasons. However, there were some that were just cringe-worthy. I couldn’t possibly name them all here, but just trust me that this film has more than its fair share of cheesy dialogue.

Though the majority of the dialogue is mediocre, I think the film’s main failure is in its jumbled plot. There are too many twists and turns for its own good, and not all of them make complete sense. Some of them are pretty far-fetched, and one big one even served to make my entire group rather uncomfortable.

A lot of the elements of the film, from plot points to settings, seem pulled straight from other fantasy sagas. For example, the protagonists’ base of operations, the Institute, looks like an exact replica of Hogwarts, inside and out. The only difference is that it’s in New York City, which we are constantly reminded of by the myriad of skyline shots.

Combine all of this with good-but-not-great performances from up-and-coming young actors like Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower and some decidedly average CGI, and you’ve got the recipe for a pretty mediocre movie.