To watch this film is to gain a new level of identification with HAL 9000’s poignant brain-wipe in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY: as MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES unspools before your eyes, you can feel your mind going…going…gone – until you find yourself humming a verse of “Daisy Bell.” In fact, the move is so mind-numbing that I cannot bring myself to review it; instead, I have enlisted my imaginary nephew Jimmy, who served similar duty on the first TWILIGHT film. As before, I will fix the grammar and vocabulary to provide a professional sheen that a sixteen-year-old might not produce on his own. Take it away, Jimmy:
Man this movie sucked almost as much as TWILIGHT. Not as much, but that’ s not a good thing – because at least with TWILIGHT I could laugh at it. This movie wasn’t even that much fun.
It’s all about some girl who goes out with her friend for her birthday, and he’s a real lame-o because she thinks of him as like being her brother but he really loves her but he is too lame to tell her. Anyway she sees some blonde dude in a hoodie kill some other dude but nobody else sees it. This is because they are all “mundanes” and can’t see monsters and demons, so she must not be a mundane – she’s a shadow-hunter, only she don’t know it because her mom never told her, like my mom never told me I was adopted or something.
Anyway, “Mundanes” sounded kind of like “Mondays” to me, so I kept wondering whether there were any “Tuesdanes” or “Wednesdanes” or – well, you get the idea. And I know that joke is hella-lame, so you’re probably wondering why I told it, so I will tell you: I wanted you to know how I felt in the movie every time they told a joke – exactly like you feel now after “Tuesdanes.” I know you don’t believe the stuff they say in the movie could be that bad, but it is.
Anyway, the girl is kind of like the girl in TWILIGHT: she’s really boring, but at least her face moves sometimes. There’s this funny part where a shadow-hunter girl dresses her up in her leather skirts, and the girl is like, “I look like a slut,” but she doesn’t look like a slut; she looks like some girl wearing someone else’s clothes, and I think this scene was maybe supposed to tell us that this girl is really tough and cool and she will become a great shadow-hunter too, but she just looks like she wants to go home and put on some other clothes that fit.
Anyway, this girl kind of falls in love with the blonde shadow-hunter guy in the hoodie, but he’s boring too. He’s always standing around and staring like he’s got a booger in his nose that he’s afraid will fall out if he smiles or something, so he just stands there trying to hold it in by keeping his face all still.
Anyway, there’s a bad guy who wants to find this mortal cup thing that turns people into shadow hunters, but the shadow-hunters who had the cup don’t want to turn people into shadow-hunters because that would be bad for some reason I could never figure out, like I could never figure out why the bad guy was the bad guy for wanting to make shadow-hunters when the shadow-hunters kill demons that hurt people. Maybe they will explain that in the next movie, but that won’t do me any good because I won’t be going to see that one.
Anyway, the shadow-hunters who are the good guys take the girl and her “boyfriend” to this place where they are safe, except you know they will not be safe because the guy who runs the place is the same guy who was Moriarty in that Sherlock Holmes movie with Robert Downey, so we all know where this is going. At least I did, but the characters didn’t because they’re kind of stupid.
There are also some werewolves who help out but mostly they don’t turn into wolves; they just growl and show their teeth. And there’s this really funny part where the demons get into the shadow-hunters hideout, and the werewolves come to rescue them, but one of the werewolves says we came to rescue them; we don’t know how to fight demons. And I kind of wondered, like, what did you think you were rescuing the shadow-hunters from? A tornado or something?
Then the demons kill almost all the werewolves but the girl paints this thing on her hand they call a rune, and it freezes the demons, but they don’t stay frozen for long, so they girl and her friends get away, but the last two werewolves stay to fight the demons, and I was wondering how come the demons could kill about three dozen werewolves really easy, but the last two werewolves would be able to have a fair fight with the demons.
The whole movie was like that. Stuff happens and I couldn’t figure out why, and sometimes the characters would say something to explain, but it was mostly like “What’s that rune that froze the demons?” And the girl would say something like, “I just now made it up.” Which was kind of like the whole movie – they just now made it up, and it worked because they said so.
Towards the end it got real confusing. Earlier, the girl’s mom drank something that did something to her, but we never saw what. The guy in the hoodie just says it was “no good,” so you think maybe it was poison, except the girl who is her daughter keeps talking about finding her mom, so I thought maybe her mom is not dead from poison. Well, they finally “find” mom, except they don’t really find her because they aren’t really looking for her at the time. She just happens to be in the shadow-hunter hideout, floating in the air in a coma, and I was like, “Did that thing she drank make her float, and did it make her just appear in that room, which was like in a crypt or something?” But nobody in the film cared about that; they were just happy to see mom, but mom never wakes up. And come to think about it, there’s another guy who gets hurt in a demon fight, and he never wakes up either, but he’s not dead either, so maybe they will tell us what happened to him in the next movie. Like I care!
There were a lot of fights in this movie, which is kind of surprising because you would think with lots of fights it wouldn’t be so boring, but it was boring. Because when you have a guy in a hoodie who is boring and a girl who is boring and they are fighting a bunch of boring demons, the result is – well, boring.
Also, I could never figure out why the girl’s mom sounded English, and so did the bad shadow-hunters who were hunting for the girl. Sometimes when I flip channels on TV, I see about two seconds of shows like MAGNUM P.I., and the bad shadow-hunters were kind of like those characters, and I thought if Magnum can beat them up, then it should be easy for the shadow-hunters to beat them up, but for some reason it isn’t.
At least near the end, the really bad lead shadow-hunter guy shows up, and he does lots of “acting” – which isn’t really good, but it’s kind of like when you see your best friend in the high school play, so you like it anyway. He does some more fight scenes, which are still boring even with him in them, and you get double your boredom because there’s another fight scene at the same time, and the movie goes back and forth so just when you’re falling asleep, you open your eyes because maybe the other fight won’t be so boring, but it is.
But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is that the bad guy looks about as old as the girl whose mother is in a coma, but he tells her he’s her father, which is really weird, because why does the girl’s mother look old but her father doesn’t? Also, it’s kind of like THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and it’s also like RETURN OF THE JEDI, because the bad guy is also the father of the blond guy with the hoodie and the booger in his nose, so that makes the girl and the guy in the hoodie brother and sister just like Luke and Leia, which means they can’t be in love anymore, so I guess that means she’s going to get together with her other “friend” instead – the one she thinks of like a brother, which is kind of funny because she doesn’t think that way about the one who really is her brother. Oh, and “friend” she thinks of like a brother got bitten by a vampire and doesn’t need his eyeglasses anymore (like Peter Parker in SPIDER-MAN), so maybe he will be a vampire in the next movie, and you know I can’t wait to see how that turns out.
Anyway, the movie ends with Luke and Leia throwing Darth into a portal to another dimension, and hopefully he will end up in a galaxy far, far away. Because you know when you throw someone into a portal, it’s not like killing them once and for all; you know they’re coming back for the sequel. So when the movie ended and the credits started going on the screen and everyone left, I stuck around, because I figured there would be a seen like in KICK-ASS 2 where you see the bad guy is alive, so you know he will come back, but there was not a scene like that in this movie, so I just wasted five more minutes when I could have been in the rest room, which would have been a lot more entertaining than anything in this movie.
Thanks, Jimmy! I couldn’t have said it better myself! To be fair, the productions values are pretty decent, and the cinematography is nice. Despite the ridiculous and the intrusive attempt to shoe-horn in a song, the actual song (“Heart by Heart”) is not too bad: for a brief moment, you can close your eyes and almost enjoy yourself, as long as you can tune out the dialogue and sound effects. Jonathan Rhys Meyers resembles a young, dark-haired Malcolm McDowell, and he brings a certain intensity to the villainous Valentine, but his performance does not make me eager to see him in the new DRACULA television series. All that said, I’ve seldom had a harder time keeping my eyes open during a movie.
A strong recommendation to avoid this one
THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES (August 22, 2013). Directed by Harald Zwart. Screenplay by Jessica Postigo, based on the novel by Cassandra Clare. 1130 mins. Rated PG-13. Cast: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Kevin Zegers, Jemima West, Robert Sheehan, Robert Maillet, Kevin Durand, Godfrey Gao, Lena Headey, Harry Van Gorkum, CCH Pounder, Jarde Harris, Jonathan Rhys Meyers.