HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
HTS Overall Score:83
It seems that Dystopian futures and mystical other worldly realms have become the new fad for the tween film genre. After “Twilight” we switched from vampires to the supernatural with “Beautiful Creatures” and it seems to have stuck there along with the dystopian future movies ala “The Hunger Games”. Some of them seem to have done better than others. “Twilight” ranks up there with some of the worst the genre has to offer while “The Hunger Games” has garnered massive support and actually is pretty solid as a movie. Now with that being said I found “Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” to actually be somewhere in the middle, or more accurately just under “The Hunger Games”. I was actually pleasantly surprised to find that I was enjoying myself for the 2 hours and 10 minutes of runtime instead of watching how much time was left in the film as I usually do for this genre. Sure there’s plenty of tween clichés and poorly delivered lines, but they kept going at such a smooth clip that I found myself getting engrossed in the story.
Clary (Lily Collins) is a fairly normal girl. She loves going out to coffee shop with her friend, Simon (Robert Sheehan) and taking care of her artist mother, Jocelyn (Lena Headey). Only problem is that she’s been seeing this weird symbol in her dreams and ends up drawing them absent mindedly during the day. Her mother seems to know something about it, but Clary is being driven nuts by the enigma. Seeing the symbol on a nightclub sign she and Simon sneak in to see if they can find out anything about it. Once inside Clary witness something that makes no sense. She sees a young man cut down another patron with a sword and no one seems to be able to see it. Wondering if she’s going crazy Clary goes home and wakes up to a room COVERED in that strange symbol. Running out to cool her head with Simon she runs into the blond haired sword wielder once more. It seems that this young lad, Jace by name is invisible to normal humans, but for some reason is able to be seen by her. Guessing that something is afoot Jace takes Simon and Clary back to the “institute”, a hidden conclave where Jace confides in Clary that he is a demon hunter, and that if Clary is able to see him through the rune of invisibility that she had some shadowhunter blood in her as well.
This starts off a new chapter in Clary’s life when it’s revealed that her mother was a shadowhunter extraordinaire and that Jocelyn is the key to a hidden artifact that could be wielded either for good or for great evil. The institute wants the cup in order to make more Shadowhunters, but a rogue agent, Valentne (Jonathon Rhys Meyers) is after the cup for much more sinister purposes. In the interim Jocelyn is kidnapped by agents of Valentine and Clary and Jace must do everything they can to get her back before Valentine finds the artifact.
The movies is actually pretty engaging. There’s plent of action sequences and the CGI is impressively done for this sort of film. My only real complaints are due to the standard poor line delivery and acting of the young tweeny actors. The romance is kind of over the top and dramatic, while the really good parts tend to get glossed over a bit due to the movie being only PART of a series. That seems to be my main gripe with these films based on a series of books. They leave the films with unexplained parts and wildly open ended endings in hopes that the other books will be green lit and the unexplained parts can be explained later. The problem is that most people want a self-contained film, not one that needs to be seen as a series to understand. Some parts of the film really could have used some spit and polish to make it less open ended, but other parts were just a victim of being part of a series that doesn’t explain such things till a later book. Overall it was a fun romp and certainly a big step above some of the other tween movies that I’ve seen lately.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action, and some suggestive content
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=13863[/img]While the Tween storyline may not be perfect the 2.40:1 AVC transfer that Sony has given us is pretty close to it. The dark, gothic environment is resplendent with some incredible black levels and some ultra-shiny Hot Topic clothes to boot. The colors in the human world are bright and cheerful, with just a slight boost of brightness to act as a contrast to the dark realm of the Shadowhunters. Black levels are deep and inky with some incredible shadow detail to boot. Not once did I have to strain to see past black crush or greyed out blacks. Facial details is extremely well done, especially in the close ups. Jonathon Rhys Meyers face is crystal clear down to the individual hair follicles on his face. Digital artifacting is non-existent to my watchful eyes. With a full BD-50 to breath it has some impressive bitrates and the digital cinematography shows in spades. My only slight complaint was that one or two scenes in the human world tended to be a bit soft. It wasn’t very often, and only showed up for a split second or two, and won’t be noticeable to anyone who isn’t really looking close on a large screen.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=13864[/img]Again, this is a brand new release from Sony with a large budget. Did you really expect this one to get poor marks for audio? The front soundstage is perfect with the dialogue crystal clear and locked up in the center with some great panning effects. The surrounds light up and act as an excellent immersion tool, with ambient noises coming from all direction. Whether it be footsteps echoing down a stone hallway or the rush of bats whirling around from all directions the sound is immersive and exquisitely balanced. The LFE is another one of those tracks that doesn’t try and overwhelm you with mid bass but rather keeps a well restrained track that adds some throbbing low end to the entire film and when necessary causes vibrations that will knock your pictures off the wall. The end battle sequence with summoning cause some vibrations that will flap your pant legs for certain. Overall an excellent track that fits the mood of the movie very well.
• Bringing Them to Life - filmmakers and cast Discuss the Characters of "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones"
• Descendants of the Cup - A Look at the Stunts and the Cast's Transformation into Shadowhunters
• Deleted Scenes
• Music Video: "Almost is Never Enough" by Ariana Grande ft. Nathan Sykes
• Interactive Lineage Tracker
• Deadly Attraction - Lily Collins & Jamie Campbell Bower on their roles as Clary Fray and Jace Wayland
• Entering the Shadow World - Creating the extraordinary Creatures of the Shadow World
• Into the Shadows: From Book to Screen
As I mentioned earlier, “City of Bones” actually surprised me in the fact that I actually enjoyed the movie. These tween movies that have become the fad as of late are usually so painful that I need toothpicks under the eyes to keep awake (ala “Twilight” and “Beautiful Creatures”), but this one actually had me enjoying the film despite some of the standard tweeny clichés. Not as good as “The Hunger Games” franchise it still comes in pretty close behind it and actually has me hoping for a continuation of the series instead of doing just good enough to warrant an initial release and have the rest of the books slide into oblivion. Add the fantastic video and audio scores with some solid extras and fans of the genre will want to pick it up.
Starring: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Kevin Zegers
Directed by: Harold Zward
Written by: Jessica Postigo
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Studio: Sony Pictures
Blu-Ray Release Date: Dec 3rd, 2013
Buy Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Rent It
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