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:: The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones

There is a good chance that “The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones” will be one of the most maligned films of this year. Critics will slam it and say how much they hate it, but most critics aren't in the age group at which this film is aimed. It’s like giving a teenager a rattle and then expecting them to enjoy it as much as a baby would. “The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones” does have its faults – the major one being the fact that the writers behind it have ‘borrowed’ things from films as widespread from “Star Wars” to the “Harry Potter” franchise. That aside though, the universe that novelist Cassandra Clare has created is imaginative and fans of true fantasy will find it intriguing and not cluttered and confused as some have called it.

The film centres around Clary Fray (Lily Collins) who finds her life is changing when she begins to see the same symbol over and over again. Then things really take a turn for the worst when while on a night out with her friend, Simon Lewis (Robert Sheehan) she witnesses a murder that nobody else seems to see. The night then gets even weirder when her mother, Jocelyn (Lena Headey), disappears and Clary soon learns that she was hiding a big secret – a secret that covers up a world in which a mysterious group of people known as the Shadowhunters, made up of people like Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower), Alec (Kevin Zegers) and Isabelle (Jemima West), who battle evil daily.

It’s obvious that with “The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones” Hollywood are searching for the new franchise to take over from “Harry Potter” and “Twilight” and they may well be on a winner with this one. Clary is a likable character, someone would say a lot more interesting than Bella Swan, and director, Harald Zwart mixes enough action sequences with drama and romance to keep fans of both sexes interested. In fact in a lot of ways this film is a little more violent than many sci-fi/fantasies that are aimed for teenagers.

The film does go into some deep mythology that fantasy lovers will really enjoy, but sadly Zwart allows a lot of the good parts of the script to be overlooked because of some of his lazy ways of trying to get laughs. One character is dressed in short shorts and the fact that is massive epic finale just doesn’t do justice to some of the other scenes during the film. Just like “The Hunger Games” fans of the series should really be hoping that Zwart will be replaced for the second film in the series.

One thing that does generally work in this film is the acting. Lily Collins really steps up from her recent dismal performance in “Mirror, Mirror” and shows that she can be a strong actress when she needs to. She is also well supported by Jamie Campbell Bower whose looks lend him perfectly to being a ‘goth’ hero rather than your typical ‘pretty boy’. Surprisingly the actor who lets the side down is Jonathan Rhys Meyers who is sadly let down by some really clichéd characterization, something that CCH Pounder has the ability to overcome during her limited screen time.

While “The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones” is far from a great film, it does enough to suggest that this franchise could remain interesting if a new director is put at the helm the next time around.