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The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones(2013)
When her mom is attacked and taken from their home in New York City by a demon, a seemingly ordinary teenage girl, Clary Fray, finds out truths about her past and bloodline on her quest to get her back, that changes her entire life.
For more about The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones and the The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Blu-ray release, see the The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on December 3, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Robert Sheehan, Lena Headey, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Jared Harris
Director: Harald Zwart
» See full cast & crew
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Blu-ray Review
Like hot coals to the eyes and burning prods to the ears.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, December 3, 2013
Bach is to demons what garlic is to vampires.
So, according to The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, good old Johan Sebastian was a demon hunter, huh? Who knew? Hey, if Jesus and Honest Abe were vampire hunters, then anything's possible, and it all makes sense in the cosmic wasteland of the cinema absurd because, there, anything can fit any analogy. On that note, then, it's right to say that The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is to quality cinema like Chicken McNuggets are to aliens (it's no more crazy than Bach and demons) or Kryptonite is to Superman. In other words, it ain't good. Indeed, this movie is more like a Silver Bullet to a werwolf and less like spinach to Popeye. The film, based on the novel by Cassandra Clare, wants to replicate the success of something else and forgets to just be itself. Here's another book translated to the screen with aspirations of becoming the next big Tween sensation to shine in the afterglow of Twilight's mega-dollars success, the other big one being Beautiful Creatures (by the way, take a gander down the Teen isle at the bookstore and notice how just about every book has a black cover with glittery accents and flowery letters; it's really quite something to see). The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones fares significantly worse than any of the movies based on Stephenie Meyer's runaway bestsellers. Take everything most movie watchers hated about those films, make them all worse, and add in the "ripoff/cash-in" angle and behold this movie in all its anti-glory.
Clary Fray (Lilly Collins) lives a rather normal city life with her artist mother (Lena Headey). However, she begins seeing a strange symbol in everything from her coffee foam to her mindless doodles. One evening, she and her friend Simon (Robert Sheehan) witness what appears to be a murder at a night club and only later discover the act was a demon slaying by one of the foremost "Shadowhunters," or "demon hunters," named Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower). Unlike other "mundanes," or "humans," Clare can see Jace, hence her bearing witness to the killing. It's apparent to her that Jace and the runic symbol she's been seeing are related. After learning that her mother has been abducted (by men who look like they've just walked off the set of a Mad Max movie), Clary returns home to be attacked by a demonic dog (that looks like it's just zipped from the Resident Evil hard drive to the City of Bones hard drive). Jace rescues her and convinces her to return with him to "The Institute" and learn of her fate and her family's connection to the missing "Mortal Cup," one of the "Mortal Instruments" that aid in man's fight against demons.
Aside from some demons and a watery blue portal that looks like a shrunken-down Stargate, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones does feel an awful lot like Twilight. There are some vampires and werewolves, but more than that there's a cross-series appearance by Jamie Campbell Bower and plenty of other mysterious, bright-eyed, clear-skinned, mostly pale, and largely inhuman creatures wandering about. There's also the innocent teenage girl who gets mixed up with them. Certainly, Instruments' Clary isn't any regular girl like Twilight's Bella -- there's more to her than she's been led to believe -- but the similar story lines of "girl thrust into circumstances beyond her comprehension," "girl battling inhuman enemies alongside equally inhuman allies," and "girl caught in the obligatory second-rate romantic triangle" are all keystones to the plot. Aside from all of that, however, the story goes all over the place and it's not particularly fun to try and follow. Cut-rate characters aside, there's little honest drama explored and certainly no novel drama to enjoy. There's plenty of action but action movie fans have seen before. The romance is predictably bland, aimed at tantalizing its core audience with magical whimsey and Twilight-inspired teenage fantasy rather than something based in even a hint of reality. All of the other details are best left explored in the book or even the Blu-ray supplements which do a much better job of fleshing out characters, origins, and allegiances in just a few minutes (or with a few remote clicks) than does the movie in its two-hour-plus runtime.
The end result is a movie that's overstuffed with meandering devices and an excess of character and plot expository scenes that don't always serve to advance the movie at a good pace. It borders on the directionless, at times, as it attempts to stuff in everything Twilight fans enjoyed in that series and that, probably, the studio thinks will draw in the target demographic. It fails to find the same level of quality acting that helped make Twilight a better series than it's given credit for being, and the story certainly isn't particularly noteworthy for any sort of novelty beyond the way it arranges its overused pieces. Certainly, that absence of real novelty also plagues Twilight, but what's missing here that that series enjoyed is a spark of magic, a real sense of care and concern for the characters, and more believable interaction amongst them. Here, everything feels like it's just an ingredient in a formula meant to recreate something rather than strike out for an original flavor. The film earns a few laughs (notably with a solid Ghostbusters reference) and toys with a couple of decent ideas that are ultimately buried under an avalanche of familiar fluff that only drags the movie down rather than lift it to the levels genre fans enjoyed with the Twilight series.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones features a solid, but not particularly noteworthy, high definition presentation. Sony's latest mostly hits spot-on, usually showcasing balanced colors and sturdy details, especially in its brightest scenes. There, viewers will encounter film-perfect definition across face and clothes, not to mention more textured background surfaces and objects. Colors also look magnificent, from bright blue eyes to brilliant red hair. It's in the film's darker scenes that the image suffers. Blacks often look pale and washed down. Colors, too, suffer from a faded appearance and details come up rather flat. Overall, however, the transfer proves enjoyable and crisply defined, showcasing very light grain and suffering through no appearances of edge halos, blockiness, jagged lines, or other imperfections. It's sometimes not a very attractive movie, but the transfer certainly does a decent enough job of bringing it into the home.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones arrives on Blu-ray with a balanced, but not perfect, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack Generally, it does everything well bout nothing spectacularly. Music is nicely spaced, full, and smooth, but it lacks that precision and seamlessness of the finest tracks. Heavy club beats generally come up short of aggressive perfection but the track delivers score with a more even hand. This lossless presentation features a variety of ambient effects, nicely immersing listeners in everything from driving rain to clattering action. The bigger action scenes offer suitably robust, but not fully dynamic, elements. The surround channels carry a fair bit of information throughout the spectrum, and bass is generally evenly produced and never too little or too much. Dialogue plays crisply, consistently, and efficiently from the center. All around, a solid but not particularly memorable soundtrack from Sony.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones contains a handful of short featurettes, an interactive character map, deleted scenes, and a music video.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
If fans really hated Twilight, they'll despise The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. The difference here is that there probably won't be cultural over-saturation with this series, just scattered chuckles at its attempt to recreate a different series. The source material seems decent enough, if not a bit mundane and forced, but the filmed adaptation certainly leaves much to be desired. It's not Twilight, but it desperately wants to be. There's nothing new here, just the same tired sort of characters, drama, action, and romance that's lately been done to death both on the page and on the screen. Sony's Blu-ray release of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones features satisfactory video and audio. A light assortment of extras complete the package. Skip it.
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The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Blu-ray, News and Updates
• The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Blu-ray - October 14, 2013
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has officially announced that it will release a combo pack edition of Harald Zwart's The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013), starring Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, and Robert Sheehan. The release will be available for ...
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