The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Review

Film Title

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Synopsis

Twilight vs. Harry Potter vs. Sharknado

Director

Harald Zwart

Cast

Lily Collins, daughter of Phil Fucking Collins (!)
Lena Headey (aka Madeline Madrigal from Dredd)
Jonathan Rhys-Meyers
That's about it.

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Here it is, folks: the Marvel vs. Capcom of lame young adult fantasy fiction. Angels, demons, vampires, werewolves, warlocks, muggles “mundanes”, tarot cards, a love triangle, a repressed gay guy in love with one of the guys in the triangle, a main character who can’t remember that she’s the most powerful “shadow hunter” of all time, a pretentious reference to Bach, and God knows what else, all set to the most embarrassingly inoffensive alt-rock soundtrack imaginable. This movie is the Low Orbit Ion Cannon of lameness, and you’re about to get blown to Hell. It’s just white people everywhere.

More than that, though, this is a film that asks the important questions. Now, the Internet hive mind tends to be fixated on other questions, like whether or not Katy Perry is racist, or whether or not Lady GaGa has a penis, or whether or not six million really died. Finally, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones stands up, cuts through these distractions, and asks: Is it wrong to want to fuck your sister?

Now, the two characters in question may not actually be siblings, as they are informed of this alleged connection by the final boss Valentine, and the last scene of the film does feature a bit where the brother claims that it doesn’t feel true “in his heart”. In addition, their fearless leader states that this allegation is a lie prior to Valentine informing the brother of the connection. My point is not that the allegation is false, but that the “brother” is ready and willing to keep the relationship going after learning of it. At least Luke Skywalker had the good sense to just pretend it never happened.

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I’m not sure what the deal is with movies like this. I mean, I get that the movie assumes that I’m a 13 year old girl whose heart goes all aflutter at the sight of a hot guy taking his shirt off, but I don’t understand why that also means that I’m not going to be well-versed in the original Star Wars trilogy. Are these two categories really mutually exclusive? I’m just shocked at this revelation.

The point I’m driving at here is that we have not one, but two separate re-enactments of the “I am your father” scene in this movie. No, seriously. Is this movie supposed to be a comedy? Because these two scenes are easily the funniest scenes I’ve seen all year. I know it’s only been a week or so, but still. They’re even funnier than the bit in this movie where it is alleged that J. S. Bach was a “shadow hunter”, complete with hidden tattoos shown in close-up on a painting of him. You know you’re in trouble when your theories lack the scholarly rigor of The Da Vinci Code. Anyway, my favorite part was when Valentine tells our protagonist, “You’re my daughter. My blood runs in your veins.” What about her arteries, chief? Really, this is an oversight more egregious than forgetting Poland. Who writes this stuff?

Well, I have an answer, America. Behold the face of the woman responsible for the entire The Mortal Instruments phenomenon, which I believe to us is a phenomenon only as opposed to being a noumenon:

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Now, I suppose since she has written a total of eight published books in the series since 2007, with a ninth on the way, they must be at least somewhat better written than this film. This is definitely a movie that feels like giant portions of both the main story and the backstory are cut out due to time constraints and/or incompetence. But if there was ever a case of an author completely understanding her audience, it’s this. Hers is the face of millions of LiveJournal accounts that, unlike the poor people of Alderaan, did not cry out in terror before being suddenly silenced. No, they cranked up My Chemical Romance and started vomitting up walloftext fanfic at a rate unmatched by even Equestria’s brothers-in-arms. It’s rather amusing, though, that the author writes under the pen name of “Cassandra Clare” and names the protagonist of her series “Clary”. Given the size difference between her and Lily Collins, I think femto-Clare might be better.

Anyway, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (what a title!) is a fascinating journey through the world of the “shadow hunters”. Apparently, “The Angel Razael” came down from the heavens during the Crusades and let some people drink his blood. Their descendants have been shadow hunters ever since, half-human and half-angel, blessed with superhuman abilities and tattoos, and charged with tracking down demons throughout the human world. It is admitted during the film that this is a war that must always be fought, but can never be won. Yes, the War on Terror has now seeped into young adult fantasy fiction. Don’t worry, though: Voldemort’s obsession with WWII-era eugenics is also ripped off, and at one point Clary tells the bad guy Valentine that “When people start talking about preserving race, it never goes well.” I don’t know about that. What if some guy is trying to sleep with a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, large-breasted, thin-waisted neo-Nazi girl? I think it might go ok for the guy, at least.

So, the plot of this movie revolves around Clary’s mother being kidnapped and put into some type of magical involuntary sleeping state. Clary teams up with the hot shadow hunter Jace, ignoring her long-suffering “friend who happens to be a boy” Simon. Jace is invisible to “mundanes”, or humans without the special shadow hunter blood in their veins (and arteries). However, Jace becomes visible to Simon early on with no real explanation. At some point during the movie, Clary forgets about her mom and focuses on obtaining the magical cup given to the original shadow hunters by The Angel Razael during the Crusades. This cup is referred to as “one of the Mortal Instruments”, threatening a sequel to this film. May God have mercy on our souls.

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The last third of this movie is just one ill-conceived plot twist after another, apparently trying to set the stage for the next installment(s). However, according to the studio behind this movie, the sequel is now on hold indefinitely as they attempt to “reposition the film in the current marketplace.” Translation: this movie is so lame that even its creators want nothing to do with it. I don’t know, guys. I’m not sure this movie was that bad. I mean, it’s not Manborg-level awesome, but it’s not like it was The Internship or anything. And yes, I’m still reeling from that one.

Besides, what about all of the fans of The Mortal Instruments who won’t get to see the other books adapted for the screen? I know what you’re going to say: what fans? Well, I haven’t seen any either, but maybe they’re just invisible to “mundanes” like us. Anyway, if they exist, I’m not sure they have the maturity to just take what they have been given, like all the Frank Herbert fans have with David Lynch’s Dune. As is often said on the Internet, we have to take it, but I’m not sure that fans of The Mortal Instruments are willing to. Besides, what about all of the people who bought items from The Mortal Instruments clothing line at Hot Topic? No, seriously:

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Years ago on Ruthless Reviews, the release of some shitty movie Year One was summarized as, “The Hollywood Shit-Cannon Backfires.” Well, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is the sequel to that summation, even if, in one of life’s grand ironies, it will never have a sequel itself. Yes, this movie is The Hollywood Shit-Cannon Backfires, Part 2 (hundred thousand). All the corporate synergy in the world can’t save you when the film itself underperforms and drags all the merchandising tie-ins down with it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: they should have just made a Digimon movie. At least that would have been more honest. (Disclaimer: I’ve never said that before, and I probably won’t say it again).

But no review of this movie would be complete without at least a cursory glance at the realm of The Mortal Instruments fan fiction. Why am I doing this? Well, the sad truth is that I noticed that none of the other reviews on the Internet seemed to cover this topic. God, you people fucking suck. So, I guess it is up to me to spend an hour or three reading this stuff so that I may present a fair and balanced analysis of this phenomenon. Thanks to the Internet, my knowledge of such things can go from “Zero” to “Kill Me Now” in a satoshi-second. So let’s just take a look at some random selections from the above link, because yes, folks, it is once again coming to this. It’s always coming to this. I have been asymptotically approaching this for my entire life. And this is it. And it is this:

Top Ten Excerpts From The Mortal Instruments Fan Fiction (In No Particular Order)

10) One Day Training, by “SpaztheMagicBeanstalk”: “I slid my hands back into his hair and moaned softly into his mouth when his hands slid down my back. He moved his head and kissed his way down my neck, sucking lightly as he got near my collarbone. I felt his hands slide around the waistband off my jeans. My hands slid across his chest as I felt him unbutton my jeans. Our mouths connected again as he dragged us up so we were standing and leaning against the door. I took that opportunity to grab a stele from the shelf next to me and carve a locking rune as well as a silencing rune onto the door t [sic] keep us from being interrupted.”

Do you really need a magic spell to keep someone from opening a door? Have you ever heard of the incredible “mundane” invention called a lock? You know, the thing that the locking spell’s named after? (By the way, this one is from the “Best Of” link at the top of the page. True story.)

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9) The Everlasting Flame, by “Dreamer101 ex oh ex”: “‘At a girls?’ Maryse asked, but before I could answer she carried on with her wrath. ‘I’ve told you time and time again, do not to sell yourself out like this and sleep around with any girl!’ Standing up, I slammed my chair into the table, annoyed at her outburst. ‘And I’ve told you time after time, that I have not been sleeping around,’ I growled, tightening my grip on my chair. Before I could let my mouth flow with more words, Robert spoke up. ‘Maryse, didn’t we agree that you’d talk to Isabelle about boy issues and I will talk to the boys about girl issues?'”

Lots of spatial-temporal confusion there. Lots of chairs getting slammed into tables and having grips tightening on them. Lots of mouths flowing with words. George is getting upset! (This one is apparently 52,000 words long. I didn’t read it all, I’m afraid).

8) My Angel, by “claryxjace”: “The big black chair turned around and what he expected to see was an old fat lady, he saw a young girl. Not just any young girl, but the ginger that went to his school. Clary.”

I’m just citing this one because of the phrase “big black” followed by a word that starts with a “c”. Now that would be some fan fiction! How do I make an account, guys? Oh wait, I can just write it here:

“A gentleman who happened to be of African-American descent inserted his big black cock into Clary’s vagina. The End.”

20 words, A+, would read again. (I was talking about an oversized rooster with black feathers, by the way. You know, a Lorule Cucco. Get your mind out of the gutter.)

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7) Forget, by “Undeniably Yours x”: “She wanted to let go of her revulsion towards dating her own brother. It was like a bad movie, some sick cosmic joke, to fall in love and be told that you were related to the only person that made you feel whole. It made her want to burst into tears. She wished she could forget, she wanted to forget, but she couldn’t…Jace needed her to forget, he needed it like he needed air to breath.”

This is a “song-fic” set to the song “Iris” by The Goo Goo Dolls. This isn’t a dream. This is really happening.

6) Don’t Cry, by “Livybug”: “Jace and his team were granted a night out before they were to be flown to Afghanistan on their first tour of duty. They wound up at some bar sucking down beer like they would never have the opportunity again but since Jace was team leader his natural instinct was to make sure he was sober enough to keep them out of trouble. Half naked girls dance on poles around them but it wasn’t a strip club. The music blared and women flocked to them like they had never seen men in army greens. BULLSHIT! He didn’t know how long he had been there and he was growing tired of the ugly women throwing themselves at him.”

88,000 words on Afghanistan, The Mortal Instruments, and God knows what else. This is also called “using the Internet properly“. Al Gore smiles upon thee. Vaya con dios, amigo.

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5) Fire, by “Alaylia”: “I couldn’t do it. It wasn’t what she wanted, and therefore, wasn’t a risk I was willing to take anymore. I sighed closing my eyes and began to turn my head away from her, I needed to breathe, to clear my head of her. She stopped me with her warm palm on my cheek. I reopened my eyes and met determination and fire…her eyes burned with both. She kept them trained on mine as she leaned in stopping a millimeter before contact. Her lips parted and she exhaled the breath that she’d been holding in, so sweet in my mouth. A challenge? I accepted.”

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

Oh God, why am I doing this? What have I done? I can’t even

Would this be a good time to mention that I actually kind of liked The Host? I mean, it wasn’t the worst take on The Invasion of the Body Snatchers I’ve ever seen. There was a somewhat interesting dynamic in having the two girls trapped in the same body. Oh God, help me.

But yeah, none of this is funny. No one is laughing. I’m not any better than any of this. But I can’t stop. I’ve waded too far into this river of blood. Can’t you see? I’m the same. I’ve always been… the same.

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4) The Nine Consequences of One Night and a Door, by “ddpjclaf”: “Her father turned, and his eyes widened. ‘Where in the hell do you think you’re going dressed like that, Clarissa?’ Clary glanced down at her attire. Aside from the calf-high black stripper boots, she wore a tight black skirt that barely covered her panties, a snug, white tummy shirt which showed her belly button ring, and a bright green button up shirt, left undone and tied and the waist. ‘Out with Isabelle. And what’s wrong with what I’m wearing?’ she asked, as if she couldn’t guess, but her father’s reaction was one reason she dressed like this. Getting a rise out of him and letting him know he wasn’t the only one who existed in this house was part of her daily routine. Shower, dress, hair, makeup, breakfast, school, TV, piss dad off, sleep. All in a day’s work. ‘Nothing. If you were a two-bit whore instead of a fifteen-year-old girl. Go change.’ Her father turned and went back to his intensive brooding. ‘I’m almost sixteen,’ she retorted. Her father ignored her and continued grumbling to himself.”

(Almost) Sixteen! Checkmate, motherfucker.

3) Begging for Mercy, by “LostGetFound”: “‘Don’t move.’ Isabelle ordered me. ‘I’ll be back in a minute.’ Then she rushed out the door and down the hall. She came back not a minute later with a bag in hand. ‘Okay, close your eyes,’ She commanded excitedly. I complied. I heard rustling noises and I could only assume she had found the outfit we were looking for. ‘Now open them!’ I opened my eyes to see a dress that rivaled dresses worn by models.”

She came back not a minute later, or in other words, she was not gone for a time exceeding 60 seconds. But what about coming back before the minute was up? Was she accurate to the second or not? The Law of Trichotomy exists for a reason. There are rules. Am I the only one who gives a shit about the rules?

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2) To Make You Love Me, by “dayuuuumgirl”: “Three months. His body had screamed for her. Instead, he got prostitutes, or ‘stress relievers’ as they called themselves. The Asian girl, Aline. The brunette with those long, sexy legs – Isabelle. The blond Kaelie. And a whole lot of other women he couldn’t keep track of. They’d been good. They’d satisfied his wanting. But they never satisfied his mind. Every time they’d be in bed, he’d be thinking about his girl. He’d be imagining those luminous, glowing eyes. When the other girls stared up at him with the obvious hunger, he’d remember how she’d used to stare up at him in bed. He knew he’d never see them that way again.”

So, the Asian-American girl can’t be referred to as being “black-haired”. No, she is the only one of the three to have her race identified. RACIST.

1) Unexpected, by “KissingFire”: “‘NO!’ Clary threw herself at him, tripping and falling facefirst on his lap. ‘No go,’ she insisted, scrambling to sit so that she curled on his lap like a kitten. ‘Stay,’ she ordered, along with more babbling Jonathon couldn’t understand… Jonathon-Jace rolled his eyes, but stood up, picking her up with him. Clary’s legs wrapped themselves securely around his waist, her head resting against his chest, murmuring ‘No go’, over and over, as her eyes slid shut. Jace once again felt anger, at Amatis’s account. It was obvious to him that Clary had not been given a nap.”

To clarify: At this point in this story (i.e. the first fucking page), Clary is apparently a toddler. That’s right, everyone: we’ve made it. We’ve reached bottom. A toddler has fallen face first into a grown man’s lap.

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I’ll see you all in Hell.

About Vandel

I am an insect who dreamt he was a man, and loved it. But now the dream is over, and the insect is awake.