The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (The Movie) A Not-Review

Howdy, fellow bloggers.

I’ve been spending increasing amounts of time offline alone and with my family, to make up for lost time while I was overseas. Life has gotten a lot busier for my friends, so I’ve been pretty much confined at home, cooking inedible dishes, catching up on my reading and pretty much brooding all day long… until my littlest sister announced out of the blue that my dad had won a pair of tickets to the premiere of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. And then the next day, she won a pair of tickets herself.

So papa brought his girls to the movies.

This was my first ever movie premiere, so I got really excited about it… right about 30 minutes before we were scheduled to leave the house. I hadn’t given it much thought, you see. My siblings had just insulted my honey and black pepper chicken wraps I made for lunch earlier and I was moping about the house, thinking about how I was going to kill my loved ones with my cooking. The other thing was, I hadn’t thought of reading the books in this series, so I was decidedly a layman going to a book adaptation movie screening. My littlest sister, on the other hand, borrowed the book from her school library just yesterday and was rushing to finish it in my dad’s car, just so she could have “read the book before watching the movie”.

The main reason I was hyped up about this was the fact that we had FREE tickets. Great, I just revealed my cheap self to the Internet. Fast forward an hour or so, I was enjoying the movie (and the FREE sweet popcorn).

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

And thus begins my ramblings about the movie.

I was very skeptical of City of Bones to start with. I’d had enough of vampires and fallen angels and their supernatural buddies. When my sister hopped around raving about this new movie based off a book about shadowhunters (half-human, half-angel beings), demons and warlocks, I waved it off without consideration. Out of curiosity after we won the tickets, I did my research and found out that this series is a rip-off off Harry Potter, one of my favourite book series, I lowered my expectations further. Cue my sister reading out spoilers from her book in the car, “It’s totally a Harry Potter rip-off! There are flying bicycles and a button to make them invisible whatthehell.” Okay sis, you were the one who entered the contest.

Here’s a short non-spoilery summary of the movie:

Clary is a normal teenage girl with a guy best friend called Simon. Simon is also a geek. Clary’s mom, Jocelyn aka Cersei Lannister, is an artist selling paintings for a living. Clary not so coincidentally inherits her mom’s artistic talent. Clary’s mom’s boyfriend is called Luke. One fine day, Clary is on the phone with Simon and starts drawing a weird symbol all over the place without realising what she was doing. Things start to get real then. Skipping all the details, Cersei got kidnapped while Clary, with the help of new-found friend, Jace, find out what she’s really made of. Clary gets introduced to the world of shadowhunters and meets Jace’s buddies. An instrument called the Mortal Cup comes into the picture and main baddie, Valentine has been waiting for years to get his hands on it. Together, the teenagers embark on a journey to save the bitch queen of Westeros, or Clary’s beloved mother and retrieve the VIC (very important Cup).

Strangely enough, with all the teen movie cliches and Harry Potter rip-offs, City of Bones actually worked for me (which is why I’m staying up late to talk about it). I liked the fact that Simon got to follow Clary around in her quest instead of being pushed aside because he was a Mundane (the Muggle equivalent in Harry Potter). He was a much-needed comic relief from all the seriousness and danger the young shadowhunters have to go through. His initial bewilderment was amusing to watch and he does get a lot of the action towards the later part of the movie too. This is definitely a departure from other teen flicks where the heroine either doesn’t have any before-supernatural friends (uhm… vampires, anyone?) or ditches them for the greater good.

Some scenes also got the whole theatre roaring with laughter, my dad included, so that says a lot.

Overall, if you’re a fantasy nut like me, there are enough otherworldly elements to keep you sane throughout the movie. And there’s not one angel in the show, surprisingly (though vampires do make an appearance). If you’re not, the characters battle real-world problems like dilemmas, jealousy, mental issues, loss and pain. Each character, good, bad or in between faces their own inner demons and that can be very interesting to watch. It’s more of a feel-good movie than anything else.

It also cemented my identity as a show-before-books person. I figured I liked suspense, shocks and surprises. Those twists could get my heart pumping for hours after and keep me thinking night after night. After being familiarised with the characters, setting and general knowledge about the film, I’ll delve into the books to dig up more details and backstories to broaden and deepen my perspective of the story. This seems to work for me more than reading first and knowing everything then working through the differences between print and screen and making small changes to the film reel in my head after seeing the movie.

Materials needed for City of Bones: Your eyes, movie tickets, sweet popcorn (optional), soft drinks (optional), an open mind, your funny bone.

There, here is my not-review for The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. I hope it helps you decide whether you’re going to spend $10 on a movie ticket this weekend.

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