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Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

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‘The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones’ delivers the action

09-03 Mortal Instruments_City of BonesDarkness has become a favorite theme of modern movies. The darker the better it seems. Demons, dragons, witches, werewolves, vampires and bats seem to be all the rage in today's movies. Whatever happened to happy movies with Munchkins and dancing flowers? Movies have darkened and so have the plots. No more colorful gardens of singing plants. What we have now are wild monsters jumping out from behind the scenery to scare the daylights out of you. And scared you get in director Harald Zwarts’ spectacular version of the hit book series The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.

Author Cassandra Clare (born Judith Rumelt in 1973 in Tehran to American parents) has written a series of adult- fantasy books that have sold in the millions. This is the first movie version of her books, and there promises to be more. That could be scarier than the books.

Beautiful little Clary is con- fused as to who she is and why she has powers nobody else has. Clary is played by new- comer Lily Collins, daughter of musician Phil Collins. So that none of her real-life friends at high school know she is in the movie, she wears two fuzzy black caterpillars above her eyes. She gives a close impersonation of Groucho Marx.

Really bad guys come in and kidnap Clary’s mother and wreck the place for good measure. They rip out walls, throw doors through windows, and turn over old-fashioned davenports. This shows us that her mother Jocelyn (played by the beautiful Lena Headley, who looks younger than her daughter) put up a good fight and probably has a Black Belt in the closet.

Interestingly set in modern day New York, the picture is much brighter and lighter than most “horror” pictures. Clary meets the dashingly hand- some blond hunk Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower). He explains she is a Shadowhunter, and a descendant of warriors who are here to protect the human race from demons. Voila! Clary is now special and can follow every word of Jace because he's hot and tall and can wear leather pants like nobody else and get away with it. Besides, he was in other hit movies such as Harry Potter and all those incessant Twilight sagas.

Jace shows Clary the way to the Downworld, populated by demons, vampires and warlocks, all of which she must learn to fight off without messing up her hair. Fights break out and demons are stabbed and mysteriously turn to dust. Clary is thrown around on her head, and bounces back with her Beyonce Knowles foundation that has nary a scratch. Somehow she has been transformed into a black leather-wearing Miley Cyrus clone, but she still looks fetching.

Clary relies on Simon (Robert Sheehan), her best friend forever. He's somewhat nerdy but transforms into a handsome curly-haired dude when he takes off his glasses (just like Superman!). He's hopelessly in love with Clary but she can't see him for cellophane. She opts for the dangerous bad boy, Jace. Being a loyal friend, Simon and Clary help each other when things get rough. However, in an interview with, Collins explained her romantic situation: “I didn't want Clary just to be a girl between two guys; I wanted her to propel the story forward, and not allow the romance to define her.”

British actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers, still in tip-top shape, comes in for a few flashy scenes as Valentine, the baddy. He chews up the scenery as only a classically trained stage actor can do. But we don't hate him even though he's evil. We marvel that he can be as flexible as he is while being squeezed like a grape press in those tight, but gorgeous, costumes.

Director Zwart keeps the action moving along and throws in some humor and plenty of scary scenes for those who love getting jolted out of their seats. It's a rather likeable film, filled with wonderful production values and imaginative costume designs. Leaving the credibility meter at home, the film is 130 minutes of shear entertainment. The cast is young, shows great potential and getting their feet wet taking on leading roles. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is a non-stressing, way to pass the time.

Reel Facts

Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Sony Pictures Releasing

Gazette Grade:

for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action, some suggestive content

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