“The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones,” is a young adult action adventure that feels like a K-Tel version of some of the most popular movies of the last few years. The movie, based on the popular books by Cassandra Clare, Frankensteins the best of “Harry Potter”—Dumbledore’s son, Jared Harris, even makes an appearance—and “Twilight.” The only things missing are Harry’s cloak of invisibility and Bella’s ennui.
When typical teen Clary Fray (Lily Collins) witnesses a murder at a club called the Pan Demon Inn she is catapulted into a strange world where half human, half angel assassins called Shadowhunters stalk and kill demons. Meanwhile at home her mother Jocelyn (Lena Headey) has been attacked and abducted by deputies of Valentine (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), the power hungry demon slayer who believes she knows the location of the shadowhunters’ Holy Grail, the Mortal Cup.
Clary soon learns the man she saw murdered at the club was a demon, slain by wise cracking shadowhunter Jace (Jamie Campbell “cheekbones” Bower), and that she isn’t a “mundane,” (or, if you’re a Potterhead, a muggle), but a powerful shadowhunter who must not only rescue her mother but also keep the Mortal Cup from falling into the wrong hands.
“City of Bones,” the first in a proposed series, pinches the supernatural love triangle and benevolent werewolf characters from the “Twilight” series, the Hogwartian Shadowhunter Institute and much of the mythology from “Harry Potter,” but, despite the overall sense of déjà vu, it also provides a number of PG thrills and chills between the mushy scenes.
While it doesn’t have the immediate appeal of its sires, with its developed mythology–bring a notebook, there’s loads of new lingo–and sequel-ready ending, it looks to have to legs. Favoring the gothic over the gushy, its hard to know if it will strike the same chord as “Twilight,” but like a Hammer film for kids, it may have more appeal to boys than Stephenie Meyer’s supernatural romances.
“The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” feels derivative, but like a K-Tel record it strings familiar elements together in an entertaining way.