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'Mortal Instruments...' doesn't live up to books

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POSTED: September 13, 2013 10:25 a.m.
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Jamie Campbell Bower and Lily Collins play "shadowhunters," protecting humans from all kinds of evil in "Mortal Instruments: City of Bones."

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September has proven to be a pretty poor month for movies.
What should have been a taught action flick, “Getaway,” starring Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez, instead totally tanked at the box office since being released in late August. With competition scarce, the drama “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” the comedy “We’re the Millers” and the sci-fi treat “Elysium” — all released in early to mid-August — still are selling tickets.
And “Riddick,” which has received mostly average reviews, topped last weekend’s charts. That reminds me of the quote, “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.”
So how did the recently released paranormal teen romance “Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” fare?
In “The Mortal Instruments,” an enormously popular, best-selling series of books by author Cassandra Clare, normal girl Clary discovers she’s part of a supernatural race called shadowhunters, who are clandestine warriors who battle against demons while maintaining a peace treaty with mages, vampires and werewolves. The series is funnier, scarier and a little more grown-up than “Twilight,” with a more sophisticated mythology. You’ll still find extraordinary creatures hiding in plain sight and a bit of a love triangle, though.
Unlike “Twilight,” “City of Bones” fits better in the genre known as urban fantasy. Also unlike “Twilight,” however, it seems like the rabid fans of the books did not become rabid fans of the film. In fact, instead of launching a franchise, which should have come complete with at least two more films, “City of Bones” pretty much tanked.
The movie has grossed about $28 million since being released Aug. 21, according to boxofficemojo.com. In comparison, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” which was released Aug. 16, has grossed about $92 million.
I can’t pinpoint exactly what went wrong. I found a lot of the mythology to be genuinely interesting and the picture is fast-paced.
Leading man Jamie Campbell Bower can act, but visually speaking, he’s no Charlie Hunnam or, say, Chris Hemsworth. Lily Collins is all right and aided by familiar faces Lena Heady and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Robert Sheehan portrays her best friend and was kind of cute.
I don’t think outsiders related to the material and diehard fans of the books were troubled by poor adaptation techniques. The result was kind of a flop.
I can’t recommend the film and I just can’t say that I was a fan.
If you like the genre, however, give it a try when it comes to home video.

 

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