The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Robert Sheehan. Directed by Harald Zwart. Rated PG-13. Now playing.
It seems likely that The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones will join Eragon, Beautiful Creatures and The Spiderwick Chronicles in the ranks of failed attempts to capture some of the Harry Potter/Twilight/Hunger Games zeitgeist. Like those other movies, Instruments is based on a bestselling fantasy book series, but it doesn’t have much of a distinct identity onscreen.
A mishmash of familiar genre elements (demons, vampires, werewolves, magic spells, a Chosen One), Instruments stars the likable Lily Collins as Brooklyn teenager Clary Fray, who discovers that she is part of a hidden magical world whose very existence is being threatened, etc. Also, there is a love triangle.
It’s all presented in a jumble of mediocre action, cheesy emotion and underwhelming special effects, with a plot that goes on for too long and ends without resolving anything. For a movie whose sole purpose is to set up a franchise, Instruments fails to create any level of anticipation for what’s to (possibly never) come.