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The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones: Blu Ray Review

Rating: M
Released by Roadshow Home Entertainment

This latest young adult novel is the first of a six book series from author Cassandra Clare and was published back in 2007.

City of Bones focuses on Lily Collins' Clary, who has her New York world thrown upside down on her birthday. Not only does her mother disappear but she finds out she is a descendant of a line of Shadowhunters, a secret group who are locked in an eternal battle against demons for the protection of our world.

Clary is forced to join forces with these Shadow Hunters to try and track down her mother and an object of power known as the Mortal Cup - but that places her and her long time friend Simon (Misfits' star Robert Sheehan) in peril by putting them into a world of runes, vampires, werewolves, warlocks, angels and demons - and in the midst of a war, described portentously by one character as "A war that can never be won but always must be fought..."

But it also puts Clary in a position of discovering herself and a new potential love in the form of Jamie Campbell Bower's Jace, a hooded, blonde tousled fighter for the cause.

So, once again the teen / YA / supernatural genre gets another entrant, and once again, all the teen cliches and tropes, poor dialogue, brooding, love triangle and dodgy acting are present.

I'm not 100% sure that it's the fault of the film that's launching The Mortal Instruments series,particularly if they are following the source material, but the generally cliched tone will mean that it won't appeal to all audiences. At times, it feels like a generic piece, with a lot of familiar elements in place from thousands of films you've seen before. References to Ghostbusters, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, an homage to the Exorcist, a Star Wars feel, a kiss in manufactured rain in a greenhouse between Clary and Jace (hello, Nicholas Sparks) and other moments et al - there are plenty of nods to others of its ilk and the end result is that The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones feels like a patchwork quilt of supernatural fantasy elements of the genre and doesn't really have a full identity of its own to stand on its own two feet.

Plot threads are left dangling as well, with two major ones not resolved - though, this, I'm guessing, is intended to ensure future films are made (and is, in my understanding, in keeping with the books) but means it's a frustrating touch for the casual viewer.

In terms of the acting; Collins is okay as the lead - she does the doe-eyed girl in love well, but never quite convinces as the action heroine (though, she's a step up from a few others within her genre); Campbell Bower is a little too wooden and emotionless to feel any real chemistry between him and Collins; Sheehan impresses with some comic relief (though, to be frank, he's playing a lower level version of his Misfits character Nathan) but he's sidelined towards the end.

All in all, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones movie may well appeal to those teen audiences looking for a new YA fix now that Twilight has departed - but for the rest of the audience, there will be a general rolling of the eyes and a feeling that everything here's been done before. And in some cases, in a better film.

Extras: Behind the scenes pieces, music videos

Rating: 4/10