The Mortal Instruments review

Director:
Harald Zwart
Cast:
Lily Collins
Jamie Campbell Bower
Kevin Zegers
Robert Sheehan
Rated: PG-13

One might notice similarities with other movies and books when viewing “The Mortal Instruments” as it tends to rip off more than a few things.

The film follows Clary (Collins), a teen who lives in New York City with her mother. One day, while hanging out with her friend Simon (Sheehan), she witnesses a murder, however, the being that was killed was actually a demon.

The murderer turns out to be a man named Jace (Bower) who hunts demons. It turns out that Clary has the same abilities as Jace does allowing her to hunt demons too. Upon learning this, Clary’s mother is kidnapped and she now has to rely on Jace and his team to track down the culprit and discover who she really is.

“The Mortal Instruments” is a mess, from its story, to the plot and the run time. The movie starts off way too fast, barely getting a chance to get to know these characters, especially Clary, the main character. Then the second act has the whole thing come to a screeching halt as the movie gets into a love quadrangle. Following this is a third act containing a terrible climax.

The story is full of cliches and plot twists that are laughable, what’s worse is that it just seems to go in circles for a while too. After a while the film becomes exhausting and things become less and less engaging as time goes on. By the time it crosses the two hour mark, one starts to beg for it to be over.

Lily Collins as the main character Clary does seem to try, putting more emotion into the performance than say Kristen Stewart from the “Twilight” series, then again, a cinder block can probably show more emotion than Stewart. The real issue is that the writing is just plain bad, and it shows with all of the characters. For example, Clary doesn’t really have all that much of an interesting character arc of coming into her own.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who I’ve liked before in previous films like “From Paris with Love” and “Mission Impossible III,” plays the villain and the role is just weak. He’s the main villain of the movie and he doesn’t even get a full introduction until the third act, and after that there are plot twists thrown in that make his whole appearance ridiculous.

Robert Sheehan as Simon plays a simplistic comic relief character for most of the movie. There is a point where you think his character might take a step up but it never really happens. With the character Jace, Jamie Campbell Bower just seems to sort of brood around for a while, once again, the dialogue just isn’t that good.

Towards the beginning, there were a couple nice monster effects, however, by the end it just wasn’t that impressive. The fight choreography was nothing special either, the final battle being entirely lackluster.

The latest young adult novel adaptation is just like any other, in fact, it’s exactly like any other because many of the things that goes on feels borrowed from other series. It never feels like it has its own identity, the movie has no heart and the main character’s story never feels really engaging. Overall, the movie feels like a chore to watch. 1 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, and I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2009 graduate of Rainy River College and a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University in Moorhead. At MSU, I studied journalism and film. Outside of movies, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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