Blu-ray Review: The Mortal Instruments City of Bones

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Blu-ray boxSTUDIO: Sony | DIRECTOR: Harald Zwart | CAST: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Kevin Zegers, Jemima West, Robert Sheehan, Kevin Durand, Lena Headey, Jonathan Rhys Meyers
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 12/3/2013 | PRICE: DVD $30.99, Blu-ray/DVD Combo $40.99
BONUSES: deleted scenes, featurettes, music video, interactive feature
SPECS: PG-13 | 130 min. | Fantasy | 2.40:1 aspect ratio | 5.1 DTS-HD audio | English, Spanish subtitles
RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

The Mortal Instruments: City of BonesBased on the best-selling young adult novel by Cassandra Clare, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones was panned by many critics when it was in theaters, but it’s a better movie than they would have you believe.

The story follows Clary (Lily Collins, Mirror Mirror), who has become obsessed with a strange symbol. When her mother disappears, she understands why: She’s the descendant of shadowhunters, who hunt and kill demons. Trying to save her mother, Clary discovers a new world in her own, makes new friends and battles the most dangerous shadowhunter of all.

The movie’s cast is filled with good-looking young actors (including Anonymous‘ Jamie Campbell Bower and the now a bit older Jonathan Rhys Meyers of Velvet Goldmine), and as such, I was expecting a Twilight type film. But The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones — the first in a series — is much more interesting and entertaining. It’s not a perfect movie — far from it — and there are some scenes that should have ended up on the cutting room room, but for the most part the action is good, the acting is fine and the story has enough intrigue to keep fantasy lovers interested.

The imagery looks great on the Blu-ray too. The movie’s visual effects are good, and the big love scene in the magical greenhouse is gorgeous in high-definition. The glowing flowers pop out from the screen and almost take away from the romance.

The Blu-ray also has some nice special features. The handfull of deleted scenes don’t add much — except for a funny line with Jamie Campbell Bower talking about how gorgeous he is — but the multiple featurettes are fun and offer some good behind-the-scenes info.

It’s obvious that director Harald Zwart (The Karate Kid) is respectful of the movie’s source material. Zwart and others talk about their love of the book, and novelist Cassandra Clare herself discusses her story and her enjoyment of seeing it all come to life.

Fans of the book will especially love the interactive Lineage Tracker, which allows you to click on species, such as Warlocks or Vampires, see the characters in that group and hear descriptions of them and how they fit into the story’s world. You can then go deeper by clicking on individual characters to get descriptions and view a gallery of photos. It’s a nice addition to the Blu-ray, but it would have been nice if the character descriptions were more full, perhaps offering details that are in the book but not in the movie.


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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.