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The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013)

tomatometer

12

Average Rating: 3.9/10
Reviews Counted: 115
Fresh: 14 | Rotten: 101

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones borrows ingredients from seemingly every fantasy franchise of the last 30 years -- but can't seem to figure out what to do with them.

13

Average Rating: 4.1/10
Critic Reviews: 30
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 26

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones borrows ingredients from seemingly every fantasy franchise of the last 30 years -- but can't seem to figure out what to do with them.

audience

60

liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 52,614

My Rating

Movie Info

Lily Collins stars as a young girl whose life is upended when she realizes that she's part of a long line of demon-slayers in this Screen Gems adaptation of Cassandra Clare's first book in her series of best-selling novels. Lena Headey and Jonathan Rhys Meyers head up the rest of the starring cast. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi

Dec 3, 2013

$31.2M

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All Critics (115) | Top Critics (30) | Fresh (14) | Rotten (101) | DVD (1)

"The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" plays like a "Scary Movie" parody.

August 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This desperate Twilight wannabe hits more than its own share of clunky notes.

August 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Hollywood Reporter
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Every moviegoer will have his own breaking point, when "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" surpasses the mundane and enters the ridiculous.

August 22, 2013 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Hollywood has more than enough high-caliber young adult lit to mine. Filmmakers should tap into richer human stories. We mere mortals would dearly appreciate it.

August 22, 2013 Full Review Source: San Jose Mercury News
San Jose Mercury News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It desperately gathers clichés like a teen fantasy Frankenstein that doesn't realize its secret identity: parody.

August 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Associated Press
Associated Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Mortal Instruments manages to occupy 130 minutes of frantic, numbing, activity.

August 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

'Author' Cassandra Clare assumes that you have never seen a film or read a book in your entire life. She steals plot details from Star Wars, Harry Potter and Twilight and assumes that no one will notice. I did.

November 10, 2013 Full Review Source: The Aristocrat
The Aristocrat

Awful, expensive, over-long, unremittingly dull attempt to start a Twilight-like franchise... plans were already underway for the sequel before this was released. They might just want to wait to see if anybody's interested first.

September 29, 2013 Full Review Source: 3AW

If you can overlook the lack of originality, the film actually makes a good fist of making something fresh and appealing from its second-hand ingredients.

September 7, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Talk
Movie Talk

Way to give overwrought fan fiction a bad name. No amount of fairy dust can make this bewitching.

September 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher
Flick Filosopher

Traz uma série de elementos interessantes que acabam sendo sacrificados pela vontade da história de investir num romance mergulhado em pieguice e clichês.

September 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinema em Cena
Cinema em Cena

In the end it comes off as rather inoffensively been-there, done-that--except for Jamie Campbell Bower, that is, who is strictly WTF.

August 31, 2013 Full Review Source: TheMovieReport.com
TheMovieReport.com

Who cares about a life-or-death battle with evil spirits when there's angst-ridden teen relationship drama in the mix?

August 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinemalogue.com
Cinemalogue.com

Murky confusing adaptation of Cassandra Clare's book. No franchise here.

August 28, 2013 Full Review Source: jackiekcooper.com
jackiekcooper.com

What Harald Zwart's film lacks is the focus that might make this cluttered set-up more than the sum of its dour design, raging hormones, incessant skirmishes and wearying exposition.

August 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

There are some interesting ideas and concepts within this fantasy world but they don't come through clearly enough, despite the 130 minute duration.

August 27, 2013 Full Review Source: ABC Radio Brisbane
ABC Radio Brisbane

At least you're not forced to stare at Kristen Stewart's sour mug for two hours.

August 27, 2013 Full Review Source: Three Movie Buffs
Three Movie Buffs

A shallow and somewhat spiritless picture.

August 27, 2013 Full Review Source: HeyUGuys
HeyUGuys

In the end, this 'City of Bones' is all gnawed-over scraps from other, better movies.

August 26, 2013 Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

This is a premise that might work in the hands of more eager filmmakers, but here it is reduced to a collection of fragmented scenes designed to mystify and infuriate.

August 26, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinemaphile.org
Cinemaphile.org

The action sequences never quite attain the level of thrilling, though Jonathan Rhys-Meyers boldly vamps it up as the (very tightly) leather-clad villain of the piece

August 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Killer Movie Reviews
Killer Movie Reviews

Cluttered, kooky and completely bonkers

August 23, 2013 Full Review Source: The Popcorn Junkie
The Popcorn Junkie

The 130-minute running time is 40 minutes too long - but then there's enough repetitive plot exposition and 'who-is- really-related-to-who?' nonsense to cure insomnia.

August 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Birmingham Mail
Birmingham Mail

Even with a rich and dark premise as well as a cast of thespians with actual acting chops, the story and movie are sub-par, forgettable, and crushingly boring.

August 23, 2013 Full Review Source: ScreenRant
ScreenRant

Not only have we seen this all before, but we were probably hoping to not see it again.

August 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

" ... any more generic and this supernatural teen-lit adaptation might as well have a plain unbleached-paper label and a title in comic sans."

August 23, 2013 Full Review Source: The Playlist
The Playlist

Audience Reviews for The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

I happen to be a fan and own this series of books so I was a bit iffy on seeing the movie. As usual the movie doesn't play out as the book does but as it goes, that's normal. I think those who haven't read the book might not actually get everything that is happening and might be a bit confused and probably won't like it as much as those who have. It's always hard when a book or a series is being turned into movies because you just don't want to be disappointed. I was iffy about the actors and the director but in the end I actually really enjoyed it. I thought all of the actors did a great job and I only found one or two scenes to be a bit cheesy. But some cheese is to be expected in films like these. I hope the rest of the books get a chance to see the big screen. I would really like to see how the rest of the films turn out.
March 17, 2014
LWOODS04
♥˩ƳИИ ƜѲѲƉƧ♥

Super Reviewer

I could not get Twilight out of my head while watching this...Forbidden love. Vampires. Werewolves. Teens. Come now. Enough already...
January 15, 2014
itsjustme2004

Super Reviewer

This movie is the mother of clichés and predictability. Too fomulaic. It's like a wanna-be Twilight only worse (if that's possible).
December 25, 2013
Raajay

Super Reviewer

Average supernatural drama that tries hard to immurse you in the story but fails slightly! Lena Headey should have been in it. more :-)
December 23, 2013
FiLmCrAzY
Film Crazy

Super Reviewer

    1. Jocelyn: It's okay if you want to hang your head out the window.
    2. Luke: I'm a werewolf, not a golden retriever.
    – Submitted by Frances H (15 days ago)
    1. Simon: The werewolves are here to save us. Never thought I'd say that.
    – Submitted by Frances H (15 days ago)
    1. Jace: If you wanted me to take my clothes off, you should've just asked.
    – Submitted by Tammy C (4 months ago)
    1. Jace: But my heart says different.
    – Submitted by Jana W (7 months ago)
    1. Clary: Have you fallen in love with the wrong person yet?
    2. Jace: Unfortunately, Lady of the Haven, my one true love remains myself.
    3. Clary: At least, you don't have to worry about rejection.
    4. Jace: Not necessarily. I turn myself down occasionally, just to keep it interesting.
    – Submitted by Vicki W (7 months ago)
    1. Jace: Let me guess you have a drawing emergency and wanted a nude model
    – Submitted by Vicki W (7 months ago)
View all quotes (22)

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December 6, 2013:
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This week, Christy breaks down the mutated superheroic The Wolverine, the family-friendly Smurfs 2...
December 3, 2013:
Michael Gracey Has Universal's Daughter of Smoke and Bone
The effects specialist has won the race to direct the next would-be YA franchise.
October 23, 2013:
Mortal Instruments Sequel to Resume Production in 2014
Constantin cites "overwhelmingly positive" response from fans.

Foreign Titles

  • Chroniken der Unterwelt - City of Bones (DE)
  • The Mortal Instruments (UK)
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