The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Reviews

Top Critic
Michael Sragow
Orange County Register
August 22, 2013
Every fantasy creature except zombies get a workout in this overstuffed spectacle about a teenage girl who discovers she has angelic blood in her veins.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
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Peter Keough
Boston Globe
August 22, 2013
"The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" plays like a "Scary Movie" parody.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Michael Rechtshaffen
Hollywood Reporter
August 22, 2013
This desperate Twilight wannabe hits more than its own share of clunky notes.
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Peter Hartlaub
San Francisco Chronicle
August 22, 2013
Every moviegoer will have his own breaking point, when "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" surpasses the mundane and enters the ridiculous.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Randy Myers
San Jose Mercury News
August 22, 2013
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
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Jake Coyle
Associated Press
August 21, 2013
It desperately gathers clichés like a teen fantasy Frankenstein that doesn't realize its secret identity: parody.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
August 21, 2013
Mortal Instruments manages to occupy 130 minutes of frantic, numbing, activity.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
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Bruce Ingram
Chicago Sun-Times
August 21, 2013
Everything chugs along briskly and reasonably entertainingly until running off the rails a bit with a wildly overcomplicated finale.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Stephanie Merry
Washington Post
August 21, 2013
The action flick is overly long, complicated and, even by teen romance standards, cringe-worthy in its cheesiness.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Chris Nashawaty
Entertainment Weekly
August 21, 2013
More than just another watered-down tween franchise wannabe.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Jordan Hoffman
New York Daily News
August 21, 2013
Alas, the titular City of Bones is more of a basement.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/5
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Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
August 21, 2013
An almost random collection of sexy-supernatural teen signifiers aimed at squeezing the penultimate dollars out of a declining trend.
Top Critic
Bilge Ebiri
New York Magazine/Vulture
August 21, 2013
City of Bones isn't the worst of its kind, but crap served with flair is still basically crap.
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Jeannette Catsoulis
New York Times
August 21, 2013
References to "Star Wars" and the Harry Potter and Twilight universes pose less of a problem than the increasingly messy action scenes and an overabundance of main characters, more than enough to fuel several franchises.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Scott Bowles
USA Today
August 21, 2013
Though it has flashes of promise, Bones traces the footsteps of its fantasy film predecessors too closely to blaze anything close to an original narrative.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
August 21, 2013
There are too many characters, and too many of them spend too much time morphing into something else.
Top Critic
Justin Chang
Variety
August 21, 2013
A ludicrous, borderline-nonsensical supernatural concoction with a slightly redeeming sense of its own silliness.
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
August 21, 2013
It sticks so closely to the YA formula that it feels like a mashup of a watery fantasy with soap opera. Suds overflow.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Mark Olsen
Los Angeles Times
August 21, 2013
The fact that there is already at least one sequel planned feels more like a threat than a treat.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/5
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A.A. Dowd
AV Club
August 21, 2013
On the page, all of these elements may cohere into something distinctive, perhaps through the help of colorful prose. Onscreen, not so much.
Full Review | Original Score: C
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
August 21, 2013
The film drags on for 130 minutes, with the final half-hour consisting of near nonstop bashing between demons, werewolves and magical kids in sleek black outfits.
Full Review | Original Score: C
Top Critic
Tom Keogh
Seattle Times
August 21, 2013
So derivative of Joss Whedon, George Lucas, J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer that it feels like a postmodern young-adult mishmash.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
David Hiltbrand
Philadelphia Inquirer
August 21, 2013
The film's primary problem is its premature climax. It goes for the big action crescendo early, then tries to sustain that wild intensity for a solid hour. Admirable, but exhausting.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Bruce Demara
Toronto Star
August 21, 2013
[Zwart] finally has a vehicle that tests his talents. His dark vision of the shadow world beyond the ordinary one is intricately detailed and believable throughout, even if much of it is the product of CGI mastery.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
August 21, 2013
The perfect movie for those who thought the "Twilight" series just wasn't quite teenage girly enough.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Anna Smith
Time Out
August 21, 2013
[It] gets off to an entertaining, action-packed start ... But it's soon bogged down by an increasingly convoluted plot, an overindulgent running time and absurd dialogue.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Matt Patches
Time Out
August 20, 2013
There's a Dumbledore, there's a Voldemort, there's a magical MacGuffin that our heroes must track down, but it's a soulless attempt to re-create the Potter magic.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/5
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Laremy Legel
Film.com
August 20, 2013
Everything you're looking for, provided you're looking for nothing.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/10
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
August 20, 2013
"The Mortal Instruments" franchise is strictly for the initiated. They will no doubt love it. Everyone else will be flummoxed.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Alonso Duralde
TheWrap
August 20, 2013
[The filmmakers] throw in everything from witches and vampires and demons to gay warlocks, mini-skirted monster hunters and werewolf bikers, but this silly epic never goes anywhere remotely interesting.
Top Critic
Kyle Smith
New York Post
August 20, 2013
"The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" hopes to be the start of a new franchise for tweens and Twihards, but the twuth is this twash is anything but a twiumph.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
John Oursler
Village Voice
August 20, 2013
An endless parade of derivative genre tropes, even tedious and convoluted when it dares to break the formula-there may or may not be an incest subplot.
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
August 20, 2013
With its spectacle, morbid sense of humor and hustling pace, "The Mortal Instruments" encourages you to shrug and just go with it.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4