The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones parents guide

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Parent Guide

"The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" suffers from many of the same problems as "Twilight". The script and acting are unremarkable at best.

Overall C

Clary Fray (Lily Collins) has no reason to believe she is anything but a normal teenager until her Mom (Jocelyn Fray) is kidnapped by a demon and she begins seeing ghosts. Slowly, her true destiny is revealed and she is enlisted to help save mankind.

Release date August 21, 2013

Violence C-
Sexual Content B
Profanity B
Substance Use B-

Why is The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones rated PG-13? The MPAA rated The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action, and some suggestive content.

Run Time: 130 minutes

Official Movie Site

Parent Movie Review

Is there anything worse than being called mundane? Apparently not if teen movies are reflective of real life. But it’s not good enough to just be undiscovered royalty or a celebrity-in-waiting. Now everyone wants a super power. Chalk this fantasy up to Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Bella Swan, even Kick-Ass, and a myriad of other teen characters who suddenly discover their alter ego or that of their friends.

Clary Fray (Lily Collins) finds out she is more than a mere human when she begins to spontaneously draw the same mysterious pattern over and over again. Then she starts seeing things her friend Simon (Robert Sheehan) can’t see — things like a man being murdered in the middle of a crowded nightclub.

Only after being whisked away by a hooded character to a castle-like edifice hidden in the middle of downtown New York City does she discover she is the descendent of Shadowhunters—half human, half angel. Like so many heroines in this genre, the fate of the world rests on her dainty shoulders.

However, thanks to a magic spell of sorts, she can’t remember much about her past. And what she does remember isn’t true. (For instance, that picture of the US soldier killed in the Iraqi war is not really her dad.) Unfortunately the only way to unlock her memories is to visit the warlock (Godfrey Gao) who cast the incantation upon her in the first place. To attract his attention she has to dress like a whore—her words not mine.

The story, based on a series of novels by Cassandra Clare and pegged as the possible next Twilight successor, certainly has all the elements to appeal to its targeted demographic, including a love triangle with Clary at the center. Yet the film suffers from many of the same problems as Twilight. First of all the script and acting are unremarkable at best. And it’s no surprise that Clary is willing to dump steady, thoughtful Simon in favor of the more dangerous and sexy Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower) who charms her with his stash of weapons and messy blonde locks. While that plot isn’t new (it’s been around even before Sandy Olsen exchanged pink frills for black leather in order to attract Danny Zuko in Grease), it’s one that makes romance look more like a game of roulette.

Meanwhile, the violence in this film consists of negligible blood, but we still see characters impaled, stabbed, cut with knives and brutally beaten. Seemingly normal humans also metamorphose into horrific beasts and monsters that slash and gash their way across the screen. As well there are scenes depicting an apparent suicide, self-mutilation and brief sexual innuendo.

Forced to look for a hidden goblet that will help restore balance (and provide plenty of storyline for the next movie), Clary is warned to trust no one, even those closest to her. Although the thrill of being anything but mundane (the film’s label for humans) might make Clary feel heady for a while, the advice leaves her with no one to turn to in a place where demons and death wait around every corner. And that’s a message that can make the world look like a big, bad place—even to a teen with super powers.

Directed by Harald Zwart. Starring Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Robert Sheehan, Jemima West. Running time: 130 minutes. Theatrical release August 21, 2013. Updated

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
Rating & Content Info

Why is The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones rated PG-13? The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action, and some suggestive content.

Violence: Characters are beaten, impaled, whipped, slashed with knives and swords, thrown around the room, and bitten. A character has a knife held to his throat. A character puts flammable liquid on a stove and causes an explosion. A character appears to commit suicide. A character is hit over the head with a fire extinguisher. Characters discuss drinking blood. A girl burns her arm with a magical weapon.

Sexual Content: A character dresses provocatively and comments on looking like a whore. A couple kisses passionately. Characters make brief sexually suggestive and homosexual comments.

Language: The script contains limited mild profanities, some terms of Deity and brief sexual innuendo.

Alcohol / Drug Use: A character drinks a liquid during an apparent suicide. Another character is given poison in a drink at a bar.

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The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Parents' Guide

This movie is based on a series of novels by Cassandra Clare.

Jamie Campbell Bower who plays Jace also had roles in the Harry Potter and Twilight series. What appeal do you think his character has to viewers in this genre? What kind of actors best fit the fantasy image? Can an actor get pigeonholed in a particular role because of their looks?

If you could have any super power what would it be?

What role do parents play in this movie? Can a person choose to make different decisions than their parents did? Why do some of the characters believe that, “to love is to destroy”?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones movie is December 3, 2013. Here are some details…

Home Video Notes: The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones

Release Date: 3 December 2013

The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones releases to home video (Blu-ray/DVD/Ultraviolet Digital Copy) with the following extras:

- Bringing Them to Life - Filmmakers & Cast discuss the characters of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

- Descendants of the Cup - A look at the stunts and the cast’s transformation into Shadowhunters

- Music Video: “Almost is Never Enough” by Ariana Grande ft. Nathan Sykes

- Into the Shadows: From Book to Screen

- Deleted scenes

- Entering The Shadow World – Creating the extraordinary creatures of the shadow world

- Interactive Lineage Tracker – Allows users to learn more about all the characters in the world of The Mortal Instruments

- Deadly Attraction – Lily Collins & Jamie Campbell Bower on their roles as Clary Fray & Jace Wayland

Related home video titles:

Supernatural beings are popular protagonist in teen movies, including the Harry Potter franchise, Twilight, Beautiful Creatures and Warm Bodies. This movie features beings of mixed mortal and immortal race, as does Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.