All member reviews for The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Common Sense Media says

Teen-friendly fantasy romance doesn't live up to the book.

Users say

(out of 45 reviews)
age 12+
Review this title!
Parent Written byDan G. August 23, 2013

Perhaps not as 'teen friendly' as we are led to believe.

Perhaps OK for older teens. But the following items may be too inappropriate for those 16 and younger. The movie is very violent, more violent than the other 'teen friendly' vampire movies, although it is not graphically gory. The film also deals with topics of the occult; tarot cards are shown to be an actual path to obtaining knowledge. And one of the heroes of the story teaches that all churches are the same, and not all that compelling, either. There is also profanity. There is suggestion of homosexuality. One character appears to be a transvestite, and there is a sub-theme of possible incest. These are all adult themes that should be left in adult movies, not inserted into "teen friendly' movies.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 11 years old August 24, 2013

Awesome Action Packed Movie!

Great movie! Was good, but the book was better. There was some sexual content, but less than what was in the book. There is a gay character who hides his feelings from another character. A man wears a revealing outfit, and there is a slight make out scene, but nothing worse then that. Also, a boy and a girl say "invited him to bed", but whatever. Lots of action scenes, but not lots of blood. one of the scariest scenes includes a dog like creature whose skin is turned inside out, showing viewers a disgusting, slimy, bloody, monster. This movie was great, I recommend it for anyone who liked Harry Potter, The Twilight Saga, and Beautiful Creatures.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 13 years old Written bycaitlinm_18 August 21, 2013

Really Great!!!

It was a great movie but like all other movies based on books... its nothing like the novel. I enjoyed the movie because of the small parts of a love triangle and the actors & actresses who have roles. I have also read The Mortal Instruments series many times & really liked them. But I wish that the director would have put different parts from the book into the movie.
Kid, 12 years old August 25, 2013

Great movie, not as good as the book

Great movie, but not as good as the book. Casting was excellent. A lot of violence, but not many scary images. Few curse words, fast-paced, thrilling Positive messages include bravery and family and relationships. Clary, Jace, the other shadowhunters, and Simon are positive role models, and are courageous in the face of danger. The movie cut a few scenes from the book, but kept the important parts. Book was better, but the movie is a must-see for any fan of the Mortal Instruments. Can't wait for sequel, City of Ashes, to come to movie. (In process)
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 15 years old Written bystargirl132 September 14, 2013

surprisingly good.

I can't believe this got such bad reviews. It was actually a pretty good adaption, and I think fans will be pleased with this movie.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Teen, 14 years old Written byDistrict_dauntless August 22, 2013

Really good but different from the book

I am a huge fan of the mortal instruments and have been counting down the days till the movie comes out, and of course I watched it as soon as it came out. With me having big expectations towards the film, it affected my opinion. i thought it would be like the book, but instead it included parts that should not be revealed until later on in the series and it cut many scenes from the book that I think are extremely important Despite the cutting of scenes and revealing mistakes I thought the film was very enjoyable and still included the best scenes of clary and jace's romance and the sarcastic conflict between Simon and jace. The movie had very funny jokes mainly from jace and Simon and an amazing greenhouse scene with clary and jace. I also think the end battle was really good and intense. Not as much romance and language as I had expected which makes it ok for younger kids to watch however the violence and gore is pretty intense. Overall it was a great film and I can't wait for the sequel CITY OF ASHES!!!!!
Kid, 11 years old July 9, 2014

Not as Good as The Book...

The acting and the actors are amazing! Jamie and lily betray clary and jace perfectly! this movie is horrible compared to the book! they have changed what happens in the book! little bit of violence but it would not be considered a 'violent' movie! it would be fine for your child but if you are like "should I read the book before watching the movie?" the answer is YES!!!!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Teen, 13 years old Written byEmmasage February 1, 2014

Disappointing

It was a good movie, but not if you are comparing it to the book. Things didn't happen the way they did in the book, but other wise it is a good movie. There is one kissing scene, it isn't too long and is pretty cheesy but other than that not much else. Some of the demons might be a bit scary to younger kids, but other than that not too bad!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written bymckenzie_11 July 7, 2014

Are we sure the movie was based off the book?

I'm sorry but the movie was horrible.. I watched the movie before I read the books. I thought the movie was just OK without reading the books. But then I started reading them and I realized how terrible the movie really was. Sure it has the same name as the book, same character names, and even some semi-similar events but they left out more than half the book! And on top of it, half the events in the movie didn't happen in the book! The movie was somewhat entertaining before but it has no substance! It's 90% special effects and they weren't even all that good. It's like they took the general idea of the book and turned it into a movie.. It was extremely disappointing and hopefully the sequel goes A LOT better.
Teen, 17 years old Written byburfymurf177 August 22, 2013

Amazingly Fun!

This was an amazing movie for family that has kids that are 10 and up. It was beautifully done and had a very tiny bit of romance that was perfect for my daughter. You go watch this right now with your 10 and up kids!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written bySlendyDaMan March 11, 2016

Not as good as the book, but really entertaining

This movie focuses on an ancient war between angels and demons. The shadowhunters frequently kill these demons, usually by stabbing or hacking to pieces. The violence is quite high, but since there is little blood, it is fine for most kids. However, SPOILERS SPOILERS the scene with a little girl is actually pretty scary as she transforms into a demon. This movie is fine for 13 and up, but some tweens might want to think twice about watching it.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Parent of a 8, 10, and 12 year old Written byBarry Saunders November 29, 2013

Be careful as it freaked my three kids

I use common sense media a lot and normally go under the age what parents say, but we had to stop this movie as my boy 8, girl 10 and boy 12 got freaked out by the dog seen 15 minutes into the move. My 8 year old watched and loved the latest transformer movie and parents say 13. This movie is very real to life and I recommend watching movie before letting your kids watch it. After watching whole movie there is no way of letting my 2 younger kids watch it. Also agree that there are all adult themes that should be left in adult movies, not inserted into "teen friendly' movies
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Teen, 14 years old Written bykitty47 June 3, 2015
Kid, 12 years old June 26, 2014

Very violent

The violence and the Pandemonium scene are the only reasons I would say 14+
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Teen, 15 years old Written bywhimsicalreviewer August 24, 2013

Slightly contrived--but entertaining, wholesome, and delightful for fans of the books!

As a tremendous fan of the book series and an avid follower of Rotten Tomatoes, I went into this movie with extremely low expectations. As all good movie-goers know, a film can never encompass the detail, emotions, or even, the plot, of its source material (i.e. the Percy Jackson film series).Therefore, I literally sat in the theater, forcing myself to scrutinize every cinematic and plot-oriented to find some fault in it. After two hours I can safely say, I was not as disappointed as I was led to expect. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones manages to not only include 90% of the events from the story, but also incorporate the nuances which made the film all the more enjoyable. The actors worked fine with the material they were given. Jamie Campbell Bower is impeccable as Jace, playing the perfect narcissistic, protective, tortured hero. His lines were delivered with Jace's trademark wit, and his mannerisms were as intense and delicate as they were described in the book. Robert Sheehan was the passionate, insecure, bookish, comical, caring Simon Lewis that many readers know and love. While Lily Collins wasn't fantastic in her role (partly due to her overusage of heavy breathing to depict a traumatic situation) she still managed to express the spunk and occasional moments of intelligence and quick-thinking exhibited by Clary Fray (particularly in a scene where she was faced with a demon). The dialogue was crisp and humorous; it sometimes dipped in the cheesy slop that is recycled in many sentimental films, but moments when this occurs are easily forgiven against the other elements in the film. Such elements include the remarkable special effects, which painted demons and Downworlders and Shadowhunter realms in such clarity, it is easy to believe they actually exist, and difficult not to grimace when you see them in their various grotesque forms. In all honesty, the film's main flaw rests in its sequencing. For viewers that aren't acquainted with the books, they will most certainly be puzzled by the constant stream of events which occur quickly and with little to no explanation. The history and role of the Shadowhunters is explained concisely, but fleetingly, which may cause their purpose to become forgettable. Even knowing the books extremely well, I was confused during certain scenes in regards to how characters got into a certain situation, how one event lead to another, etc. Several aspects of the film were done heavy-handedly concerning the scene transitioning (some of which was overly-dramatic and sometimes laughable), the battle scenes (which, as awesome and BA as they were, were overlong and tiresome), and the interactions between characters (which usually had a similar theme, but were choppy because the camera went between one pair of characters' situation to the other's, and created a uneven parallel between them). Overall, the Mortal Instruments is an engaging, adventurous, and funny film, which will delight many die-hard fangirls for its plot accuracy and character relationships. However, if you have not previously read the book, I would NOT suggest going to see it, because many things will be unexplained, rushed, and confusing, and you will easily become one of the film's harshest critics (much like the critics collaborating with Rotten Tomatoes). The sexual content is relatively low in comparison to the books; there is only one kiss between the characters, and its not as passionate/intense as it could be. However, the violence and horror elements can get pretty gruesome and cringe-worthy. All in all, this film is definitely spot on for fans of the books who are 12 and over.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 11 years old January 23, 2016

Really Good but haven't read the books yet.

I LOVED this movie, and when a newly made tv show came out, i got even more hooked. I will say, though, some of the parts were a little visual. The demons in the movie were slightly scary, which is why I say 12 and up. For people who have read the books, it might be a little disappointing.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Teen, 13 years old Written byMrs.Herondale September 30, 2015

Alright but ruins the book series

This film was all of the place. The actors, I have to admit, were great and suited the characters well. However, the plot line was really off. The movie included scenes from the first three books of the series instead of just the first one. Some of the important scenes were either missing or changed. I am a HUGE fan of the book series and was quite disappointed by this film. Yes there are gay characters in this movie but there is hardly any of this shown. The only time is when one of the males compliments the other on his looks. Some people viewing this may think there is incest suggested but in truth it isn't incest at all whatsoever.
Kid, 9 years old March 23, 2014

Not good

It wasn't very good mainly it didn't really explain well.I think the book may be better
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent Written bymartha collins September 6, 2013

loved it!!

great movie
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 14 years old Written by17pearl17 March 26, 2015

A good interpretation of the book

I'm not exactly sure why common sense media gave it such a bad review. This movie is not meant to touch you, make you see the world in a whole new light, or win an oscar. This movie is just supposed to show what happened in the book. I always get frustrated when movies are different than the book. Although the movie cut some scenes out and changed the order in some places I think it did a pretty good job telling such a complex story. However, the movie was lacking essential character development. This movie will satisfy fans of the book.

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