'Mortal Instruments' Captures Essential Tween Elements in New Franchise Starter

'Mortal Instruments' Captures Essential Tween Elements in New Franchise Starter

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones hits theaters Aug. 21 with nearly all the things movie studios crave today.

Built-in name recognition? Author Cassandra Clare has 12 million books in print domestically, including the first five in the Mortal Instruments series (the sixth book hits stores next year).

Tween-friendly content? The story boasts a love triangle brimming with angst along with a main character who learns disturbing things about her family tree.

Rising stars? Lily Collins, daughter of rocker Phil Collins, is making waves with movies like Mirror, Mirror and The Blind Side on her resume. Co-star Jamie Campbell Bower formerly appeared in the Twilight franchise and dated Collins for a spell–shades of the Kristen Stewart/Robert Pattinson real-life romance.

Nothing is preordained in Hollywood, but The Mortal Instruments has the proverbial deck stacked in its favor. It’s no accident than a second film in the budding franchise is already slated for a 2014 production.

The story, which offers hints of Harry Potter as well as the aforementioned Twilight, follows young Clary Fray (Collins) as she learns the truth about her destiny. Clary’s mom (Lena Headey) goes missing in the film’s opening moments, and the young woman must enter a world of demons and vampires to solve the mystery of her disappearance.

Along the way Clary falls for a fellow Shadowhunter (Bower), a half-angel creature who battles demons to protect the world in righteous good vs. evil fashion.

The youthful cast is joined by veterans like Jared Harris (Mad Men), CCH Pounder and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. And while the mega-popular Twilight franchise was earnest to the core, Mortal Instruments weaves a fair share of humor into the life or death scenarios.

The project is also following the Twilight template regarding mall visits, with several cast members drawing sizable crowd across the country.

Director Harald Zwart (The Karate Kid remake) and screenwriter Jessica Postigo capture the fun, danger and teen-sized emotions that have proven box office gold in the past.

(Photo Credit: eOne Films/Tobias Wang)


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