New Trailer: ‘The Mortal Instruments’ Stakes YA Claim with Hot Club Kids, Werewolves and a Radiohead Song

Movie Talk

Will "The Mortal Instruments" be the next "Twilight"? Actually, it looks like it's got enough convoluted mythology for five "Twilight"s.

It's been something of a rocky road in finding the next Young Adult sensation upon the conclusion of Stephenie Meyer's astonishingly successful supernatural romance. "The Hunger Games" seems to be doing just fine, though both "Beautiful Creatures" and Meyer's own "The Host" were dead on arrival. Now, Cassandra Clare's fitfully imaginative "The Mortal Instruments" is getting the big-screen treatment, and the results look to be just as overwrought -- and derivative -- as the book.

Check out the trailer below:

Lily Collins stars as Clary Fray (a YA heroine name if there ever was one), a predictably attractive teenager who's suddenly plunged into that existential crisis we all must face when we're about to embark on adulthood: She's actually a Shadowhunter, a member of an otherworldly band of warriors dedicated to battling demons and other forces of evil. Luckily, Clary is guided through her sudden identity shift by her own pale dreamboat love interest, Jace Wayland (Jamie Campbell Bower), whose stunning ability to vacantly stare at his new girlfriend is matched only by his cop-killing prowess (all set to a five-year-old Radiohead song, at that).

"The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" (based on the first of six -- SIX -- books in the series) looks so desperate to please its target audience that it almost comes across as parody. There's somewhat ominous voiceover by Jared Harris, who spews exposition as only a mysterious wise old sage can (his character name is "Hodge Starkweather," which is most certainly the name of a wise old sage). "Game of Thrones" villainess Lena Headey gets smacked in the face with a door and doesn't look quite old enough to pass for Collins' mama. There's a dance club scene, where our heroine's first glance at her destiny is accompanied by a throbbing bass line. We're reminded that you can't fight the forces of evil without wearing a sexy outfit. And there are werewolves, their entrance even accompanied by someone saying "The werewolves are here to save us -- I never thought I'd say that," a line that comes across as more meta-apologetic than humorous.

Clare's not even trying in some areas; regular joes who can't see hot demon-killers aren't referred to by a somewhat clever term like "muggles" -- here they're just called "Mundanes" (gee, thanks, Cassandra!). The filmmakers aren't even trying in some areas, either -- the tagline "Worlds Will Collide" appears one word at a time over a cloud-filled sky, an image (and font) so reminiscent of "Harry Potter" you'll think you're watching a trailer for some wretched spoof like "Epic Movie."

What's most striking about the trailer is the blink-and-you'll-miss-it title card at the end that actually acknowledges that all of this comes from a book. In fact, you can "Join the Phenomenon" yourself by reading "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" (Available Wherever Books Are Sold). Reading is good, kids, even though you'll have to look at words rather than hot young stars (wearing sexy demon-slaying outfits).

"The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" will open on August 23 to help ease those back-to-school blues.