Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Book to Movie: Mortal Instruments City of Bones

Having seen the movie twice now, I finally feel ready to write my feelings down. I don't mind saying that I expected quite a lot from this movie, perhaps too much. This is my favorite series right now, so perhaps I'm a harsh critic.

The casting wasn't what I expected aside from Clary and Simon. When I pictured the breathtakingly handsome Jace, I don't picture Jamie Campbell Bower.  Considering, I think he pulls it off pretty well. Luke is not what I pictured either.  The Luke that Cassandra Clare wrote was burly and warm and funny and that just wasn't the vibe I got from Aidan Turner.   Hodge was not as I pictured either... a little more put together and not nearly as reclusive as he is in the book, but here we're starting to get into the way the script is written. 

Alec's love for Jace wasn't evident for me at all and had it not been brought up in the dialogue, I think it would have been missed completely.  Jonathon Rhys Meyers makes an awesome villain, but he was written more like a psychopath than an evil genius on a power trip. He is supposed to be intimidating and suave and instead he came off as manic. My biggest disappointment, though, was Magnus Bane. At first I thought it was just because there was too little of him, but after my second viewing I realized it was more than that.  Godfrey Gao definitely looks the part, but he isn't remotely charismatic and he talks way too fast for someone who is an 800 year old warlock. Again it may be the writing as his character has been reduced to plot exposition.  

I know it sounds like I hated it, but I didn't.  I can appreciate the cuts and changes made to the storyline to fit the time constraints.  I think some of them even make things more visually dramatic (Simon's trip to Hotel Dumort, for example).  I liked that they chose to let the audience in on the fact that Clary and Jace are not related, though I wasn't fond of the way it came about (Hodge?!?).  The witty repartee from Jace is severely cut down, especially the barbs between he and Simon, but there is enough to make him Jace.  I loved the Institute - it was a perfect recreation... with some additions.  The runes were as I imagined them, as were the steles and seraphs.  However, what makes Cassandra Clare's novels so magical are the worlds she creates and the personal interactions and I felt like much of that was lost due to time constraints.  The only relationship that remains intact in the film is the Simon-Clary-Jace love triangle.   And that is the film's saving grace. Robert Sheehan is a wonderful unrequited Simon.  And Lilly Collin and Jamie Campbell Bower are lovely together --the scene in the greenhouse,  the scene in front of Clary's bedroom door, rescuing Simon, the motorcycle ride-- I will watch it again and again for those moments. I adore them. 

In the end, no movie could ever live up to the sensational worlds Cassandra Clare created.  I think they did a good job though of making it stand on it's own.  (I took my husband with me for my second viewing and he seemed to enjoy it enough without having read the books... with a few questions.)  I hope they complete the second film.  I will be interested to see where the story goes, since they changed a significant plot point. The books get better and better and I'm hoping the movies will too.

Final Take:  3.75/5


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