Review: The Mortal Instruments – City of Bones
Honestly… where do I begin? I’m still rather stunned by all that occurred tonight seeing “The Mortal Instruments – City of Bones“. Let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of the series and I like Cassandra Clare’s writing style for this genre. Yes, I’ve read all of the books in the The Mortal Instruments series to date, as well as her other arc, The Infernal Devices. (I must admit I haven’t read The Bane Chronicles yet, but I will.) However, the adaptation of the book to the big screen just didn’t cut it for me. I understand that the author usually doesn’t have much say in how a book gets adapted, but by all accounts, her various social media feeds made it seem like she cosigned on how the screenplay progressed. (Yes, there are SPOILERS — does this shock you? It really shouldn’t.)
Oh how misled the fans of this series have been. Some of you may have enjoyed the movie, and I don’t begrudge you that opinion or sentiment. But even you (said fans) must have realized there were some seriously egregious portions of this movie that had to leave you wondering WTF.
Point 1. The screenwriting was done in such a way that it was very difficult for someone that had never read the books to follow exactly what was taking place. They tried to explain things – they really did – but it just came across as not cohesive at all. Talk about choppy.
Point 2. Did someone forget the introductions? I mean, Isabelle’s name was said maybe 5 times during the whole movie — 3 of them by Simon. In the book, Jace did introduce himself, well before the point where it takes place in the movie. Not to harp on those things, but…
Point 3. Where was my egotistical, narcissistic, jaded, cynical and aloof Jace? I love his character simply because he defines all of these qualities in the first part of the series. Instead, what we got was a quippy character with lovey-dovey tendencies. Really? Sigh.
Point 4. The bond between Jace and Alec is never explored, much less explained. Their parabatai bond actually is an important part of the Shadowhunter existence (as very clearly described in The Infernal Devices series). All you get is Alec coming across as bitchy whenever Jace is mentioned or around. Zero explanation.
Point 5. The pile-on over-the-top dramatics grated at me like rough sandpaper. They simply were trying too hard to make it compelling instead of organically developing the characters properly to create the right level of drama. Cue: random love song music as flowers open to full bloom and the world twists around into a boundless vertigo. Grr. The campiness was a bit much for me.
Now, for what I LIKED:
Actor choices for the roles. That was a definite winner; I like the cast a lot, actually. It wasn’t the acting that was an issue, I think — that was all screenplay. No matter how you put it, Jace (played by Jamie Campbell Bower) is scrum-diddly-umptious!!
Magnus Bane. Nuff said. He’s sexy and awesome in the book. He’s sexy and awesome in the movie. The end. We need more of him and luckily as the series continues, we do get more!
Costume Design. I LOVED the outfits. I fully expected them to be in line with Isabelle’s flashy style, but they were quite lovely. Even a few pieces that I’d consider buying for myself.
The Action Scenes. As resigned as I am to admit this, there is a lot of good action in the movie. Thankfully the CG isn’t too cheesy.
All this raises a good point about a second movie, which they’ve probably already committed to. They ought to do better promotion and get a better screenplay. Perhaps consider a test audience prior to releasing another movie. Strongly consider a test audience (please?). The ending of the movie didn’t give you that “there’s gonna be a sequel” feeling. Nada. It was just riding off into the veritable sunset back to the Institute where the Shadowhunters live in New York.
Can’t you just FEEL my disappointment? But in defense of the movie, critics really need to stop calling this a Twilight rehash. Let’s be real. Twilight (the book) wasn’t that great to begin with. At least Cassie Clare’s book is a more compelling read.
Oh. And that subway scene in a non-NYC train car… lame. You could have done better than that, Director. You get the pooty face for that one.