I had the pleasure of seeing The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones this past weekend. As a reader and huge fan of the series, I wanted to share with you my review of the film and how I thought it stacked up to the book.
This is a synopsis of the book taken directly from the TMI website:
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Clary knows she should call the police, but it’s hard to explain a murder when the body disappears into thin air and the murderers are invisible to everyone but Clary.
Equally startled by her ability to see them, the murderers explain themselves as Shadowhunters: a secret tribe of warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. Within twenty-four hours, Clary’s mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a grotesque demon.
But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know….
I want to begin my review with the plot. Overall, I thought the transition from book to film was pretty good. There were bits and pieces here and there that didn’t make it into the final film. Most notably is a scene involving our favorite mundane Simon and an unfortunate hairy situation. I was looking forward to seeing how they translated that to film so I was a tad bit disappointed that it didn’t make the script. The greenhouse scene featuring Clary and Jace was nicely done. You can feel the heat and the chemistry is undeniable. The plot definitely kept you interested and provided an entertaining basis for the film.
I wasn’t so much a fan of casting before I saw the movie. I absolutely loved Lily Collins as Clary Fray. She really brought the character to life. From the vulnerable moments where we see Clary distraught over her mother to the strength we see in her over the course of the film, there is no question about it- Lily is Clary.
Jamie Campbell Bower was one casting choice I wasn’t too sure of until I saw the film. I hadn’t seen him in anything prior to TMI that he had a significant role in (I do not count Caius in the Twilight Saga). He wasn’t entirely what I pictured for Jace, but he did an good job. I was impressed that he did a lot of his own stunts in the film and he definitely had chemistry with Lily Collins which made the more romantic scenes of the film more believable.
When the announcement came that Jemima West was cast as Isabelle, I definitely responded with, “Who?” After seeing the film, I was blown away. West brought so much of that kick-ass heroine to the role of Isabelle that I’m not sure anyone could have pulled off. I definitely came out of the theater being a huge Isabelle fan. I have a feeling that she’ll continue to grow as one of my favorite characters and actresses.
I might be the only person who feels this way, but I was disappointed with the casting for Simon. Robert Sheehan, though a talented actor in his own right I’m sure, just did not portray Simon in a way I liked. I felt that the character was lacking depth and that a lot of the scenes where he was showing interest in Clary were forced. More often than not I just felt his scenes were awkward. I know that a lot of fans really loved him in the film, but I just didn’t.
Kevin Zegers, who portrayed Alec Lightwood, didn’t have as much screen time as I would have liked. I’m hoping we’ll see a lot more of him in City of Ashes. I’m excited to see him grow in his character.
I was very iffy on the casting choice for Hodge. Although I love Jared Harris especially for his work in Fringe and a few of his other projects, I definitely felt that his acting was lacking in the role of Hodge. I found myself mostly bored with his character and I didn’t see the desperation that caused Hodge to betray the Lightwoods and Clary. I felt that the role definitely could have been done better. I expected a higher level of talent from Harris and I just didn’t see that in the film.
Godfrey Gao as our High Warlock of Brooklyn Magnus Bane was incredible. Being Gao’s first American film and first American speaking role, I was impressed by the talent he brought to the table. He really brought that flamboyant nature to Bane and watching him on screen was like watching Magnus walk right off the pages of the book into real life. I am very excited to see where he goes in this role during the continuation of the series.
My absolute favorite casting for the entire film was the role of Valentine. I’m a huge Jonathan Rhys Meyers fan. I loved him in The Tudors and there really isn’t anything I haven’t enjoyed his acting in. Meyers is a really diverse actor and he brought that to the role of Valentine. I could see the evil oozing from Valentines soul and his vulnerability during the scene with Jocelyn. Meyers really brought depth to Valentine and made you hate him yet love him at the same time (come on now! It’s JRM!) I was really impressed with the work he did and the way he interacted with Lily and Jamie. I couldn’t imagine anyone better suited to portray Valentine.
With any film adaptation, there are changes made from what the book was to what the film will be. Overall I thought that Harald Zwart and the crew did a wonderful job bringing City of Bones to the big screen. I cannot wait to see how City of Ashes comes together. Whether you’ve read the books or not, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is a must see. It’s entertaining, enjoyable and will please most fans of the series.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is in theaters now.