Review: The setting of the movie is the same as the book, we are introduced to Clary Fray on the eve of her birthday and she is battling with seeing symbols and having almost a compulsion to write them down. To escape her current problems her and her friend Simon go to a poetry reading and then decide to stop in at a Goth club, where Clary spots the same symbol that has been plaguing her on a sign of the club. There she spots some crazy dude with a sword impale a hot guy that had gotten her into the club. Clary’s life changes forever from that point as she realizes that the world around her isn’t at all what it seems.
The movie actually goes hand in hand with the book, following it from step-to-step without hardly any noticeable flaws or really, not flaws, but deviations. The deviations are probably only to support the hurried pace of the movie, because obviously you can’t portray everything that happens in CITY OF BONES in one movie. It would probably be tough to get all the nuances of the book into two movies, much less just one.
Speaking of nuances, what I rally enjoyed about the movie was exactly that — the subtle nuances that played to readers of the book. The fact that it hinted at things that only readers of the book would understand, but instead of dumbing it down for the general viewing public and nixing any complicated plot lines that would not be able to be shown, it brushed around them, allowing fans and readers to wallow in the moment and get to experience “knowing” what is going on as their fellow movie-goers just shook their heads. It was a fun experience and my kudos goes to the screen writer, Jessica Postigo Paquette for her interpretation of the book. I think she did a fabulous job.
Now for the acting team…Lily Collins (Mirror, Mirror) plays Clary and she was my favorite by far. She delivered a great interpretation of Clary that seemed believable. Jamie Campbell Bower (Caius – Twilight Saga) was someone I never could mesh with Jace as far as looks, but his acting was pretty good. I just kept thinking — the boy needs to eat! He was so skinny, I just expected Jace to be a little more filled out and less emo boy, who’s leather pants sag on his rear (ducks). But, the two of them delivered the best acting of the teen casting. Kevin Zegers, Jemima West and even Robert Sheehan who plays Simon and Godfrey Gao who plays Magnus were rather unimpressive in their acting. I think I was least impressed with Bane’s character, I wanted to be overwhelmed and the only thing shocking about him was the fact that he showed up in the first scene in his underwear. He had a great look (but all of the cast did) his portrayal of the character just wasn’t as robust as I would have hoped, he was a rather deflated Magnus Bane and frankly, Bane was probably the character I was most expecting to be WOWed by. Him and of course, Valentine, who was played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers. I was not scared by Valentine at all, I just wanted to lick him (TMI? *snort*) because he was so yummy with his shirt all open and his fake tattoos and crazy native hair-do. Sorry ladies, I didn’t notice his acting, I was distracted.
At about the time Valentine’s character shows up is where I noticed the big deviations from the book. One of which was a line between Hodge and Valentine — which I do not remember in the book (but it has been awhile since I read the book so I could be really wrong) — where he basically reveals the “BIG MYSTERY” of the entire series. I mean he just laid it out with one line. If you’ve seen the movie and read the book, do you remember this in the book? The reveal of the lie about Valentine and Jace? Because I remember reading the books and not really knowing about the big ANGST until the very end. But again, I could have missed it in the book, it was just ONE line.
I’m assuming the movie would inset this line to give viewers HOPE that Clary and Jace could one day be together, I’m assuming this because they also ended the movie with a similar line, but they still left it as an assumption, not a fact. Which the line that Hodge delivered was a statement of a fact, not a hint at a mystery. Sorry for going on about this, but I had thrown up my hands in the movie at this line, because I did read the whole series and I know that the driving factor of this series is the mystery of Clary and Jace and their relationship.
I digress, so I’ll move on. Overall, a good book to movie interpretation. The effects were spectacular. The shots of New York were really breathtaking and the fights scenes were intense and fun to watch. Because of these fight scenes this isn’t a movie to drag your younger children to, there are demons and vampires that are pretty scary. I don’t know how well this movie will go over with people that have not read the book though. I think, because it stuck so TIGHT to the book, it might actually turn off the casual movie-goer. Because as you know, the book is choked with young adult paranormal cliches and angst. Love-triangles, sexy gay warlocks, vampires, werewolves, hinted romances, unrequited love from all ends of the spectrum…you name it, it is there. Some of the reasons I had a mediocre reception with the book. And all of it was shoved willy-nilly into the movie. Which is what I was mentioning earlier with the nuances only a fan or reader of the series would REALLY get. But…this is something that brings this movie UP in my estimation. Because they fell on the line of deliver to the fans of the book, not the guys that just show up to see a paranormal movie.
If you’ve read the book and enjoyed it, this is a movie you should go see. The movie-makers did a good job with it, there was no playing to the teenie-bop crowd with angst filled scenes and pop-culture references. The movie was gritty, with decent acting, great effects and lots of action. I can’t speak for the author, but I think she should be proud of how they represented her novel.