Sunday, August 25, 2013

MOVIE MADNESS: The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones

Lead Cast: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower
Director: Harald Zwart
Sony Pictures
Fantasy, Action-Adventure

Set in contemporary New York City, a seemingly ordinary teenager, Clary Fray (Lily Collins), discovers she is the descendant of a line of Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of young half-angel warriors locked in an ancient battle to protect our world from demons. After the disappearance of her mother (Lena Headey), Clary must join forces with a group of Shadowhunters, who introduce her to a dangerous alternate New York called Downworld, filled with demons, warlocks, vampires, werewolves and other deadly creatures. Based on the worldwide best-selling book series.

My Thoughts:

August has finally come, and what event am I most looking forward to this month? The release of the movie adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s worldwide bestselling series, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.

I have been really anticipating the movie’s release since last year. I love the books and I’m curious as to how it will look on the big screen. But truth be told, the moment it was announced that City of Bones will be turned into a movie, I wasn’t really expecting a grand spectacle. My initial thought back then was, “How in the world are they going to condense a highly-eventful book into a time-restricted film?” Let’s be honest here. There are a lot of things happening in City of Bones that sometimes, we can’t even remember the right sequence or the exact details of the events. Add to that the number of diverse characters and detailed way of establishing the world of the book; i.e. the history of the Shadowhunters, the downworlders, the accords, the Clave, the Circle etc… So yes, I was excited, but also a little bit worried.

Then came the movie casting… and the most talked about Jamie Campbell Bower as the infamous Jace Wayland. I’m not actually against Jamie playing Jace’s character, but I’m not really happy about it either. I’m the let’s see how he does in the movie kind of girl, and I was really hoping the movie people would buff him up more and make him more Jace-like. In my opinion, Godfrey Gao (Magnus Bane) and Aidan Turner (Luke Garroway) were the actors casted perfectly for their roles based on physical appearance. I was a little uncertain with Jemima West (Isabelle Lightwood) and Robert Sheehan (Simon Lewis). Kevin Zegers (Alec Lightwood), Lena Heady (Jocelyn Fray), Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Valentine Morgenstern) were also fine for me.

Now, the long wait is finally over. I have now officially watched The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. And what do I think about the movie? I have mixed feelings and thoughts towards the movie, and these are still unclear. I was not really expecting so much, so I wasn’t really disappointed with what I saw. There were parts that were really good, and there were parts that weren’t.  To kind of organize my thoughts, I have divided it into the “Okay” points and the “Not So Okay” points. Here it goes… *Warning: Contains spoilers!
I was okay with how the story was remolded. Of course, you can’t all have the book events in the movie. So as far as the sequencing and the way they have rewritten the plot, it was okay. It was good, actually. The people who have not read the book can still understand the flow of the story in general without having to ask a lot of questions.

The special effects and the props were so good! The demons, although not the type I imagined while reading the book, were gross and atrocious, and they were incredibly vicious. The process of marking the skin with a rune wasn’t what I had expected, but it was fine as well. And oh boy! The Institute is standing high and mighty! The Institute I have imagined before was a lot smaller than that of the movie. I guess the people behind the movie did a great job of creating a magical fantasy landscape. The musical scoring and the sound effects were also grand. Both elements really added more feeling and intensity to everything happening in the movie.

How many fight scenes were there in the movie? I don’t know, but dang, those fight scenes were awesome . I believe the intense battles have been completely justified in the movie, especially that of Jace and Valentine at the end of the movie.

Jemima West rocked as Isabelle Lightwood. Although she hadn’t really been that indifferent to Clary, she redeemed herself by whipping those demonbutts in her best bad*ss way, and she really did look very beautiful throughout the movie. Simon was also successful playing the friend-zoned nerdy best friend. Jocelyn, Valentine and Hodge have been great, too, along with Pangborn and Blackwell. Majority of the cast did pretty well.


As I have said, I am neutral when it comes to Jamie playing Jace. I have not accepted him nor rejected him in my mind for the role. But upon watching the movie, I still can’t let it sink in that Jamie is Jace. And the fact that I didn’t like the way Jace had been portrayed made it even harder to acknowledge that Jamie is Jace. Jace is supposed to have a mouth that spews witty remarks randomly; he is supposed to be funny and so full of himself; he is supposed to be annoying yet charming most of the times. But what I saw in the film is Jace talking in what I thought was bored tone, and I just lost it. There were a few lines that had made me laugh, but most of it was bland. And I am so frustrated with it. Aside from that, Jace and Clary should have been given bickering moments to build up their relationship… which now leads me to my second point.

The romance between was a flop. I didn’t even feel anything. It felt a bit rushed. They didn’t even talk that much in the movie, and they were already kissing in the greenhouse? I’ll just stop here before I go too far.

With regard to other characters, I was probably expecting a lot more Magnus than the film had shown. But I guess that was okay. I haven’t really seen a lot of emotion from him, anyway.

Lastly, and probably the largest one to cover, is the movie’s failure to establish several important foundations for better understanding and continuity of the story.

Example: Jace, Alec, and Isabelle are not just a team. They are a family, a single unit who will fight until the end of their lives to protect the ones they love. I think the movie failed to show that.

Another is Hodge’s intention or reason for being Valentine’s accomplice. Yes, he had mentioned being cursed in the Institute. But the whole back story wouldn’t have hurt.

And what did the Vampires want with Clary? From Magnus’ party to the part of Hotel Dumort, the story shifted a little differently from the book - confusingly different. It opened up questions that I think weren’t really necessary, like: Why do the vampires want Clary? Do they need the Mortal Cup as well? Why do they need it? How did they even know that Magnus was having a party? (Sorry, a little pointless, I know!)  And after they have rescued Simon, why did Clary ignore Simon’s bite mark?

Having listed my thoughts and feelings about the movie, I now conclude that The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones was acceptable. For someone who has read the books and who has fangirled over it, I can safely say that the movie did not really ruin the book. Despite the whining I just did, I believe the movie was good. It was fast-paced (not sure if in a good way or bad way), high in fantasy, action-packed, a little romantic (maybe for some, but not me), funny (a little) and had a really good story. The things that I thought were lacking in the movie were probably just because I have read the books and have familiarized myself with all the details. So, to sum up, I give this movie a set of unstable and flickering three stars out of five (Why? Because I’m still not sure if I should really give it three stars.)

Last note: Was it just my bad hearing or did Hodge really say something like this, "If you lie and tell them they're brother and sister, they will be heartbroken."?

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