Thursday, September 12, 2013

Movie Review: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Title: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
Starring: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell-Bower, Kevin Zegers, Johnathan Rhys Meyers
Director: Harald Zwart
Constantin Films
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. Written bySony Pictures Entertainment

I was lucky enough to get tickets to the Johannesburg Premiere of City of Bones. I was a little skeptical, having read some rather scathing reviews online.

I suggest that you approach this review with caution if you don't want anything ruined for you.

However, my feelings ended up being insanely mixed. Here are the good, the bad and the ugly:

The Good
  • The sets: I thought the Institute and The City of Bones was beautifully done. It was very atmospheric and certainly did justice to the novel
  • Clary: Lily Collins did a sterling job as Clary. I really enjoyed her in this role. Even though she has exceptionally large eyebrows (which kept giving me the urge to create a "I don't often use the Internet, but when I do eyebrows' meme).
  • The dialogue: I was pleased that some of the funnier lines from the novel were retained for the movie."Come my faux juggernaut, my nefarious loins!"
  • Alec: Kevin Zegers is simply hot. I wish he had more screentime. That and I loved the hint of things to come with his character.
  • Simon: Simon was probably the best depicted character in the whole film. he was even wearing a "Made in Brooklyn" t-shirt which has an appearance in the novel. For some shallow, stupid reason, I loved that.
  • The over-all cinematography was brilliant. This film was very cleverly filmed and quite artisitic at times.
  • Loved the special effects! The first demon Clary encounters is so creepy!
The Bad
  • Jace: One thing I am thankful for is that he was less of an asshole in the movie. But I do not like Jamie Campbell-Bower. He is skinny and varies from being semi-attractive to sort of ugly depending on the angle of the camera. I really wish Alex Pettyfer (Beastly) had accepted the role.
  • Magnus Bane: Magnus is the BEST part of the books. In the movie he is more like an extra to fill up some screen time. They did not capture his charismatic personality AT ALL.
  • The random rune: In the movie, Clary draws this rune all over the show and at is used as some sort of branding for the Shadowhunters. I vould be wrong, but it seemed that they used this as a marketing tool. So that they could brand merchandise and such. It bothered me.
  • They changed the vampire scene at the Hotel du Mort! Why would they do that? Why?
The Ugly
  • The pace of the plot was rushed at times and seriously slow at other times. This was a 2 hour movie and I really felt this could have been executed better.
  • Some essential plot elements were basically ruined for those wanting to read the next books in the series. Some things were revealed too soon.
  • There was a general element of cheese to the romance. But seriously. No wonder non-fans struggled to enjoy this.
  • Isabelle: I wanted more of her and her character was not developed AT ALL.
  • They left out Church, the institute cat. They also left out Chairman Meow. I suspect they had something against cats. It's all about the small things with me.
My two friends who watched this with me really enjoyed it, saying they liked the whole concept. Neither of them have read the book series, so it does show that non-fans can enjoy the movie as they kept enough storyline and detail in. They would both even go and see the sequel.

I really hope they make a sequel and find a way to make this franchise appeal to a broader audience. I did enjoy this for what it was worth and thought, in spite of some plot butchering here and there, the movie remained somewhat faithful to the characters.

City of Bones is being released 13th of September 2013 countrywide.