Title: The Mortal Instruments – City of Bones (Official Site)
Tag Line: There is a world hidden within our own
Release Date: 23 August 2013
Runtime: 130 min
Genres: Action | Adventure | Drama | Urban Fantasy
Series or Standalone: Series
Where Seen: Theater
Production Company: Constantin Film Produktion, Don Carmody Productions, Unique Features
Distributed By: Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions
Director(s): Harald Zwart
Writer(s): Jessica Postigo (screenplay), Cassandra Clare (based on the novel by)
Stars: Lily Collins (Clary Fray), Jamie Campbell Bower (Jace Wayland), Robert Sheehan (Simon Lewis), Kevin Zegers (Alec Lightwood), Jemima West (Isabelle Lightwood), Lena Headey (Jocelyn Fray), Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Valentine Morgenstern), Aidan Turner (Luke), Godfrey Gao (Magnus Bane), Jared Harris (Hodge)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The Mortal Instruments Series Order (assuming based on books)
Film 1: City of Bones
Film 2: City of Ashes (~2014)
Film 3: City of Glass
Film 4: City of Fallen Angels
Film 5: City of Lost Souls
Film 6: City of Heavenly Fire
I am always a bit afraid when Hollywood announces that they’ll be turning a book that I enjoyed into a movie. The Mortal Instrument Series (or at least the first three) are what I fondly call book crack and I blitz read them all. They aren’t perfect but there was just something about them that made it so I couldn’t stop reading. As a movie adaptation I think that the writers and director did a good job in bringing this complex world to life. Its hard to cram an almost 500 page book into a 2 hours movie but they managed to do it without destroying too much of the source material. Though, I will admit that things did feel a bit rushed at times but that could just be because I knew all the other little tidbits that should have been included.
I did notice that there were characters missing, notably Alec and Isabelle’s parents, and while I missed them I wasn’t crushed by their lack of appearance. I thought that Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower did a really great job as Clary and Jace. Jamie nails that cocky behavior that is the essence of Jace but also is able to show his vulnerability as well. He also excelled at Jace’s one liners and would often get me to laugh at all the right moments. I did feel that Kevin Zegers appeared too old to be Alec and it was always a bit weird to see him trying to be a teenager. And Godfrey Gao was totally underutilized as Magnus Bane there could have been so much more done with this character. His one screen appearance wasn’t as flamboyant and over the top as I’d have expected and as my friend kept saying after, “where were the blue sparks?”
As for Valentine, I think that Jonathan Rhys Meyers did a good job in the role but he just looked so young for it. Though I did love how when it was revealed that he was Clay’s dad that an audience member gasped very very loudly. My friend and I had a really hard time keeping it together when it happened as we just burst out into laughter. Which totally wasn’t appropriate for the drama unfolding on screen. But that’s part of what I love about movie adaptations, they’ll bring in people who haven’t read the books and so they have those surprises ahead of them. Its like reading a book for the first time, though not as good, and its something that is lost when you already know the story.
Where City of Bones lost me, was at the end. I was all into the movie and the world and didn’t mind the early on changes because the effects were so well done. And the essence of the book were all still included. But the end just felt off. It wasn’t just that where the big climatic battle happened was different than in the book but it didn’t feel natural or real. Many of the lines felt so forced and I hated that one of the bigger plot twists in the books was completely outed in a very poorly acted scene. I get the why of it but still didn’t like it. Overall though I did enjoy this movie and don’t feel like I wasted my money to go see it. The time passed really quickly and it didn’t seem like I was there for 2 hours.
My recommendation: Worth it to see in theatres, but would make a great DVD rental as well.
*Images are not mine, they are official movie stills found using google.