I have been very fortunate that I can say that I attended a screening of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones on Monday 19th of August in London. Being from Scotland, nothing like this happens, so to be sitting here writing a review about possibly the best book to movie adaptation I have seen is really quite mind blowing.
Because there is both myself and Sarah, we will post separate reviews, and here is mine.
Be warned, I will write a brief no spoiler review, and then go into the whole thing!
So for all of you lovely Shadowhunters waiting to see CoB tomorrow or even over the weekend, I can easily tell you that this is probably the best book to movie adaptation that I have sat through. Maybe I am a little biased (who wouldn’t be?), however, both the directing and acting in this movie really does set it apart from the other book to movie adaptations. Harald was able to keep most of Cassandra’s story in the film, which is crucial to us fans. There is of course, some changes, and I know some people will be disappointed about that, but there is only so much that Harald can do. He did a fantastic job, truly fantastic, and I wouldn’t change what he has done with our beloved books.
As for the acting, well, it was on-point. Even though the book isn’t a comedy, there is of course comedic moments that stay with us from the book, for me, my favourites were all kept in the books, and much more was added (much to my delight!).
I have to say, although he is not my favourite character, Robert Sheehan really brought Simon to life. I love Simon as a character, but Robbie really made me want to go back, read the books and really analyse his character more. He was so witty, and I could not help but laugh at little comments he made. Even his facial expressions made me giggle! (which I am sure was annoying the press sitting behind me!)
Lily Collins is without a doubt the best Clary we could have got. Lily has said countless times that she is totally bad-ass, and it truly showed in the movie. I couldn’t fault her in any way, and she really did an amazing job.
Jamie Campbell Bower. Well, wow. I applaud him for his acting in this film. I knew he’d do an amazing job in this role, and I couldn’t wait to see it for myself. He really brought Jace’s sarcastic mannerisms to the film and I was so thrilled with him. He was really amazing in this role.
There was 3 actors I was VERY excited to see in this film. They were Jemima West, Aiden Turner and Godfrey Gao. Jemima West was absolutely amazing, she was awesome in the fighting scenes, and I loved how she brought Isabelle to life. Aiden was also fabulous as Luke. I felt like I hadn’t seen enough of both him and Jemima in the trailers and to get very excited over them, however I was amazed by both of their acting. Before I’d gone into the film, I had seen a lot of comments about Godfrey not quite bringing it as Magnus. I can see how people do think this, however, the character of Magnus really didn’t get enough screen time for Godfrey to really bring it to the table. I don’t think Godfrey could have given us much flamboyancy in his time allocated, and believe he can really do it in the future movies! I still loved him as Magnus, he is exactly how I pictured Magnus in my head.
Okay, I’ve given you my breakdown of the film, director and the actors. Now it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty, so if you haven’t seen the movie yet and don’t want to be spoiled, then do not read on.
Overall, I believe that the film was as true to the books as you can be. It is impossible to have the film EXACTLY like the book without making it 100hours long (which of course – I wouldn’t mind!). There was a couple of scenes missing, but again, that’s expected. Personally, I felt like Isabelle and Alec didn’t get enough screen time, and their relationship with Jace isn’t shown as much as I’d of liked. This you can see with the scene where Isabelle is making soup and everyone laughs at her cooking. It’s a very familial scene between the Lightwoods and Jace.
One relationship I loved was Simon and Isabelle’s. Although their romance doesn’t kick off straight away, you can tell there is a good connection between them already, both on screen and off, which is really exciting for the future movies. I think it will be really nice to have a gradual romance for this ship!
I loved that they changed the Hotel Dumort scene to having both the Lightwoods in it too. It gave them more screen time (yay!) and it REALLY showed the action I had been anticipating. Jemima is totally kicking butt as Isabelle in this scene and I love to see that! Kevin was also great in this scene, loved how it did show that he was always saving Jace and Isabelle’s backs when they were in trouble.
I can honestly say that the Greenhouse scene was my favourite. It was so sweet without being cheesy with a little bit of comedy involved which made it so much better than I expected it. The ONLY thing I would chance about this scene is to have Jace say ‘to love is to destroy, and to be loved is to be destroyed’ because that is such a crucial part of Jace as a character. It is mentioned later, however by Valentine.
The Madame Dorothea demon scene was interesting to me. I knew it had been changed, but I didn’t know in which way. I did like that Isabelle and Alec were using the sensor so we could see how that worked. I liked how Jace was playing the piano, relating it to a previous scene in the film regarding tones that irk demons, which is exactly what happened with Madame Dorothea. CCH Pounder was fabulous not just in this scene but all that she was in. I LOVED that Simon was the one who came to the rescue in this scene, he at least got a little bit of action which was fun. I really did get a shock with the way Alec was stung in the back of the neck – it was pretty brutal!
I loved how we were shown Clary’s rune making ability sooner rather than later when she used the rune to freeze the demons. I loved how Isabelle reacted to it too, and the scene with the demons was very interesting. Alaric’s death was swift, and I loved seeing Luke fight for his second in command after he was killed!
I do think the way they have done the sibling twist was good. I do think it wasn’t very clear that Hodge was suggesting to fool Clary and Jace into thinking they were siblings, as it may be hard to pick up if you’re not listening for it or not paying attention. It was the best way they could do it in my opinion.
I think my biggest ‘oh my god’ in the film was Valentine almost killing Jace. When Valentine held Jace up to the sword being held by the statue I gasp and actually panicked for a second because I had heard they had changed the ending. (I knew they wouldn’t kill Jace, specifically, however, I was still a bit worried for my favourite character!) I loved how Clary acted in this scene by saving the day in the end, and kicking Valentine into the Portal. The fight scene that built up to this was fabulous. It just showed the audience how crazy Valentine is by basically beating his daughter and supposed ‘son’, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers did a great job!
There was only two things that I really wondered why they did, and one was killing Hodge. He was killed at the end of the movie, and he had a good death considering what he had done earlier in the film by stealing the Mortal Cup and getting Valentine into the Institute, however I’m not sure how this is going to play out in future films for instance City of Glass having Simon in the cells with him, and also Sebastian killing him to stop Hodge from telling Jace the truth about his parentage. (but someone pointed out to me that Hodge could still be alive, but from the looks of things, he isn’t)
The other thing I wondered about was having the scene that was supposed to be on Blackwell Island in the Institute, and while in the Institute, Valentine was able to get demons into the Institute. I felt like there wouldn’t have really been a need to change that scene from the book to fit into the movie, however I still liked the scene!
Overall I give the film an A… or a 4.5/5. It wasn’t perfect, which was expected, but I just felt like the ending could have been more truthful to the books, but I loved it all the same, and they did their best with it to make it work.
The directing, sets, and of course the acting was amazing and I can’t wait for you all the experience what I did. A huge round of applause to everyone involved in the film making process as you’ve made this Shadowhunter a very happy bunny!
I hope that all the fans enjoy it as much as I have, and let me know what you do think of the film tomorrow when you go and see it!!