Despite being a well-adjusted twenty-something, my list of preferred reading material rests in the teen/young adult genre. #noshame So you’d better believe that The Mortal Instruments book series was on my radar for years. But it wasn’t until I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit the Toronto set that I finally read each of the current five novels cover-to-cover. So it’s been about a year since I became a self-professed Shadowhunter. (I know the fandom’s existed since 2007, but hey, give me a break.) And now the time has come for the world to see what I only caught a glimpse of on the set (which was nothing short of amazing).
However, as of this moment, the movie’s NOT being well-received by critics. Variety boasts that The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is a “ludicrous, borderline-nonsensical supernatural concoction with a slightly redeeming sense of its own silliness.” Plus there’s an onslaught of claims that it’s too similar to other big-named franchises. Sorry, but in my opinion, there can be more than one series that includes werewolves & vampires, naive humans and/or potentially incestuous relationships. Just sayin’.
THE CAST: Jamie Campbell Bower NAILED his performance as Jace in my opinion. While there were many negative comments when his casting was announced, he revealed to me early on that it made him “want to prove to these people that say I can’t do this that I really can.” And he absolutely smashed it. JCB completely embodied all of the arrogant and vulnerable aspects of the character, both of which are entirely necessary for the audience’s understanding. Not saying that Lily Collins or Robert Sheehan or anyone else didn’t do their parts for the flick, because they did, but Jamie was perfection. (This is coming from a girl who, like many others, pictured Alex Pettyfer as the male hero.)
THE LOVE: One particular scene that I need to call out happens right after the epic greenhouse (kissing!) scene where Simon catches Jace and Clary mid-smooch. This was basically verbatim to the banter in the book, and it’s beyond appreciated, because you can feel every emotion dripping from the characters, including Jace’s clearly-hurt-but-I’ll-still-act-like-it’s-whatever attitude.
THE PLOT: Despite the love triangle, the story focuses on a likable and believable heroine whose life is turned upside down when she finds out that she’s not the girl she thought she was. Heck, she’s not even human. Instead, she’s got a gift like no other — the ability to create runes — and is part of a line of bad-asses meant to protect humanity. So you’ve got your WTF factor and you’ve got your action right there. Oh, and *SPOILER* her freaking father is the villain. I understand how the ending may be misconstrued to be eerily alike to that of Star Wars what with Clary and Jace’s feelings for one another, and the big reveal from Jonathan Rhys Meyers‘ character, but if you read the books, then you’d know that it’s so NOT like Star Wars in the long run.
Were there parts missing? Absolutely. Simon doesn’t change into a rat, Clary doesn’t slap Jace after he informs her that there was a chance he could’ve killed her after applying a rune to her arm (meanwhile, that’s when he fell in love with her in the novel), etc. But no film can include everything. Otherwise, it’d be, like, 10 hours long. At the same time, there were some parts that dragged — but I firmly believe it’s because there are a lot of elements to explain.
As a stand-alone film, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is one of the better fantasy/YA movies of its time, and I will gladly back up my points if anyone chooses to debate about it even further. (You can reach me @KCubes on Twitter, FYI. I wanna know your thoughts!) Now, I’m just waiting for the weekend to see it once again.
EXCLUSIVE: The Mortal Instruments cast talks runes, glitter and the sequel!