Alright, so last night, I caught a late showing of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. I have been a fan of the book series for years, so it shouldn't have been a big shocker that I was there on opening day. And when I arrived home late last night, I had a lot to say. Very poignant and witty things. And I couldn't shut up about it. After seeing movies that I anticipate for years, I tend to have a lot of pent up energy. Unfortunately, because I stayed up half the night, rolling around ideas of how to say those things, and not just writing them down (my husband hates it when I stay up on the computer), I ended up forgetting a good deal. So you can blame him for the lack of awesomeness of this post. And I guess you will just have to believe me when I say, my comments were Gooood! And you just have to settle for the few things that I still remember. And just for fun, since I couldn't quite get my head around this review, I'll give you two options, the long or the short. Read one, read both, it's fine by me. :) But here it goes.
The short, sweet, version:The awesome dialog was killed by lack of acting and rushing through the scenes. But the action and chemistry between the actors was spot on. Jamie Campbell Bower is not a bad Jace and Robert Sheehan was awesome as Simon. I give it a 3 out of 5...
The extended cut:First things first. I'm going to start by saying that, if I had to give it a "Star" rating I'd give it 3 out 5. Not because I'm a purist (which I am, in most cases), and they didn't stick to the book(which they did), but because I am also a realist and I felt, in some instances, it's a good thing to divert from the book when the need arises. And believe me, in this case, there was need.
It occurred to me that they took so much time and extra dialog (But good dialog nonetheless. I can see how they didn't want to cut any.) trying to stick to the book, that it was all delivered too fast. It was so rushed that, instead of a movie set, I could all but imagined the actors just sitting around a table, reading lines. No real emotion or dramatic pauses involved, just doing a, quick, read through of the script, mostly monotone, and fast...Not every scene was that way, but there were times where it seemed like I was listening to a fifth grade play. A play where most of the kids didn't want to be there, the teacher is feeding them lines from behind the curtain and just wanted to get it over with so they could go out for ice cream.
In fact, to go with the lack of emotion (or acting) they seemed to go out of there way to remove it!
In one of the early trailers, when Clary asked Jace something like"Why can I see you and no one else can?" And Jace responded, in a deep voice "Because you're not a mundane." (Extra emphasis on the word, mundane.) That was a good scene! It had emotion and weight. Unfortunately, in the final cut, they chose to switch it to a different take where it was all flat and emotionless.
And it wasn't just the dialog between the actors that played Clary and Jace that was, at times, semi flat, but even some of the more seasoned actors. Actors who I've seen in other shows and KNOW they can do better. They may have had the right "look" they needed for the role. (Exempt Kevin Zegers, he may have nailed the feel of the character, but he was just too old to play an 18 year old.) And some, even the ability, but it just didn't work consistently throughout the whole movie.
Who knows, maybe it wasn't the fault of the actors so much as it was the fault of the editing. Maybe the editor was given a copy of the takes that were NOT suppose to be put together, by mistake. And by the time it was all done, they didn't have the time or budget to fix it. Or, another option could be that they spent so much money on special effects that they didn't have enough of a budget to go back and "fix" the scenes. I don't know!
There are a few more things I thought of last night, but I can't remember what they were. So I will move on to what I thought actually worked. And since this is getting long, I'll stick to just the big things.
Even though it could have been the reason the editing was messed up, the special effects were very good and very creepy... just what I want in a movie about a world with monsters and demons. :D
And surprisingly, Jamie Campbell Bower's, Jace, won me over. Was he what I envisioned in my mind while reading the book? Umm, No! BUT, I can see why he was cast. When he wasn't responding to the tail end of an all but unfinished line, he had the right attitude and portrayed a good, believable, Jace. And despite the, too fast, dialog, there were moments of believable chemistry between him and Clary, played by Lily Collins.
Along with a good Jace, cames good fight scenes. (who knows, maybe that's where their budget leaked, too) They were a lot of fun and kept the pace of the movie. They also helped convince me of the ,aforementioned, "Jaceablity" of JCB.
As mentioned before, they did stick to the book. I know I said that doing so was one of the bad things, but it was also good in the sense that, it kept it well balanced. It is a great book. It wouldn't have been picked up as a movie if it didn't have potential, right? So it did have a good combination of action, romance, and best of all comedy. And it was nice that the movie was able to transition that from the book to the screen.
Speaking of comedy, if they did a decent job casting Jace, they did an even better job casting Simon! Robert Sheehan was the perfect Simon. He was one of the few actors that exceeded my expectations. He had the right look. He had great comedic timing. Best of all, he didn't rush his lines, and if he did, it was appropriate for the scene. He was perfect.
All in all, though, now that I've seen it on the big screen, I don't know if I will go back to a regularly priced theater to see it again. Once was enough. Although I'm sure I will buy it when it comes out on DVD.
As I was leaving the theater, a question came to mind. A question regarding some of the book-movie adaptations of late. It's sort of a crass question but I don't know any other way to ask it....
Before a movie is released I'm sure there are people who are asked to view it. These people, are they so paranoid, star struck, or even scared of the plug being pulled, that they don't have the balls to tell those in charge, or those who made the movie, that what they just made, pretty much sucked? Or at the very least that it was good but there were aspects that could easily be improved?
I know,as a fan girl, I would rather be disappointed that a movie's release date is pushed back a few months than see a movie that was pieced together and just "good enough" to meet the release date.
I guess I should add, in conclusion that, by no means do I think this movie (completely) sucked, but I will say that with sharper editing and better directing of the actors (all they had to do was slow down the dialog and make room for some emotion), this could have been a much, much, better experience.