Posted by Cassandra T. in City of Bones, Movie Reviews, The Mortal Instruments on August 22, 2013
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is finally out! After watching it today, it is definitely a movie for the fans. It starts off well but one can get disoriented halfway into the show, with the whirlwind introduction to the world of Shadowhunters.
Clary Fray (Lily Collins) is a normal teenage girl living in New York until she witnesses a killing by Shadowhunters that no one else can see. Shadowhunters are warriors who are half angel, half human and fight the constant battle of good versus evil. Shortly after, her mother Jocelyn Fray (Lena Headey) gets attacked and abducted. The attacker is a man called Valentine Morgenstern, who is after an object called the Mortal Cup.
Clary discovers that she has Shadowhunter blood and that her mother kept her bloodline and past from her to protect her. Jocelyn has hidden the Mortal Cup safely for fear of its misuse. Clary must now use her newfound powers to keep Valentine from obtaining the Mortal Cup.
City of Bones is the movie adaptation of the first book in Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments six-book series (Five books are out, the last one is yet to be released). As someone who has read four books of the series, I am familiar with City of Bones’ storyline. However, the movie’s whirlwind introduction to the world of Shadowhunters even throws me, a seasoned reader into a loop, leaving me disoriented at the end.
City of Bones started out well, building suspense up with Clary’s witnessing of a murder in a club and the subsequent attack on her mother, setting up the premises for Clary to discover the world of Shadowhunters. The movie sets are beautiful and elaborately constructed, with rune carvings on the walls and panels throughout The Institute, a safeplace for the Shadowhunters.
However, half-way into the movie things start to get confusing. Introductions to characters and explanations about how the Shadowhunters were formed and Valentine’s motivation were hurried through. It felt like the audience hadn’t identified with both Clary and the Shadowhunter world yet before we were plunged into their chaotic battle of good versus evil.
One really key part in the City of Bones book is where Clary and Jace, increasingly attracted to each other, are told they are siblings. The agonizing of possible incest was weighted on them for most of the book and set the tone for their relationship. It is also part of Valentine’s elaborate plan to get both Clary and Jace on his side to take over the Shadowhunter world. However, the movie condenses this into a quick 10-minute affair, with a weak excuse thrown in by Hodge for introducing them as siblings. I felt it was pretty pathetic for what was the most exciting part of the book.
Also, the supporting characters like Simon, Alec, Isabelle, Magnus Bane and Hodge aren’t really fleshed out, and many times it is unclear what the motivations behind their actions are. It really doesn’t do their characters justice, especially Magnus Bane, whose character is the most original and interesting in the entire series!
All in all, City of Bones is definitely a movie for the fans, much like Twilight was. And the sequel has already been given the green light. So for those who are new to the world of Shadowhunters, you might just want to pick up the books so you know who’s who and don’t get confused when watching the movie!