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--- SPOILERS AHEAD ---
I watched this fim with a friend who has never read the book. I, on the other hand, read it years ago, but wasn't interested enough to continue with the series. However, I was willing to judge it as a film on its own merits, not as a book adaptation. By the end of the movie, we were left disappointed. It was rushed, choppy, unevenly paced, and made no effort to define the world it was set in. All the characters could have died and we would have felt nothing because the film did little to make us care them.
FLAWS IN THE FILM:
- The script was so atrocious that we began predicting what characters would say next during the cheesiest scenes. 95% of the time, we were right - word for word. When Jace said to Clary, "I told you I'd never met an angel ", I said, "Please, for the love of god, don't say: 'now I have'". He did. We died a little.
- There was zero character development. Clary had no personality. When we tried to describe her, we could not come up with a single adjective as we knew nothing about this girl. (Actually, that's a lie. When she pulled the mortal cup out of the card in front of the witch who was obviously a demon, and then again in front of Hodge, my friend yelled, "How are you so STUPID?".) Clary was presented as the protagonist even though we were given no reason to root for her or care about her. We. Knew. Zilch. About. Her. (Beyond being prone to dumb and reckless behavior). It didn't help that Lily Collins, while pretty, has no on-screen charisma. She was just a bland attractive girl. The other characters suffered equally. We could tell that Simon was nerdy, Isabelle liked slutty clothes and fighting, Valentine was evil, Hodge was sketchy, Luke was some kind of family friend (why, who knows?) and Jace was the standard romantic lead with a penchant for sappy lines and rescuing Clary. Beyond that, nothing.
- Words like 'the Clave', 'the accord', and others were thrown in without explanation.
- We were expected to believe that the mortal cup was some kind of holy grail even though the movie hardly explained how it functioned beyond a couple of statements about its necessity for making more shadow hunters. After all the build up with no clarification, my friend began to expect that the cup's powers would be demonstrated at the climax, making things clearer. Of course, this did not happen, and she was left unsatisfied. We cared about the mortal cup as much as we cared about the characters - which is to say, not at all.
- The Silent Brothers were never explained. They were just creepy dudes living under a graveyard.
- The weapons were ill-defined. They just did whatever the characters needed them to do at any given time - be it tattooing runes, slaying demons, or drilling magical peepholes through bookcases. They might as well have been Harry Potter wands.
- Clary inexplicably accuses Alec of being in love with Jace even though we saw no indication that he was even gay.
- The Clary and Jace romance felt forced. There was no build up. We were never shown why he would be attracted to her, or why she returned those feelings. When they finally kissed in the garden, it was uncomfortably awkward.
- In a seemingly random act, Valentine wanted Clary to drink his blood from the cup and no one knew why. Said my friend at this point: "Is he Jesus?"
- Loose ends. Simon is bitten by a vampire. At no point in the film does anybody bother to tell him this. Even when he storms out of the institute, Clary doesn't think to say, "By the way, a vampire bit you." We waited for the effects of the bite to manifest - to find out if he was a vampire or not. But in the end, we were forced to conclude that in the world of The Mortal Instruments, being bitten by vampires only improves your eyesight.
- The werewolves only existed to serve as expendable extras in fight scenes.
- Speaking of fight scenes, many went on for far too long. Time could have been better spent on character development so that we actually cared if anyone died in a fight.
- In the ultimate deus ex machina, Clary draws a rune that freezes all the demons. No one else has ever seen this rune. No one figures out how Clary knows how to draw it. It was like the screenwriters realized that their heroine had been useless and needed her to do something powerful to prove why she's the protagonist, since her talents thus far largely involved leading others into mortal peril.
- Why were they using fire to battle demons that looked as if they were made essentially out of fire? Do we spray water to stop a flood?
- The portal in the wall was supposed to take someone to the place they focused on or keep them in limbo. How did Valentine reach out of the portal to grab Clary after he gets shoved in?
- Clary draws a cleaning rune at the end of the movie and magically tidies her apartment. At that point, it just became ridiculous. Are there runes to trim cat toenails and enable WIFI as well?
I thought the whole Twilight franchise was awful but despite the dreadfulness of those movies, the plot was never unclear to even those with IQ deficiencies. I can't say the same about The Mortal Instruments.
First of all you need to know this review is coming from a 39 year old
Male who has never read the books. Having heard the hype that this was
the next twilight series (which I dutifully, but barely endured as a
good husband)... this movie is NOTHING LIKE TWILIGHT AT ALL. Heres why:
This is a movie made for more then just teenage girls and soccer mom's. It's has real action, solid acting, good cinematography, and dwells more on the storyline then romance.
Having never read the Mortal Instruments books, I was a little leery of seeing the movie and being totally lost. My fears were unfounded as the first hour of the show does a solid job of laying out the storyline. The first hour did seem a little long for me, but was well worth it and necessary as it made the last hour understandable and fly by with its non-stop action. This is nothing like what I was expecting after having to endure the twilight films with their horrible acting and cheesy cinematography. As well as multiple one-hit wonders of werewolf/vampire/demon shows that have come out since. This show had legitimate effects, great action scenes, and some really good acting performances. Here's my breakdown:
Effects: From the beginning this film proves it's a step above with cinematography and effects. The demons were gruesome, scary, and awesome! When supposed humans turn to demons, this is done very well. One questionable effect towards the beginning of the show was easily forgotten due to the many excellent effects during the whole show.
Action: Having seen Jamie Campbell Bower on the red carpets just moments before seeing the show, I had serious worries about him being able to pull off a believable action figure due to his skinny frame. Oddly, it was the action scenes where I enjoyed his acting the best and believed he was the main man. On the whole, the fight scenes were very engaging, particularly the ending sequences. There were two times though, I wished they had made the fight scenes a little longer to show more of a struggle to overcome.
Acting: This is where I was most pleasantly surprised. Lily Collins and Robert Sheehan stole the show in terms of solid, believable performances. Jamie did a convincing job and exceeded my expectations, but did fall a little short at subtle times as his skinny frame could not be overcome in the shot. His attempt to be seen as tough when his stature said otherwise caught me at times. I felt like all the performers were engaging though, with the exception of the role of Magnus. I'm not sure if it was his acting or the role they put him in, but it just didn't seem to fit the character he could/should have been. Readers may feel differently here, I was just confused if he was intended to be a tough guy or a joke.
Storyline: Understandably they had to lay the foundation of the storyline, which for the first hour they did. There was a lot of information to take in the first hour and honestly I began to doubt how they were going to take this load of info and tie it all together by the end. I was amazed at how well they did it! The last hour flew by as they did an excellent job of tying in each element and doing it with very compelling drama.
Overall I'd give the movie a B+. Solid acting and action stood out and will make a very satisfying experience for any non-reader who watches the show.
Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments is one of my favorite series and I was so excited to see this movie. I've been to plenty of book-to-movie showings, so I knew not to expect the exact same thing, but regardless, I went in with high expectations. The beginning was... weird (and out of order, but that's just my OCD, no biggie). However, this movie was so horribly different from the book that it lost all of it's value. I don't just mean the events were slightly moderated to save time, I mean they changed the entire plot. Jace wasn't terrible- could've been cockier, Clary was horribly over-dramatic, Magnus was expressionless, and they managed to ruin my favorite character: Valentine. He became a bland, one- sided villain, unlike the ingeniously dynamic character Clare made him out to be. The movie had changes in it that ruptured the foundation of the book and a lot of what it stands for, ruining the ingenuity of the plot and the world that Clare built which had me so enraptured from the beginning. It's a shame because they had such potential with this movie. I still can't understand how they could take such a great story line and decide that it was only acceptable to warp it to a point beyond recognition....
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Words can't describe how disappointing this film was . Cassandra Clare
effed this up . it had the potential of being something good.. lets
start with the characters
Alec (Kevin Zegers) Is your character going thru a language dilemma ? Are you British , or American..& No one other than the fans of the books got the gay vibe off him, so it was balls confusing to everyone else when Clary outed him . 0/10
Isabelle (Jemima West)
Pretty enough for the character, but why change her entire personality from the book? & not to mention her height.. 4/10
Simon(Robert Sheehan) Perfect Simon , from top to bottom But Cassandra Clare,why would you allow an entire story arc change for this character. again other than the fans , no one had a clue why he didn't need his glasses anymore.. and why all of a sudden he is a day walker... where was the rat , where was the birth of a vampire , where was his Jewish jokes!!! this character was the seconded most disappointing portal. 5/10
Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower)
what the eff ... this , this is not jace. Jamie looks like he is a drug addict , scrawny , unflattering , and not to mention the lack of chemistry between jace and Clary on film. Disgusting performance.. #1 most disappointing thing about this entire film was him . 0/10
Clary (Lily Collins) sigh , obviously this was a money grab of a casting choice.
Valentine (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) If you make such a fuss in the book about his white hair ....WHY DOESN'T HE HAVE WHITE HAAAAAIR!!! arg. JRM , was a terrible Valentine . He made that character into a stubborn child , and not the sly evil devil valentine should've been . And really hodge makes up the idea for jace to be your son REALLY ?!?!?!? bull just bull ! 0/10
Jocelyn (Lena Headey) She wasn't that bad actually , stayed true to character , but i blame the script and how is was made that made her character look like a fool. & Oh , and she has a bad case of the duck lips.. 6/10
Now to talk about the movie itself ( i'll keep it short)
Too fast , did not stay true to the book of characters , horrible cinematography, the cheesiest soundtrack, and way too jumpy for fans and newbies alike .
Sorry for the harsh review , in fact its my first and most likely my last.But after watching this movie i was heartbroken and i needed to share my frustration with anyone willing to read this, My grammar & spelling are very poor i realize this , so take it as it is and if you go and see this movie go in knowing its not what your wanting to see.
I just got done watching a midnight showing of City of Bones. First off
I will say that I am a fan of the series and I will try to make this
review as middle ground as possible.
I have spent the last few days reading over threads on the discussion board and once the critics reviews came out I read most of those too. Yes I know a lot were negative and abrasive, and sometimes even childish in their mockery of the young adult genre. I went into this movie as open-minded as possible knowing that there were some changes made to the film.
Firstly, several reviews, both good and bad, had issues with the pacing. The time line is very condensed at the start of the film so things do seem to be happening in a whirlwind. This is because they condensed a few of the events from the novel into a shorter time span to enable the movie not to drawl on and be way too long. I didn't mind how they chose to change things up a bit and thought they tied things together fairly well. I just could see it being a bit hard to follow for the non fans that don't know what was cut out.
I was worried about the romance being played up too much since some reviews were so caught up in the triangle. It was a small part of the bigger story much like in the book. Parts of it did come off a bit cheesy, but overall it did not overpower the movie like I thought it was.
I really enjoyed the action sequences. They weren't too short or too long and I felt they were well coordinated. There's definitely enough action for the guys that will be dragged to this with their girlfriends.
Some of the changes will probably be unsettling to the fans or upsetting because more of the film was different than I was warned or expected. Many reviewers were adamant that it kept to the book most of the time, but I would say it was a pretty even mix.
Like most fans I had a certain idea how some scenes or characters would be and I felt a little let down because characters weren't how I imagined or expected them. Magnus falls flat and lacks the charisma and attitude of his book counterpart. I also felt the way Valentine was played/portrayed did not fall in line with how he was in the book. But everyone who reads has there own interpretations and he wasn't close to he Valentine I had envisioned.
Lastly I feel this is a pretty solid movie for the fans and non readers. I wouldn't say it's perfect, few movies have ever come close to achieving that status. There are a lot of good elements going on here and a lot of decent acting from people I least expected it given the time they had to actually develop the characters. If you have any interest in watching the movie don't let all the negativity sway you. Go in with an open mind and make your own judgement. I won't say I loved this movie, but I did really enjoy it and would definitely see it again.
This was terrible.
Honestly. Terrible. I've seen Jonah Hex and Catwoman at the cinema, (yes I paid real money to see both movies), so trust me to recognise a bad movie when I see it.
This was worse than Percy Jackson. Go see that instead.
I've read the books for this, the entire Book 1 and 2 and I've skimmed the key parts of 3. It does not help. People are saying that it might have been better if you read the books? NO.
This is a horrible adaptation. It's in the vicinity of "Eragon bad."
I am not lying. If you're asking yourself, "should I watch this movie?" the answer is NO. There's nothing to gain. If you generally like bad movies, then feel free, (sometimes you just get the urge for a stinker, this is fact), but otherwise - avoid.
The writing is atrocious. The direction is atrocious. Some of the lines will crawl your blood, even if you're the youngest most movie-naive teenage girl in existence. There are scenes that'll make you feel embarrassed for the actors. I'm serious. There is this one scene that is so cheesy... I can't even describe it, but it's like all the cheese and all the corny from all five twilight movies condensed into 30-45 seconds.
This makes the Twilight Saga look worthy of an Academy Award. Every single joke falls flat. Every single one. Jace is supposed to be the witty one, and he's supposed to have this banter-prone persona - he doesn't. This Jace is almost shy. The dialogue is horrendous. The clichés hit you so hard you start thinking it's a parody halfway through, (it isn't). Geezus.
The Tudors king guy is in it, but he can't save it. I think his appearance was the proverbial nail, in fact. The end is almost incomprehensible as you just lose yourself in a storm of clichés. The movie's plot contradicts all logic and all pathways of common sense, and I'm not exaggerating here.
Now, I grant that the source material wouldn't win any awards either. There won't be any Team Jace or Team Simon T shirts on sale. Not sure how many Clary fans there are in the world, but I'd guess, not much because the original book characters are not the best characters ever. The book's plot isn't the most original thing ever. The books themselves are crap, being honest, but they're tolerable crap. This movie takes that crap and makes crap soup with it. They bring the crap to a boil. They season it... All the better to bring out that smoky crap flavour.
Movie adaptations seldom ever are better than the book, (and I count LOTR as the only exception), but when the bar was set this low, you have to ask "How did they F''' this up?" They had a decent cast. Decent acting too... It's just the writing! It's like the first draft of a screenplay that gets hammered out in a dark latrine while the writer is suffering from food poisoning. Who approves this stuff? Really. Who signed off on this as a good idea. Somewhere along the way, while this movie was being made, someone should have said NO. I feel like this movie should have some controversy to it. Someone should have stormed off the set. I feel like drugs were involved? Maybe?
Mindblowingly bad. The opposite of epic. Painful and embarrassing to watch. Hands down the worst movie of the year.
And there's going to be a sequel?
NO. Say NO, people. Just say NO.
I went to see this movie the other day and since I'm a big fan of the
books I was all so excited to actually be able to see my fantasy on the
big screen. But as the movie started playing everything went down the
hill. They have changed basic dates which play a big part in the whole
story since certain events happen at specific time and they actually
change the whole story. With the exception of the funny poetry scene
with Erik everything else was.. how can I put it politely? Bad. I
couldn't even understand the feelings the characters were supposed to
be feeling before they were spoken out loud. In the books there is a
certain motive, communication-battle- communication-adventure, so
you're able to understand what's going on. But in the movie you just
don't get it. The movie itself is a spoiler, it gives way too much
information which is supposed to stay hidden because it makes the
upcoming story more interesting and breathtaking.
In conclusion, I really think that the books had good potential for becoming a movie without changing everything, which unfortunately happened.
(Read the books, they are amazing. and skip the movie)
Dear Hollywood, make a remake.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There are so many things wrong with this movie, it made me want to
scream. I cannot forgive the scene where she freezes the demons. As a
group, instead of killing the frozen demons, they walk through the
demons and wait for them to unfreeze and have the demons kill the
werewolves. Come on! They can kill off the werewolves with more demons.
There are so many little things like that that just made the movie
stupid for anyone who's older than 15.
Oh, and the incest theme, come on. Put two and two together people, and get a frigging DNA test. Also, when "someone" from the inside has let the demons in, think about it, by a process of elimination, there's 5 of you, 4 of whom were together. Just a thought, it'd be the one who wasn't with you. Ta-dah!
I really wanted to like this movie, the premise is fantastic. The actors did a very good job with such a silly script, and the special effects are cool. It would help if the characters talked about the same thing instead of randomly jumping topics within a conversation.
i never expected "the mortal instruments" to be a great movie, but the
poorly directed steaming pile of crap that it is?! for frag sake, you
would think with the quality cast in the film it would at least
now, i like movies. even bad ones...
however, everything from the shabby ruins that look like sharpie marks to the sadly displayed comic relief, this 2+ hour film begs the question, "is it over yet?"
unfortunately, there's a sequel in 2014. wonder how many actors in the film will be asking to be payed per scale...
in closing (10 lines of text? i could use 10 lines of text to describe "poo" or i can just call it "poo"...) save your money. i just watched a lady go crazy in a mcdonald's drive thru on youtube for free and i give that a better review than the mortal instruments.
Since the success of films like Harry Potter and Twilight, film studios
have been looking for the next young adult book series to adapt. With
five books already out and a sixth on the way, The Mortal Instruments
is latest series to diving into a cinematic adaptation, being more
fantasy, than supernatural romance.
Clary Fray (Lily Collins) is a seemingly normal New York teenager, who lives with her artistic single mother, Jocelyn (Lena Headey). Her best friend, Simon (Richard Sheehan), has a crush for the young woman, but she sees him more as a brother. Clary leads a normal life, but starts to draw a strange symbol, that leads to changes in her life. She begins to see it everywhere, leading her and Simon to a nightclub where she sees people, no one else can. Soon, Clary's mother is kidnapped and her only ally is Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower), a Shadowhunter, a half-angel, half- human creature, who hunts demons. Clary is thrust into a strange world of demons, vampires, witches, warlocks and werewolves and has to open up her own suppressed memories as an evil Shadowhunter. Valentine (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is looking for the lost Mortal Cup that can create more Shadowhunters.
To get the Twilight comparisons out of the way, yes there is a love triangle and a teenage girl has a romance with a supernatural creature. But, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones borrows much more from the Harry Potter, having a world within world, many mystical creatures, having a term to describe humans and focuses on a young character who could be more powerful then she realises and discovers her real past. The character of Alec (Kevin Zegers) is the Rosalie of the film, having animosity to our major character.
Continuing with Twilight comparisons, Clary is dependence on the other characters, but that is more due to the fact she is in a strange world and the Shadowhunters are much more experience. But, Clary is still resourceful, asks the right questions and is a go-getter who wants to get stuck in with the adventure.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is a standard fantasy adventure that, as already mentioned, borrows highly from Harry Potter. This is a film that has many predictable plot points, that we've seen many times before. This is a film that does follow The Hero With A Thousand Faces formula, but also makes you dive head first into its world and mythology, where other series would be much more gradual when bringing you into their worlds.
Harald Zwart of Agent Cody Banks and The Karate Kid (2010) fame took on the directing duties and he makes a darker film to his previous efforts. Zwart brings in Gothic visuals throughout the film, from the use of a catacomb that is run by creatures with sewed up mouths and the Shadowhunter's being like a church: but Institute's interior looks very much like Hogwarts. There are some gruesome moments (even for the PG-13 rating) involving the demon dog and the extra limbs demons can grow. But despite all this, death is kept to a minimum.
While The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones does have Judo-Christian iconography with its use of angel statutes and paintings, this is a film that actually side-steps being be a Christian, saying all religions are valid and avoids any mention of God or the afterlife.
The acting for the most part is decent enough, though the dialogue is predictable and a little clichéd at times. We do get to see Clary transform from a regular teenager to a Shadowhunter wearing a short dresses, a leather jacket and thigh high boots. While Campbell Bower brings a sardonic wit to Jace and there is strange aspect that all the Shadowhunters speak with English accents whilst the werewolves are Irish. Actors like Headey and Jared Harris do offer a little gravitas to proceedings but there are really extended cameos with the young actors being front and centre.
Zwart did show his action credentials when he directed The Karate Kid; but he seem to regress for his follow up film. The action sequences are for the most part fairly bland, typical fare. But Jemima West's Isabelle has some moments with a whip and looking really bad-ass when she has a flamethrower. Hell, give her a film.
The special effects are nothing to write home about. There are not bad, but due to the limited budget the digital looked obvious at times, particularly the werewolves. Yet, the demons near the end of the film does have a cool, glowing effort and have a similar look to Kronos' minions in Wrath of the Titans.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones has been have a torrid time with mainstream critics, but in all honesty, it is a perfectly serviceable fantasy adventure that is better to the Twilight series it has been compared to and will please fans of the novels.
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