I didn’t think I would say this after how much hatred boiled up from the depth of my soul after ending Cassandra Clare’s novel, but I actually enjoyed the movie adaptation of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.
Let’s just get it out there first thing: the ending of the book sucks. Cassandra Clare asks a whole lot of readers by expecting the majority to stick around to see what happens next after dropping the bomb that she does in this love story, and I was definitely not one of those people willing to waste my time if that’s how she was going to play it. Supernatural teen dramas are my guilty pleasure, but no amount of the paranormal happenings in this world is enough to allow me to forgive this ending. In other words, if I were a book burner, this would have been tossed into the flames first, and rather violently at that (followed shortly after by The Spectacular Now).
So thank goodness the movie came at this part of the story a different way. The way it is handled might bring about some questions on its own as it tries to maneuver around what is still required of it going forward, but I am much more willing to accept this than had they stuck to the book version. To expand on this, I was just glad the film came at the book differently on the whole, and not just in the end. The events are moved around and changed in order to keep the pacing of the film moving forward at a steady pace, as well as to keep the overall runtime short seeing as it cannot ask as much of us as Harry Potter can, and these changes don’t seem to be detrimental in the slightest to the overall story. If anything, it actually made this world a little more acceptable as it was tamed down somewhat.
Best of all, Clary is a completely different character here. On paper Clary seemed far too difficult of a character as she stomped her feet and pouted about her situation, whereas here she just seemed more willing to accept it. It could have been the influence of the humor that was pulled into this adaptation, but I think a large thanks goes to whoever decided to cast Lily Collins in this role. The only other strong memory I have of her is in her representation of Snow White in Mirror, Mirror, but after seeing her in City of Bones it is safe to say that I want to see her in everything. She just brought a new side to this character that was missing the first time I spent time with her as Collins seemed completely real in how she handled the situation she was tossed into as it overwhelms her at first until she is forced to accept it, all the while not overdoing it. And I was able to sympathize with her this time around, whereas before I was mostly just annoyed.
I’m going to keep this short seeing as nothing I will say will change anyone’s mind about whether to see this film or not, but I will say that if you were like me in not being a fan of the book then consider giving the film a chance. There are still some flaws (such as the distracting music cues in certain scenes) and the more I think about it the more I can pick at, but when you get down to it the changes to the story, characters, and handling of the love triangle place this film high above what I was expecting.
Final Grade: B-/B Follow @BewareOfTrees