Saturday, August 17, 2013

Movie Premiere: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

My husband and I were lucky enough to attend The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones movie premiere in Hollywood. It was a total surprise. I won tickets the morning of the premiere, then scrambled and spazzed out the rest of the day, arranging for hubbie to get off work early and my parents to babysit our three kids. This was the first premiere we've attended, and I was over-the-moon to see City of Bones. Cassandra Clare is one of my favorite authors, and her amazing Mortal Instruments series was one of the first to get me back into the Young Adult genre of books, which has created a monster of a reading obsession ever since.
The following day I dragged my kids along with me to see the cast at the Americana for the final stop of their mall tour. It was hot and crowded, but when the cast came out for the Q&A, it was worth it (for me, maybe not for my kids, lol). I loved hearing their banter and watching their interactions. It made me even more of a fan. So intermixed below with my thoughts on the movie are a few pics from the mall tour. Enjoy :)

My premiere tickets for The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones!!!
Pre-Movie Thoughts:
I don't know about you, but I get a bit nervous when Hollywood gets the okay to make a movie from a book I've come to dearly love. It is so difficult to really get the page-to-screen translation that we all hope for. Cassandra's writing, her world-building, and her multi-dimensional characters are world class, and my fear was that the way I envisioned the story in my head would not be represented adequately, or worse than that, would come off cheap and cheesy. But as teasers and trailers started coming out, I felt hopeful. I also was unsure of the casting and how the actors would convey the rich characters that Cassie had created. Make-up can be applied, wardrobe can be created, even hair color can be changed, but can the actor truly grasp the character they're playing? Will their interpretation match what I've created in my head while reading? And since this is the first book of six in the series, will the movie be good enough for them to continue to produce the remainder of the series? After watching other books-to-movies not translate well, I'll admit I had some trepidation going in.

Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Robert Sheehan, Kevin Zegers, Cassandra Clare, Harald Zwart
Post-Movie Thoughts:

Fortunately, THE MOVIE WAS AWESOME! Both my husband and I were honestly impressed by how well the movie came out. He and I both read the book a few years ago, and we absolutely loved how well the movie turned out. To tell you the truth, my husband liked the movie more than the book (no offense, Cassie).

Author Cassandra Clare and Director Harald Zwart

Now, I haven't re-read the book recently, so if you are a purist and have memorized every paragraph and piece of dialogue, I cannot say how your feelings will be. But for me, I know they made some changes, but nothing felt major and the movie maintained the integrity of the book and its story. I will re-read the book before I watch the movie again and see what the difference is. But I will say again that I loved the flow of the movie with the overall storyline, and how it remained true to Cassie's work. Plus it made me extremely happy that it sets things up well to continue on with the remainder of the series, and didn't take too many unnecessary liberties. Not all books-to-movies uphold this, and not only do the movies suffer for it, but make it virtually impossible to continue making the rest of the movies in the series because the original story was so skewed (Eragon and Beautiful Creatures, to name a couple). I am very pleased that City of Bones did not have this problem.

The pacing of the movie was great. I didn't feel any lull in the movie until after the halfway mark, and even that wasn't a big deal. It felt like we went from one action scene or dramatic scene or intense scene to another. The transitions between scenes flowed well and I could easily follow the progress of the story. The action was entertaining, visually exciting, and well scripted. There was one scene where my husband and I looked at each other and were like "why didn't they just do this?" but other than that everything was great. The action should appeal to both men and women. Just because the MC is a girl doesn't diminish the action in any way. If anything, the scenes with Izzy fighting are even cooler (girls kick butt!).

Visual Appeal:
The sets, scenery, CGI (or whatever they used), costuming - it all worked really well in the movie. I felt Cassandra's Shadowhunter world come alive. I felt like I'd been transported into the pages of the book. From Clary's apartment, to the Downworlder club, to the Institute, to the vampire lair, to the City of Bones - it was all truly well done.

Robert Sheehan, Jamie Campbell Bower, Lily Collins, Kevin Zegers

Outside of following the storyline of the book, my other concern was how well the actors would actually portray this group of characters that I have invested so much emotion into from reading these beloved books. There were two actors in particular I was more concerned about, and have had ongoing debates about with some other booklovers (hello Starbooks girls!). So what's the verdict?

Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower):
I have to first confess that when Jamie was cast as Jace, he was not the Jace I had imagined while reading these books. There was just something missing. As photos and teasers and trailers were released, I was slowly warming up to him, but I still had my reservations. Would Jamie really become Jace? Would he be able to embrace the seriousness, the snarkiness, the sexiness, even the vulnerability that is Jace? Well, I can honestly say that Jamie as Jace was a pleasant surprise. He really cast aside my doubts and fears. He completely embodied Jace's character - his fierceness, his humor, his tenderness, his intensity, his heart. I also loved how he delivered some of Jace's funny lines and that the humor was kept in the movie (gotta love snarky Jace). His acting skills really conveyed Jace, and my husband and I were very pleased with the outcome (yes, Kelly, you can gloat now). Is Jamie my book Jace now? Well, no. I still had a vision for someone else (though, honestly, I couldn't name a different actor). But is Jamie my movie Jace? Yes. Jamie, I accept and congratulate you on becoming our beloved Jace on screen.

Clary (Lily Collins):
Lily did a wonderful job playing Clary. I loved her interpretation of Clary's character and what she did with the part. Plus she and Jamie (Jace) had great chemistry on screen, so that made their two characters even more believable. Her look as well as her acting skills make her a great Clary. My husband didn't love Clary in the book (she annoyed him), but Lily's portrayal brought him back into the fold. He liked Lily as Clary better than Clary in the book.

Simon (Robert Sheehan):
Robert as Simon was my favorite pairing. I hadn't seen Robert in anything before, so I had no preconceived notions about him. He captured Simon perfectly for me - from his look, to his actions, to his crush on Clary, to his animosity toward Jace. He was perfect. And he's cute! Then to see him at the mall tour and listen to him speak (oh that accent!), I admit I now have a bit of a crush on him.

Alec (Kevin Zegers):
Alec is a complex character to play, and I really liked how Kevin portrayed him and captured all of Alec's mixed emotions. Plus, hearing Kevin speak about Alec, I like that he gets him, and that comes across on screen.

Isabelle (Jemima West):
Jemima's portrayal of Isabelle was another surprise hit for me. She's my other favorite movie version after Simon. My husband and I both agree that she did an excellent job. Plus the scenes with her and the whip or the flamethrower are just awesome.

Magnus (Godfrey Gao):
Okay, so Godfrey is beautiful to look at. And he's way taller than I thought. We saw him at the premiere and hubbie and I looked at each other and were like "that dude is tall." So looks-wise he is a great Magnus. He's a gorgeous Magnus. As far as Magnus swagger, he didn't quite hit the mark for me. The Magnus in my mind oozes charisma, and Godfrey wasn't quite there. He didn't do a bad job. He just didn't have all of Magnus' swagger I'd hoped for. But my husband thought he was just fine, so hey, what do I know.

Valentine (Jonathan Rhys Meyers):
Talk about gorgeous. Jonathan captured both the beauty and the evil that is Valentine. His acting experience came into play and he did a great job making me believe him to be the evil mastermind that he played.

I'll stop my cast/character analysis there, but you get the point. I was very pleased with the cast's portrayal of my beloved heroes, heroines, and enemies. As with anything, there is room for improvement, but I really have very few complaints, which I am also pleasantly pleased about.

I applaud the first movie of The Mortal Instruments series, City of Bones. The director captured the heart of the book well and was able to transition it from page to screen beautifully. I was engaged from start to finish. I believed the actors became the characters and embraced who they were, delivering dialogue, action sequences, and emotions that I believed. I felt like I was inside my beloved City of Bones, and I commend them on a job well done. This is a great start to these movies, and I hope this means they will all be made. I recommend these to readers and non-readers alike. Unlike some of the other book-to-movie interpretations, with this one I didn't feel like I had to fill in the blanks about what wasn't being said or done on screen. I feel like someone who hasn't read the book will appreciate it just as much as someone who has. And yes, I will be seeing it again... and again.

At the premiere with the hubbie :)

Haven't read City of Bones yet?
Find it here on AMAZON. It's worth the read.
Then get ready for The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
Movie release on AUGUST 21st.
Find showtimes near you here.


  1. Nice review! I didn't enjoy the book, so I probably won't watch the movie, but I loved how you went character by character reviewing them.

    1. Thanks Alisa! My husband only read the first book too and then stopped. But he liked the movie. Go figure ;)

  2. Great review Jenny! I'm glad you talked more about Izzy, because I haven't read much of her in another reviews. I'm so so glad that you loved it! All Starbook girls can be happy with your point of view! I can't wait to see it!!
    I'm dying to see Robbie as Simon! <3

    1. Thanks Lis! I can't wait for you to see it. Robbie is amazing!


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