Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Review - City of Bones by Cassandra Clare + TMI Movie Review *Updated*

Hey Y'all, 

Today I'm reviewing City of Bones by Cassandra Clare as well as the new movie. WARNING: Below the cut there are spoilers for the book/movie. 

On to the reviews! 
Summary from GoodReads

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder -- much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing -- not even a smear of blood -- to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . . 

Review: I first read City of Bones back in the summer of 2010 before City of Glass was released thinking it'd be a way to pass my break times at work but that I wasn't going to let myself get sucked into another series following the Breaking Dawn disaster. Sorry Twihards, I hated the ending of the series and felt totally gypped that there was no Cullen-Volturi showdown to distract me from the lameness of Bella & Co. Anyway, I'm a big fan of Holly Black and I saw that these were recommended on Amazon for HB fans. I read City of Bones over 2-3 days, was impressed and immediately went out and bought City of Ashes. After that I was hooked and couldn't wait to buy City of Glass a few weeks later.

So when I heard that they were finally going to make a movie out of The Mortal Instruments series I waffled from thrilled to nervous. Nervous, because we've all seen the bad book-to-movie adaptations (Blood & Chocolate) and thrilled because of the good adaptations (Harry Potter, The Help). Aside from that I worried about casting. Along with other fans I was concerned about Jamie Campbell Bower being cast as Jace over Alex Pettyfer who had always been my (and many others) ideal Jace. My concerns with JCB were not about acting, he's very talented more so about his elfin appearance. Then I watched a few Pettyfer movies, and God knows Alex Pettyfer is beautiful, but he just doesn't emote very well on screen. So slowly my opinion changed but there were still reservations until I saw the first trailer. After I got done swooning, I promptly joined Team Bower. 

I know, get on with the actual review right?

So this past week when I haven't been watching Breaking Bad on Netflix (SRSLY SO GOOD YOU GUYS!), I've been re-reading City of Bones preparing for today's movie release. I usually hate re-reading series because I know what's going to happen and I get impatient. But I did it anyway and it was still really good. Though Clary got on my nerves a bit more this time, I still thought that the worldbuilding was good - and as the TMI series progresses, in my opinion, the books improve. For real, I read the last book, City of Lost Souls in 8 hours straight, complete with out loud yelling and public flailing. So the basics are: CoB is still good, but not my fave TMI book. =)

NOW, the movie.

I built up the expectations for the CoB movie so much, that I really think I need to see it at least two more times to actually be able to view it as movie goer vs. the fangirl spotting all of the book similarities. Anyone who is worried that the adaptation doesn't stay true to the books can rest easy. No, everything is not the same, and honestly that's a good thing. Pacing for a book versus a movie is very different and the production staff did an excellent job with keeping many of the quippy one liners and other elements of the book in the actual movie and doing away with anything not necessary to the storyline.

The cast was great, so much so in fact that I liked Alec and Simon a lot better than in the books. Don't get me wrong, they grew on me as the series progressed but in the first book my attitude towards them was pretty 'meh.' The standouts for me were Jamie Campbell Bower (Jace), Aidan Turner (Luke), Robert Sheehan (Simon), & Jemima West (Isabelle).

I would have included Lena Headey (CERSEI!), Godfrey Gao (*Magnus*), & Kevin Zegers (Alec) but they all three suffered from a lack screen time. Nothing they could help though, it's just how the first story flowed. But they were all still fabulous. Especially Magnus & Alec. *Squee*

The biggest problem I had with the movie? Valentine's hair. Seriously. What is up with that hair? Anakin Skywalker called, he wants his rat tails back. Other than that I thought that they could have expounded on Luke and his werewolf posse because even though I read the series and I knew what the score was, it seemed random and minimized the effectiveness of Alaric's death scene. Also the seemingly random techno music playing during the Hotel Dumorte fight scene. Normally I wouldn't think anything about it, but the music started abruptly during the fight and caused some major eye rollage. In the end though, all of my gripes are pretty nitpicky issues, and if those are my only problems with the movie I count that as a win.

Now I just need to go back and see it two more times to get a better feeling for it. I know that seems like a cop out, but I really want to like this movie and aside from judging it based on my initial concerns I'm still in too much of a post-movie hangover.  I may update this later after I've had more time to process. I mainly wanted to get this up for any of y'all who are wanting to see it this weekend.

Movie: 2 & 1/2 out of 5 Stars*

Book: 3/5 Stars

ETA: See next blog post for explanation. 

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