Now, I will preface this by saying that if you loved the film and the books and you hate people who didn't think it was anything but perfect (not that I really think that I attract this kind of audience) look away now. Because, while I didn't hate it, I didn't love it either. If anything, I was just slightly disappointed by it. But, to be fair, my expectations were quite high, so in defense of my opinions (other than, you know, free speech and all that jazz) I'm not out to pan it, or hate on it. I'm just here to say what I think and they might not always be good things.
Well, now that we've got that disclaimer out of the way, I suppose it's time for me to actually write something about the film! I think that there was a lot wrong with it, I won't lie, which is really annoying because it would be really great if there could finally be a good adaptation of YA paranomal book so that people can stop hating on them all the time! Literally, all the reviews I've read of it seem to have been especially cruel. And seriously, advertising people, stop comparing things to Harry Potter and Twilight when said things are not like Harry Potter and Twilight! It just makes people want to hate it, instead of wanting to see it! And people just shouldn't compare things to Harry Potter any way because all you're going to do is draw attention to the fact that it is not as good as Harry Potter. Let things be their own things instead of awkward crossovers of other things.
The film itself, sadly, fell flat for me. It felt like, even though it's over two hours, they were trying to fit in so much stuff that they didn't really pull any of it off as well as they could have. They tried to put in some of the humour and wit (which is one of the main reasons why the books appealed to me so much) but it didn't really work because they were also trying to pull of the darker stuff and it didn't fit. They tried to put in the love triangle but they hadn't had enough time to develop the characters and their relationships in such a way that made either the potential romance between Jace and Clary or Clary and Simon just not work. And, personally, I didn't think that Jace and Clary had much chemistry any way, which was disappointing because of how much they kept on going on about their chemistry during casting. Where has it gone, I ask? Because it is certainly not in this film. And that thing about character development stands for all of the characters. I know that it's a film and that there isn't as much time in a film as there is in a book to flesh people out, but there was hardly any time spent showing the relationship between Jace, Isabelle and Alec. Alec and Jace are meant to Parabatai, but that wasn't mentioned at all and there was no time apart from being repeatedly told that Alec was in love with Jace that actually SHOWED that Alec and Jace had know each other for ages and lived with each other and are best friends. Or how close all three of them are. There's so much more to these characters than what we see in the film and they could have done more development, but they didn't, and so all we get are a load of side characters who we are supposed to like, but ultimately end up having no personality and no real purpose in the story.
Oh, and they toned down Magnus. Godfrey Gao did with Magnus what he could, but clearly they couldn't put much of him in either, so we don't get the outrageous, brilliant Warlock we all know and love, but just a Warlock in a blazer and underpants which look like a half hearted attempt to inject the joy that Magnus brings to the books, but doesn't really work. And NO CHURCH.
And, even though I was fully expecting this, there were some points at which it was just so cheesy I laughed out loud. Like, there was this scene where Jace was showing Clary the portal in the Institute (since when was there a portal in the Institute?!) and, like, his disembodied hand is stroking her hair and it was just the weirdest, creepiest attempt at being romantic in a YA film I've even seen. I am still cringing about it. And The Kiss. Oh, The Kiss. It was just so bad. I hated The Kiss. Oh, and actual quote from the film - 'I said I'd never met an Angel before. I lied.' *GAG*
*takes a deep breath* Okay, I promise I will stop slagging this film off now. Just airing my grievances.
There were things that I liked about it. I liked most of the actors, even if they weren't given a lot to actually work with. I liked the way that it looked, apart from the Shadowhunter gear which in reality I thought looked a bit silly rather than badass. But the Institute, and the actual City of Bones (though they spend a grand total of about 3 minutes in supposedly the most important place in the film going by the title) and the runes looked great. I liked the soundtrack. The action scenes were really good (my personal favourite being Jocelyn fighting off two bulky Shadowhunter Henchmen with a frying pan and a fridge door).
It was just watching it on the screen and sitting there thinking that at times it just felt like a parody of itself. Which isn't really a good thing, at the end of the day. I didn't get the same feeling of how amazing this world was as I did reading the books. In this case, the books are definitely better. It just didn't make me feel anything related to the characters or what was happening at all. The film kept on telling me what I should be feeling through the music, but onscreen I wasn't getting the same tension, the same connection, the same concern for these characters that I wanted to have.
Though, even though I was ultimately disappointed, I did have a lot of fun watching it, and fun is the most important thing, right? Unless it's a tragedy. Which this is not. I think. And I know that loads of other people loved it so maybe I'm just the odd one out. Regardless, this isn't even a review. This is just a splurgy-rambly selection of my thoughts, which you might see more of depending on how many films I watch in the future that I want to ramble about.