City of Bones isn’t one of my favorite books but I think it’s a very interesting series with so many interesting aspects that could easily be made into a big cinematic experience. Clary and Jace are good characters and their relationship is definitely a complicated one. Of course, I was really interested in seeing what they’d do about that cliffhanger ending that could possibly turn away audiences if a second movie was ever in the works. Now that I’ve seen the first movie, I’m not so sure I want to see City of Ashes made in this same way.
From the beginning I had my doubts. Book to movie adaptations have been really hit or miss lately. I’ve come to terms with the fact that a lot of different changes are going to come in these movies and perhaps some things will be added in. But when it comes to City of Bones things got ridiculous pretty fast. Things that couldn’t possibly have happened in the books, that were never in the world-building that came with the creatures, Shadow Hunters, and everything in between, were thrown into this movie. Sometimes I just found myself staring at the screen wondering why someone thought it’d be okay to completely redo the lore like that.
Jamie Campbell Bower wasn’t and never will be my Jace. He’s supposed to be the most attractive guy around and know it; that’s one of the important aspects of his character. Bower doesn’t do that for me. At least he didn’t have to try to perfect an accent for this role; I’m still unsure why they suddenly decided all of the Shadow Hunters had to have accents. It was odd and didn’t do anything for me.
I really liked Simon, Robert Sheehan, partly because I’ve seen him in other things and already knew that he’d be able to take on this role. I wish that more of him had been shown and know that if they ever did make the second book into a movie, they’d definitely be able to capitalize on his abilities.
And Lily Collins as Clary ended up being disappointing as well. I tried so hard before the film as released to be impartial about the decision to cast her and ended up failing. I never felt like I could relate or empathize with her in the movie. Part of it was the writing, I must admit. It seems like the writers of this movie liked forcing the characters to make improbably dumb decisions. (Let’s temporarily freeze a herd of monsters and walk delicately through them instead of killing them!) But Collins wasn’t Clary. She was more like a diluted, distorted version of her.
If you’re a fan and tempted to watch this adaptation like I was, I suggest saving yourself the time and assuming this will be as disappointing as it looks to be. I didn’t even enjoy the score and that’s something I usually don’t even need to think about while watching a movie unless it’s so awesome it demands notice. This one seemed to have misplaced itself at all the wrong moments and favored cheesy pop songs to ruin scenes from the book. Despite a few good action sequences, a few scenes I’d really wanted to see come to life, and Robert Sheehan, I say you should let this movie pass on quietly and hope that eventually they’ll try to redo this.