Slightly contrived--but entertaining, wholesome, and delightful for fans of the books!
As a tremendous fan of the book series and an avid follower of Rotten Tomatoes, I went into this movie with extremely low expectations. As all good movie-goers know, a film can never encompass the detail, emotions, or even, the plot, of its source material (i.e. the Percy Jackson film series).Therefore, I literally sat in the theater, forcing myself to scrutinize every cinematic and plot-oriented to find some fault in it. After two hours I can safely say, I was not as disappointed as I was led to expect. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones manages to not only include 90% of the events from the story, but also incorporate the nuances which made the film all the more enjoyable. The actors worked fine with the material they were given. Jamie Campbell Bower is impeccable as Jace, playing the perfect narcissistic, protective, tortured hero. His lines were delivered with Jace's trademark wit, and his mannerisms were as intense and delicate as they were described in the book. Robert Sheehan was the passionate, insecure, bookish, comical, caring Simon Lewis that many readers know and love. While Lily Collins wasn't fantastic in her role (partly due to her overusage of heavy breathing to depict a traumatic situation) she still managed to express the spunk and occasional moments of intelligence and quick-thinking exhibited by Clary Fray (particularly in a scene where she was faced with a demon). The dialogue was crisp and humorous; it sometimes dipped in the cheesy slop that is recycled in many sentimental films, but moments when this occurs are easily forgiven against the other elements in the film. Such elements include the remarkable special effects, which painted demons and Downworlders and Shadowhunter realms in such clarity, it is easy to believe they actually exist, and difficult not to grimace when you see them in their various grotesque forms. In all honesty, the film's main flaw rests in its sequencing. For viewers that aren't acquainted with the books, they will most certainly be puzzled by the constant stream of events which occur quickly and with little to no explanation. The history and role of the Shadowhunters is explained concisely, but fleetingly, which may cause their purpose to become forgettable. Even knowing the books extremely well, I was confused during certain scenes in regards to how characters got into a certain situation, how one event lead to another, etc. Several aspects of the film were done heavy-handedly concerning the scene transitioning (some of which was overly-dramatic and sometimes laughable), the battle scenes (which, as awesome and BA as they were, were overlong and tiresome), and the interactions between characters (which usually had a similar theme, but were choppy because the camera went between one pair of characters' situation to the other's, and created a uneven parallel between them). Overall, the Mortal Instruments is an engaging, adventurous, and funny film, which will delight many die-hard fangirls for its plot accuracy and character relationships. However, if you have not previously read the book, I would NOT suggest going to see it, because many things will be unexplained, rushed, and confusing, and you will easily become one of the film's harshest critics (much like the critics collaborating with Rotten Tomatoes). The sexual content is relatively low in comparison to the books; there is only one kiss between the characters, and its not as passionate/intense as it could be. However, the violence and horror elements can get pretty gruesome and cringe-worthy. All in all, this film is definitely spot on for fans of the books who are 12 and over.
What other families should know