I finally got to watch the movie version of The City of Bones this weekend. I would have seen the thing when it came out, but I couldn’t get anyone to go with me. Some of my friends are fellow readers/fans of the books, but the stinky reviews scared everyone away.
But I was undaunted. Some of my favorite movies are loathed by critics. Of course, I was a little worried about Jamie Campbell Bowers, whom I’d only seen as a glowering Volturi vampire who wore too much makeup.
It was clear in the first few minutes, though, that the filmmakers for some reason decided to ignore the plot of the book in favor of just pulling out the nouns:
Shadowhunters! Mortal Cup! Angels! Demons! Silent brothers! Portals! Magic coffee!
I’m pretty curious whether this business made any sort of sense to someone who hadn’t read the book. I’m guessing not so much.
This list could be longer, but these are, for me, the standout moments:
This film showed a lot of faith in its audience right out of the gate. For example, the sign for the club Pandemonium breaks the word into three parts so that it’s really super clear that the name contains the word DEMON.
Uh, folks, most of the people buying tickets for this movie like to read. Entire books. Pretty sure most of us don’t need the Hooked on Phonics treatment. A lot of us probably even know that Clare is referencing Milton’s Paradise Lost.
2. Jace wasn’t funny anymore
He was, however, extremely concerned about his hair. And also, if there is another outing, please make sure he keeps his shirt on. That, or feed the kid a whole bunch of sandwiches or something.
3. Simon doesn’t get turned into a rat.
What’s that about?
There was surprisingly little romance, but the one big scene we did get?
Glowy CG flowers, possibly leftover from Avatar, and a Demi Lovato song.
I just can't even.
I just can't even.
5. Abandon all logic, ye who enter here
In keeping with the nouns from the book, Jace takes Clary to see the Silent Brothers, whose masks seem to have been purchased at Party City. Clary remembers a whole bunch of stuff, then passes out for the fourteenth time. At which point Jace announces that the spell blocking her memory is too strong! It must be broken by the warlock who put it there!
Wha-huh? Yes, the girl just had four minutes of flashbacks, so clearly the memory block is still working great.
6. Listen all y’all, it’s a sabotage
In the final few minutes of this carnival ride, Hodge says to Valentine “If you lie to them and tell them they’re both your children...”
...thus effectively destroying the entire plot of book 2. So the good news seems to be, they aren’t going to even bother making another one of these.
Perhaps somewhere in Hollywood right now they’re on the hunt for another book filled with lots of cool-sounding nouns.