As a huge fan of The Mortal Instruments books series, I was looking forward for months to finally see this movie adaptation of City of Bones, but couldn't help being wary. I expected so much from this movie that I was really afraid to be disappointed by anything. Thankfully, I found The Mortal Instruments – City of Bones truly faithful to the book written by Cassandra Clare.
Just as in the book, the movie begins with a setting up of the main characters : we meet the heroine Clary Fray, her mother Jocelyn and her best friend Simon in a Brooklyn appartment. They all live what seems to a normal life, until that day when Simon and Clary decide to go in a nightclub, the Pandemonium, where Clary sees some young people wearing black clothes kill another man. She screams, but nobody did notice this dreadful scene: even Simon thinks she has imagined it.
But the day after, she sees the blonde haired guy who murdered the other man and directly realized it couldn't be a coincidence: running after him, she learns that Jace is a Shadowhunter, and that the boy he killed last night was a demon. When her mother is kidnapped by others Shadowhunters, Clary has no other choice but to follow these young people she is the only one able to see.
Transforming more than 500 pages of a book into a movie isn't an easy thing to do, but the director Harald Zwart managed it brilliantly. First of all, the big deal was to find actors who could well embody the complex characters of Clare's book and then satisfy the whole « TMI fanbase » already existing. And the actors fit their characters so perfectly that any disappointment will soon vanish.
Clary Fray is a brave and quite stubborn heroine played by Lily Collins (Phil's daughter, already seen in Abduction with Taylor Lautner or Mirror Mirror with Julia Roberts) who meets the sarcastic and arrogant Shadowhunter Jace Wayland, played by Jamie Campbell Bower (seen in Sweeney Todd, Harry Potter, Twilight). For those who had some doubts about these two main characters, just go see the movie: they couldn't have found better actors to play these roles. They are both impressive and really seem to have been made for this.
I was just as convinced by the others : Simon, the good and faithful friend embodied by Robert Sheehan, Isabelle, the badass girl played by Jemima West or Alec, distant and cheerless, played by Kevin Zegers. The only surprise was the blonde-haired and scary Valentine, embodied by the dark-haired Jonathan Rhys-Meyers... but he managed to be so frightening and heartless just as in the book that the hair-color was no longer a problem anymore.
The book purists are going to be surprised to see that some parts had to be cut, but the main scenes and dialogues are there, and well adaptated to the big screen. Plus, the fight scenes are particularly realistic and thrilling, all the actors invested a lot so that they would be able to do as many stunts as possible themselves, as Jamie Campbell Bower explained in an interview : « I’ve wanted to do a hundred percent of the stunts and everything like that […] And I’ve pushed myself further than I’ve ever push myself before. »
Another thing that jumps out at first sight is the chemistry between the actors, the same than the one between the book's characters, which can be felt even through the screen.
Whether you have read the book or not, City of Bones is going to transport you in another world and you won't be lost at all : everything is well transcribed, relationships between the characters are obvious... This movie is undeniably one of the best book adaptation ever with the Harry Potter saga.
Exciting, funny, even a bit romantic without being smarmy at all... The Mortal Instruments – City of Bones is not only going to please the fans of the books' series, but also all the people who liked Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, the Twilight saga or other fantasy and sci-fi movies.
The last good thing to know about this movie is that the filming of the adaptation of the second book is planned for end 2013... story continues, Shadowhunters!