Another week, another rant. Let’s talk about the City of Bones adaptations!
The prompt for week three has us comparing both City of Bones adaptations and y’all (it’s okay, I live in Georgia. I’m allowed) I got some FEELINGS. Yes, SHOCKING news. *sarcasm alert* It took me a while to figure out how to approach this one. My feelings on each adaptation are a pretty mixed bag, so I decided to make a pro/con list to better explain my irrational opinions.
DISCLAIMER: I’m not fully caught up with the television show. I’m only halfway through season one on episode nine, so this list was compiled with the information I know so far.
Background and Set Design
First of all, I’d like to say that I’m not a movie buff. Talking about technical things like set design isn’t something I normally do, but the City of Bones movie sets blew me away so much that I can’t NOT mention it. I’m fairly certain the creators of this film took the set design DIRECTLY OUT OF MY BRAIN!! I wish I could provide examples of the images my mind conjured up reading the books so you could all see how similar they are. It was awesome, but also creepy. But mostly awesome. And this reason alone accounts for about 90% of why I like the movie as much as I do. They did an excellent job.
Look at that!! STRAIGHT. OUT. OF. MY. BRAIN.
Monsters & Effects
Something about the way the movie handled the monsters and demons really got me. They all seemed so real somehow. I’m not sure if it’s because they used more special effects makeup, which gave everything a more realistic feel, but the demons seemed waaaaaay scarier in the movie than in the show. All of the special effects were great too! I love the way they uncovered glamours and handled Clary’s powers—nothing seemed too cheap or overtly obvious.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Valentine
I may be a little biased about this one because I LOVE HIM, but personally, I thought he was the PERFECT Valentine. He’s not exactly how I pictured Valentine in my mind while I was reading, but it was close enough to get me really excited. Combine that with my love of Jonathan Rhys Meyers and you’ve got a home run. I thought he did a really great job of being evil and I’m actually really super bummed we won’t get to see him play the part anymore.
Jared Harris as Hodge
When I first read the novel, Jared Harris is pretty much exactly how I pictured him. An older guy who spends all his free time in the library and is always covered in a suit or sports jacket. He also did a really great job of looking innocent, but betraying us all in the end. I HATE the Hodge in the television show and long for the days when Jared Harris’ mustache was telling us about shadowhunter history.
Clary & Simon
I really loved Lilly Collins and Robert Sheehan as Clary and Simon in this movie! Besides the fact that Clary’s hair was the completely wrong color (I know, I know. Not important) I thought they did an excellent job portraying the characters. Nothing felt too overdone or dramatic like it can on the television show sometimes.
Also, this has nothing to do with anything, but look at this gif of Robert Sheehan I found on my quest for Simon photos. LOOK AT ITS BEAUTY. FREAKING SWOON.
Brother & Sister Awkwardness
Going into the movie, I was SUPER worried about how they were going to handle the brother and sister bombshell at the end. In the books we don’t know Clary and Jace aren’t actually related until City of Glass and I was worried about how audiences would react. Will people stick with a series that had the two star-crossed protagonists as siblings? I mean, that little twist almost put me off the books and I didn’t even have to watch it being acted out on a screen.
In the end, the movie adds an extra scene between Valentine and Hodge that shows them plotting, revealing their plan to make Clary and Jace think their related. It was a very clever way to handle it and I’m happy they made the change.
Besides the actors I’ve specifically mentioned above, I found the rest of the cast very underwhelming. Isabelle, Luke, Jocelyn, and Jace were just all wrong and the Malec relationship was meh. In general, I was pretty hot and cold with the actors in this movie. The ones I loved I really LOVED and the ones I didn’t really grated on my nerves. It made the group feel disjointed and unbalanced.
WHY DID ALL THE SHADOWHUNTERS HAVE ACCENTS?? WHY??? I know they’re technically from Idris, but why would they all have British accents? Wouldn’t they have Idris accents? Something that DOESN’T ACTUALLY EXIST!!! Why do they need accents at all? I DON’T UNDERSTAND! Am I the only one who thought this was weird??
Condensed & Rushed
This felt like a lot to pack into a two hour movie and if I hadn’t already read the books, I feel like I would have been overwhelmed and confused. Don’t get me wrong, I think they did a good job with what they had to work with, but I worry about the new people who had never read the books. It’s hard to grasp an entire fantasy world and history in such a short amount of time.
TV Show PROS
Unlike the movie, I actually really like most of the cast for the television show and I think they did a great choosing the actors. My favorites are Alec, Isabelle, Jace, Luke, and Magnus because they’re all pretty much exactly how I imagined them in my mind. Even though there’s a tendency to over act on this show, everyone is doing a great job capturing their characters and I’m really loving watching them evolve. The Malec relationship is ADORABLE and I freaking love it. Can’t wait for more!
The Extended Length
It’s so nice seeing the story told in the extended length. I love that a television show means more time to develop the characters and really get into the story. Nothing has felt too rushed or overwhelming and they’re doing a great job of introducing the audience to this intricately built world.
I do think it’s a little odd they’re introducing the Infernal Devices into it already. Isn’t the story and history complicated enough? But I love the Infernal Devices trilogy enough not to mind, and I’m super curious where they take it.
Staying True to the Original Story & Vibe
This is really where my disclaimer comes into play. SO FAR, the show has stayed pretty true to the story and any changes they’ve made I haven’t minded. Even when I notice something different, it doesn’t feel forced and I feel like Cassandra Clare’s original vision is still there. I know there are big changes farther down the line (so I’ve read some spoilers. SUE ME), but since the show’s creators have been good about it so far I’m hopeful. *Crosses fingers*
TV Show CONS
THE EFFECTS, OMG
THEY’RE TERRIBLE. I know this is a Freeform television show and not a big budget movie—something I remind myself often while watching it—but it’s just so cringe worthy sometimes. My eyes roll into the back of my head more times than I’d like to admit. This isn’t a big enough con to make me stop watching, but the amazingness I saw in the movie makes this stick out like sore thumb.
I’ve touched on this a little already, but sometimes the acting in the show gets to me. WE GET IT. YOU’RE ALL IN LOVE AND TORTURED.
Background & Set Design
More specifically, the institute. The outside shots of it look amazing, but the interior rooms looks so weird! It has a smaller feel that doesn’t match the exterior at all and everything is so high tech! Why are there so many computers? Why does the floor need to light up?? Who are all these damn people running around??? Why does the training area look tiny to me???? WHERE IS THE LIBRARY?????? I’m just so confused.
Even Clary’s old loft apartment was ridiculous. You guys live in NEW YORK and you can just casually afford a GIANT loft apartment like that? It’s just the two of you and Dot, why do you need that much space anyway? I don’t understand.
Jon Cor as Hodge
Okay, WHAT?? I have nothing against him as an actor and I actually think he’s really cute, but as HODGE??? The first time he comes on screen shirtless and training, it was so jarring that I didn’t even realize he was suppose to be Hodge until minutes later. I always imagined him as older gray-haired guy who wears a lot of suits and holes himself in the institute’s library—a.k.a JARED FREAKING HARRIS. I get that the people at Freeform are trying to add sex appeal to the show (cut to Clary wearing six inch stiletto boots EVERYWHERE), but really? Was a hot Hodge really necessary??
I’m so torn about which one I like more! Overall though, I’m starting to lean in the television shows direction. Even though it has some faults, I REALLY love that there’s more time to dive deep into the story and I’m really enjoying the character development so far. To summarize this entire post in one sentence (I know, you hate me right now), if I could pick up the cast of the show and put them in the movie set, I would be happy. But for now, I’m content watching the TV show unfold on it’s own.
TALK TO ME
What do you think of the The Mortal Instrument adaptations?
Do you love the show or movie more?
What do you think of my pros and cons? Hate them? Love them?