If you haven't read the books that this film is based on, I can't imagine it will be of much interest to you, so I won't bother giving a synopsis, I'll just assume you know what I'm talking about.
Overall, I actually thought this film was pretty good. Now, that may be because I had such very low expectations of it - anything that's referred to as 'the next Twilight' causes my blood to run slightly cold and the source material isn't exactly great literature - but I did enjoy watching this.
It doesn't hurt that I've been slightly in love with Jamie Campbell Bower since I met him a couple of months ago at a publicity event for the film (or the book, I still don't fully understand what the event was all about, mostly because I couldn't hear a word that was being said, but I met Jamie Campbell Bower so it didn't really matter).
There are some spectacularly naff moments. The greenhouse scene springs to mind - why are there magical glowing flowers? No, seriously, why? It's very confusing. The film was ticking along nicely, I was wrapped up in it and just enjoying it, and then something hideous would happen - magical flowers in the greenhouse, the portal, a werewolf transformation - and I'd be dragged out of the movie and snorting with laughter at what I was seeing. And I wasn't the only one laughing. It is deliberately funny in places, though, there are some great lines and I particularly enjoyed the interactions between Simon and Jace. I never really cared for Simon in the books, but Robert Sheehan has done a great job of bringing him to life here - he leaps right off the screen and his dialogue with Jace is cracking.
The female characters are under-used though, I thought, which is odd given that the main character, Clary, is female. (As a side-note, it would have been really nice if someone could have just decided how we're supposed to pronounce her stupid name. A friend and I - the awesome Imogen - have discussed this at length over the past couple of months and are none the wiser, we were hoping the film would settle the matter. Every single character pronounces it differently.) But my point is that Clary doesn't really do anything, she's just along for the ride and I do think that's an issue with the film rather than the book. I could be wrong, it's been over a year since I read it, but I don't remember her being quite so dull and passive. I'm sure she did stuff. The same goes for Isabelle, who doesn't have very much to do or say either. She gets to wield a flamethrower, sure, but that's pretty much it.
I should start wrapping up now because this is getting quite long and I don't want it to turn into a crazy rant. I thought it was odd that they'd cast so many British actors - not bad, just odd - but I found it quite distracting listening to the Americans put on British accents. Because everyone in this film seems to be trying to sound British, which is just plain weird. It's set in Brooklyn. Why is everyone British? The only other thing I feel I ought to say is that if you're expecting a very faithful adaptation, you will be disappointed. The last third is very different - different enough that I noticed it and was puzzled, and like I said, I haven't read the books in over a year now - but I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing. It was confusing and a little off-putting, but I think the changes make sense. I think they improve the movie overall. Except for a throwaway remark that Hodge makes to Valentine, which I personally consider to be a massive spoiler for later plot developments and utterly pointless. Seriously, he makes this comment and it spoils a revelation that I believe comes in book three. Now, most viewers will have read the books or at least be aware of this big plot point, so why make the comment at all? I can only assume it's because the film studios didn't want to be seen as condoning incest, but it didn't sit right in the film. I was so busy thinking what the hell did he say that for? that I missed the next part of the film.
Despite the fact that I seem to have done nothing but critcise the film in this review, I actually did enjoy it. It's not a high-brow or challenging watch, and if you didn't enjoy the books I can't see you enjoying the film any better, but I did find it entertaining. Entertaining enough that I'd watch it again. Not several times over in the cinema like with a Harry Potter film, but I'll watch it again.
|That light bit in the circle? That's Jamie's forehead/hair. We weren't allowed to take pictures with him, we had to be sneaky and do them from a distance. This is literally the best shot we got.|