I couldn't wait to see this film. Back when I heard they were making a movie, like most people, I thought this will be the next Twilight~Harry~Potter film franchise.
Critics reviews are tearing the film apart. And sadly, I can see some of their points.
Did I enjoy the movie? YES. Would I go to see a sequel? YES. I would gladly go to see all the sequels for the entire series. I don't give a crap what any critic says, its an entertaining film.
But, I read the first three books in the series back in 2009. And I loved the books. I am a die-hard fan of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. Its my guilty pleasure to lose myself in these books and films.
Here's the tally of the Mortal Instruments series:
Magic Spells √
Teleportation portals √
Nephilim (Angel/human hybrid) √
*Unfortunately, there are no zombies - they don't exist.
OK, now for my review:
The film had wonderful character development. We are given time to know each of these members of the rather large cast. The special effects came little by little, piecemeal, gradually sprinkled into the film at precisely the right timing. Not too much, not too little, they didn't rely on the special effects to carry the story.
The cast was well chosen, mostly. Each character fit quite well with my perception of these characters from the novels, with one exception: Jace (Jonathan).
In the books, Jace is an exceptionally gifted fighter. He is revered by the shadowhunters for his skill in battle. He is stronger than most men, and later in story you find out why - he was gifted a little something extra. Physically he is well-built, very athletic looking.
Does this guy look athletic?
He looks gaunt. IMHO (In My Humble Opinion) their biggest mistake in this film was a casting error. This dude does not carry the role of Jace very well.
Jace is obnoxious, sarcastic, impetuous, and a brawler. The guy they cast for this role kinda looks like a punk. He's missing about 30 pounds of muscle and that athletic edge, that killer look. He just doesn't have it.
My other complaint: The romance has no kick, no emotional hook. I don't feel it. I don't feel the connection between Clary and Jace. Granted, its a fairly new romance, and there's too much going on in the story to really give enough time to focus on the romance.
Which is why this is Urban Fantasy, not Paranormal Romance. There is a difference.
If you want to fill those 'Twilight' shoes, you need more romance. Its needs more emotional tug. Something is missing.
There was a scene, the one that all the critics are slamming: The rooftop garden kiss. That scene was okay, until the music came on. This production has a dramatic action/fantasy soundtrack. Except for that scene. They dropped in a lame top 40 pop artist song, that really jarred me out of the moment. That music had no business in the soundtrack to this film.
The strengths of this movie are many! (despite all my whining)
I was enthralled, carried along, gripping my arm chairs, and everything made sense! None of it was lost in the screaming pace of the story. And I really cared what happened to virtually all the members of this rather large cast. That is an accomplishment, to develop out all these characters in so little screen time.
And, the film rode a very tight edge with the book. BRAVO to the film-makers for toeing the line, and bringing us a movie that did justice to all those intricate little subplots in the book. Critics are complaining about the fact the film stuck with all the story elements of the book. But I can guarantee you fans of this novels series will appreciate how closely the film followed the book.
If you are a fan of Harry Potter, Twilight, Percy Jackson, or any other contemporary fantasy films and books, I recommend this film. It has a few shortcomings, but overall, its a well made, entertaining film.
My rating 4 stars! ★★★★