It’s been a while since I wrote anything after trying to do a (unfinished) recap of a movie that I sent a friend. I haven’t forgiven myself for not finishing that recap, but it wouldn’t be fair if I missed writing this review.
First things first. The Cast. Is. Perfect. Everybody did a great job. Jaime Bower is Jace, whether it is on or off camera. Cassie (Cassandra Clare) even said so herself. Lily Collins made Clary look better. As I have stated before, I am not such a big fan of Clary’s character but Lily made her look stronger, braver and less whiny so that is a big plus in my book. Kevin Zeger (Alec Lightwood) , Jemima West (Isabelle Lightwood), Robert Sheehan (Simon Lewis), Aidan Turner (Luke Garroway/ Lucian Graymark), Jonathan Rhys Meyes (Valentine Morgenstern) and Godfrey Gao (Magnus Bane) completes the rest of the cast perfectly. I couldn’t and wouldn’t imagine replacing anyone of them. Godfrey should have been given more airtime though. How they managed to cast such beautiful people all in one movie didn’t hurt one bit.
Second; the pacing. Yes, it was a bit fast on the first part of the movie but I have no complaints there. I did find myself saying “Wow. That was fast!” during the first part of the movie but I was able to shrug it off and just enjoyed the movie. I think the way they paced the first part of the movie was necessary to give way for the more important details towards the end.
There were changes in the movie as expected like who killed the demon who attacked Clary’s mom. Why? Well, Clary killing the demon in the book was the ONLY thing she has done aside from whine and blame everybody around her and be basically what Alec said: dead weight. I think Lily deserves an award for making Clary actually bearable if not likable. What I wished they haven’t changed is Simon should have turned into a rat. Yes he was bitten but was not turned into a vampire (yet). I don’t know how they would explain that in the next movie but I’m hoping it does get explained well. Rants and negative reviews on this part, I do get. I did wish they didn’t show that Simon will eventually turn into a vampire this early. That should have come later.
But I love that my favorite lines from the book was included in the movie which all came from Simon.
The latter part of the movie was a whirlwind for me (given that I have read the book). Maybe it was because it has been a while since I have read the book and couldn’t remember much but I think some scenes were incorporated in the movie that should have happened in the next part of the series. Then I remembered watching an interview with Lily where she admits that there were scenes that were incorporated in the movie to make it work and I agree on some points. Clary’s ability should have been revealed in the next installment but it worked fine for me. At least it showed why Clary was an important part of the story. And what she is really capable of. When I was reading the books I couldn’t help thinking why Clary was important in the series aside from the fact that Jace needs a girlfriend to keep it interesting. Clary drawing new runes this early was a big improvement for me.
Revealing some details from City of Ashes and City of Glass did get a lot of negative reactions from the fans (simply because it was NOT a part of the City of Bones book and it ruined it for them) but I do get where the director is coming from and why he decided to show some parts of the next books in the first movie. Imagine the movie NOT giving a hint that Clary and Jace were NOT siblings. It will totally ruin the series for non-readers. I know this because I almost stopped reading the series if I weren’t able to ignore that uncomfortable detail. As I have stated previously, Alec, Magnus, Simon, Isabelle, and Luke helped me through until I reached the third book and being able to confirm that fact that they were really not related. It was a bit dragging for me while reading and was glad that hints were dropped this early in the series.
What made the movie confusing for non-readers was not being able to explain some things like how the silent brothers were able to speak with their mouths sewn shut among other things.
My advice: Go watch the movie and if you haven’t read the book, read it AFTER watching the movie to help you through some questions you might have. It will definitely be easier that way. Cassie created a wonderful world for us and it would be a waste not to give it a shot. The movie wasn’t perfect and as loyal to the book as the fans would wish but it was a good one. It made one bitter medicine (aka incest) go down smoother. Please don’t let the negative reviews stop you from entering the amazing world of Shadowhunters.
Cassie is a great writer and has earned my love, trust and respect for being brave enough to confront issues that may raise a lot of eyebrows. I would classify her style as an acquired taste. A style I definitely “get” and love.