As a book lover, it’s inevitable that two movies would have been on my viewing roster for 2013 – The Great Gatsby and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.
As a literary snob, it’s inevitable that I’ll tell you The Great Gatsby is marvelous and rich and The Mortal Instruments are teen franchise fluff. (Teen franchise fluff that I read and re-read.)
As someone who has worked on indie film crews with family in the not-so-indie industry, I’ll tell you that The Great Gatsby was the more phenomenal film. Baz Luhrmann is incredible.
But here is my confession:
When the house is too quiet… when I need something on the television to pass the time between books… when I’m ruminating on the world at large – it’s not The Great Gatsby that I play on repeat.
I gave a review of the film when I first saw it. I was late to the party, I don’t rush to the theatres anymore. The crowds overwhelm me. I can muster up the energy to exist in a crowd, but I pick and choose those moments carefully. I need to be moving (like on a bike) or listening to an amazing band. Opening night at a theatre has to be for something really special and I’d prefer advance notice. I’ve aged into a curmudgeon, I suppose.
I’m not changing my initial review. That would be unfair. I don’t like editing much – I had those thoughts – they existed. I still agree with them even. But I’m not sure “fell flat” is how I would currently describe the movie. Not after a month of having it be my go to television time. I read 14 books in June, but when I wasn’t reading, I was watching a heck of a lot of The Mortal Instruments.
I clean my house to it. I sort through closets with it on. I have to take breaks from it to go teach ABCs and plan history lessons. But still, it’s there when I come back and I find it comforting.
I think it’s because it is a story I can half be involved in while I’m doing something else… a story that is easy to relate to not because of the angels and demons and typical boy-girl romance, but because there are some things you never grow out of. There are both beautiful and awkward memories that stay with you. There are moments I can see so clearly in my head from my own life when I hear someone say a line a certain way.
Teen franchises are so popular because – well, we’ve all been teens before.
More than the romance, the camaraderie of a group of people so devoted to their cause is what draws me to adventure stories like this one.
And yes, I like to joke a bit and say that it’s because I can’t get enough of Jamie Campbell Bower’s face. But obviously, when he’s there on screen, it’s Jace’s face. And ultimately, it takes a lot more than a face to get me to watch a movie a dozen or so times – it takes talent and a true tribute to a work of art and I think they did their best. Even if it didn’t quite live up to my lofty expectations, I think everyone involved honored Clare’s work better than anyone else could have.
I may just go to the theatre when City of Ashes comes out.