Book to Movie Confessions

July 7, 2014 at 6:24 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , )

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.

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The Mortal Instruments to Film

May 16, 2014 at 2:47 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , )

JaceI finally watched City of Bones, the movie.  I’ve been debating writing a review for it since I first watched it and have since watched it two more times.

I’m trying to figure it out – why it seems to just fall flat.

(For the record, despite my use of the marketing, I am still opposed to book and movie covers/posters featuring shirtless men.  It seems so unnecessary and ridiculous.  I see it and all I can think is ‘I’m too sexy for my shirt’ in the most absurd voice that makes the song even more ironic than intended.)

Lily Collins did a great job.  I have a crush on Jamie Campbell Bower, have since I heard him sing – then watching him in Camelot just set it in stone.  He’s amazing, not just pretty.  I’ve been giggling at Robert Sheehan since Misfits.  Lena Heady is my hero.  When have I not loved Jonathan Rhys Meyers? – I’m 30, so pretty much never.  (The movie August Rush makes me swoon to no end.) So it’s not the cast.

The action sequences are brilliant.  Even my Kung Fu self loves them.  My I- Read-The-Book self loves them.  They are grand and epic enough.  The weapons are fantastic.

The graphics are great, the demons exciting and true to descriptions.

But something just didn’t quite work.

Then, I realized what it was:

The ending was all a muck.  We gloss over Simon becoming a rat, we skip through Valentine’s castle.  Jace is awake the whole time.  The writers just gave up halfway through and quit trying to stay true to the book.  They tried to wrap up 485 pages into a short teen flick of generic proportions when it should have been the introduction to something as grand as Harry Potter.

jace and swordIt fell flat.  It brings forth the reminder: “Don’t judge a book by its movie.”

The movie isn’t bad per se, it just makes me sad.  It could have been epic and instead it was a ‘pretty good date movie.’

Of course, Jamie Campbell Bower is still ever so pretty and makes it all worth it anyway.  He also manages to radiate that he read the book and knows who Jace is supposed to be.  Of course, I have no way of knowing if he read the books or not, but it makes me feel better thinking someone on set did.  And if he didn’t, his performance is even more impressive.

The movie is a B+

I wanted it to be so much more.

Jace with Book

 

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