Starring: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Kevin Zegers, Jemina West, Robert Sheehan, Godfrey Gao, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Aidan Turner, Lena Headey, Robert Maillet, Kevin Durand, Harry Van Gorkum, and more.
Directed by: Harald Zwart Screenplay by: Jessica Postigo Paquette Based on the Novel by: Cassandra Clare Cinematography by: Geir Hartly Andreassen Original Music by: Atli Örvarsson
Premise: While checking out at a club with her friend Simon, Clary sees a man murdered. But though it happened in plain sight, no one else there seems to have seen anything. She also keeps drawing a weird symbol that haunts her dreams. When she spots the man who murdered the youth at the bar again, she goes and confronts him. He tries to tell her she doesn’t understand what she saw, but they get interrupted by Clary’s mother’s frantic phone calls telling her not to come back to the house. Unbeknownst to Clary, her whole world is about to be turned upside down. (Rated PG-13)
1) Acting – Total Thumbs Up: Lily Collins did a wonderful job as Clary Fray. Jamie Campbell Bower made sparks fly between Clary and Jace. Robert Sheehan easily conveyed Simon’s many facets and emotions as Clary’s best friend. Jonathan Rhy Meyers made a commanding Valentine, with just the right glint of madness in his eyes.
2) Special Effects – Total Thumbs Up: The creature that gets blown up close to the beginning was disturbing enough when it morphed, but the group did even better work after it blew up. The juicy bits moving around on their own totally creeped me out (in a good way) and was made more intense by the wetness they imbued it with. Fantastic work!
The door to the institute as it went through its locking sequence looked great. The switch from seeing the old broken building to what was actually there was visually stunning. The portal was also spectacular.
I totally loved the snake whip. The scene where it was introduced worked beautifully.
3) Story/Plot – Thumbs Up: The start of the story is strong and pulls you in. Once things really get moving, however, a lot of stuff falls off to the side and is never pursued or questioned even though on some of these items the film forces the audience to notice them by bringing attention to them – for example Simon’s vampire bite and his improved eyesight. Clary remarks on it, yet never asks the others about it, despite the fact it could be a very bad thing. Also a lot of backstory is skipped with things being stated without giving explanations. An extra fifteen minutes might have fixed this problem. This is a brand new world with new rules, but the audience is not given enough to understand it or even embrace it.
4) Stunts – Thumps Up: The fights in the kitchen at Clary’s home were well done and filled with some nice combat surprises. While entertaining, the rest were pretty standard fare with some spark thrown around here and there. Solid work.
5) Locations/Cinematography – Total Thumbs Up: The Institute was fabulous. Wished we’d been able to see more of it. The library set up was everything one could hope for. I adored how they added a Kuksi statue to the film for the angel and the creation of the warriors. If you’ve never taken a close look at his work, I totally recommend it. It is fantastic!
6) Costuming/Makeup – Total Thumbs Up: For once, a heroine does a lot of fighting, running, etc, and it shows! It might not last long but at least they took the time to show it – she looked tired ad her hair limp – well done. Wounds and bruises were consistent as well. The only bad choice I saw was in costuming by putting Clary in six inch heel boots and actually having her run in them when she’d never worn them before. She did take them off at one point, then they were back on in a second as they ran on. Not sure that making Valentine look like a Goth really suited the character, but that’s just a personal preference.
Conclusion: The great chemistry between the actors does much to entertain. Lots of neat visuals to distract us from the fact they’re skipping explanations or information. If you’ve read the books, there are some changes as they crunch up locations and incidents – so fans will find it satisfying in some ways and then not in others.
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again)