Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Book vs Movie: The Mortal Instruments Book One - City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Now I know movies generally do not follow a book scene for scene. (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was an exception. It followed the book pretty closely, but the later movies left a lot of detail out.) There are always a lot of things left out and there are always liberties taken with the way the story unfolds. What makes a good story on the page doesn't always translate to the screen, so there are times events need to be manipulated, shall we say.
I don't necessarily mind those liberties being taken as long as the film version retains the flavor of the book. Take The Lord of the Rings trilogy for example. When I first saw the film I was outraged over changes made to the story. I mean, Arwen doesn't speak at all in the books and she's barely even mentioned, but we had to give her a bigger role with lots of lines. When I went back to see the movie the second time, I took all the changes into consideration. I already knew it wasn't a faithful adaptation, so I could just watch the movie and enjoy. You know what? The second time around, I watched the film for what it was and didn't lament what it wasn't. And what I found was that even though there were changes made to the films that never happened in the books, the films themselves retained the spirit of the books and I was able to look past all the differences. I had the same issue with the Hobbit.
As I've said before, I used to go to the movies a lot, almost every Friday night, but over time, we don't go so much. We have a big 52 inch TV with surround sound, so it's more comfortable at home. We've got Netflix streaming, Fios On Demand, HBO, Showtime and an insane amount of Blu Ray and DVDs. The other issue I have is that there are not as many movies coming out that I am interested in seeing. I doubt I have been to the movies 10 times this year. I will go see Thor, though.
When I saw City of Bones advertised, I wondered how it would be. I didn't see Beautiful Creatures, which did not do well, and I was afraid it would be about on par with that. Then I saw the cast and I was not entirely thrilled. Some of the cast just didn't look right to me, most notably Jace. But then I saw a trailer and all my anxiety evaporated. I knew I had to see it in the theater. Hubby said he'd go with me, which I appreciated very much, although, I would have gone alone as well.
So, I watched the movie with rapt attention, but like any of the other movies made from books I have already read, I kept having moments where I was thinking that wasn't in the book. Don't get me wrong. I really enjoyed the movie and I will get it on Blu Ray, but there were some very blatant things that just irked me. I had read the book probably about 9 or 10 months earlier and decided to reread it to refresh my memory.
I decided to draw up a chart up to document the differences as I read the book again. I don't think I even made it to the middle of the book before I quit keeping track. There were just too many things, little things that didn't happen in the book or were not entirely accurate. As an example, when Clary and Jace went to Madame Dorothea's, she never made him leave his weapons at the door.
After I finished the book, my thoughts are that the movie was good and did retain the flavor of the book, but the book is oh so much better.
Alec was just as insufferable as he is in the books, although, I do like the character. I had forgotten how mean and nasty he was to Clary in the first book. Isabelle seemed meaner in the book than she appeared on the screen. And Simon, well, Simon still had a knack for being where he shouldn't be, being stubborn and refusing to stay home where he would be out of harm's way. I really did want to smack him and still do.
Besides the characters, I love the mythos of Idris and the Shadowhunters, Angels versus demons. There is a rich history to the clave, the downworlders, Idris. Their world is believable. Then, the story itself is complex. There is action from the first scene in the book. I was caught up in the rush and got taken along for a ride. There's a mystery to solve, a mystery at the heart of the story. Just who is Clary? Where does she come from? Where is the Mortal Cup? It's a story filled with action, enough butt kicking action for even the biggest adrenaline junkies, mystery, adventure and romance.
Yet despite that major flaw, I still really enjoyed the movie. It is possible, there were no plans to turn any of the other books into movies, which could explain the differences. I had planned on going to see the film again after I had reread the book, but sadly, the movie had moved out of the theaters. I will just have to wait for Blu Ray.