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Monday, September 16, 2013

Movie Review Monday: "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones"and "Riddick"

I finally got to catch up on movies my kids might not sit through, and found two that were worth my time and hard-earned money.

I started out with a viewing of "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" and found it to be an enjoyable movie that bears a very slight (VERY slight) resemblance to the book of the same name. Like they're distant cousins, but both entertaining individuals.

I recently read books 1-3 in the series, and was really looking forward to seeing the story translated onto film. What I saw was a wildly altered plotline, but still a good story. Many of the scenes were altered, added to or changed dramatically and in some puzzling ways. I understand why they did a few of the things they did, but I do wonder if some of it won't just leave people who haven't read the series scratching their heads.

Several of my friends were unhappy to see Jamie Campbell Bower cast as Jace, but I had no problem with him. I thought his looks were spot-on. He's a good looking guy, but in a very angular, non-traditional way. His face is quite beautiful, but severe (high cheekbones, strong jaw, startling blue eyes), which works great if you're familiar with Jace and his character's genealogical history. He played aloof and arrogant perfectly, but I really would have liked to see a little more of it, and not so much of the blatant doe-eyed looks at Clary that the director obviously put in there.

We get that Jace likes Clary. What we need to see is how much Jace doesn't want to like Clary. That moment in the greenhouse shouldn't seem like a natural progression of events between two attracted people. It should have played like it read in the book - two people fighting themselves internally and finally letting their guard down. The movie would be so much more interesting if Jace were really at war with himself a little more.

[On a side note: I didn't take my twelve year-old daughter because she hasn't read the books and she thought Jamie Campbell Bower was a jerk in the Twilight movies and she doesn't care for him much. After viewing, I want to take her to see it now because I know she'll end up with an enormous crush on Jamie Campbell Bower. I guarantee it.]

I hear the box office has been disappointing and they're reconsidering whether or not to make the rest of the series. That would be a shame. I like Lily Collins as Clary, and I think there's so much they can do with this, if they'd just stay a little truer to the characters in the books. Overall, this is a good movie. It's just a little puzzling if you've read the books. One big plus, the character of Isabelle is every bit as much of a badass as she is in the books.

And that brings me to my next movie: "Riddick". First, if you've been following the Riddick storyline, you need to know that this movie is "Pitch Black", but with monsters that come out of the ground instead of the sky. Seriously. Same basic plot, different cast, plus a puppy.

They all think Riddick is dangerous (and he is), but he ends up saving their asses, of course (well, the ones the monsters don't tear to pieces, anyway). So if you liked "Pitch Black", you'll like this. If you liked "The Chronicles of Riddick" and you're expecting more about the Necromongers and the Underverse and most of all, more Karl Urban (since you saw his name in the credits), you will be disappointed. Karl's in the first 3 minutes, and you do not see him, or the Necromongers again.

This was not a fantastic flick, but definitely good enough. And it goes without saying that I'd pay money to watch Vin Diesel sweat and be a badass anytime.

So that's the recap on my most recent movie adventures. Stay tuned next week for my new series of Single Mom movie reviews: Wal-Mart $5 Bin Finds.

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