Movie Review: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

So there’s some trouble with my tablet. Namely, my 5 year old tablet has died. However, we have our best experts on the case and I have some amazing friends. I’ll go more into it in another post. But WOW. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of buffer and the comics will continue!


So I went and saw the movie.

After reading the book and reviewing it here, I thought I’d give y’all a review of the movie based on the very book.

If you don’t want to read my review of the book, here’s the summery of it: It’s cute. Not a whole lot more, but no less, either. It’s like good fanfiction. A bit silly, a bit clumsy, but something likable in the characters and their interactions.

What made the book, in my opinion, any good were the characters and the way they reacted and spoke. They reacted like people did. Not often making dumb decisions just to advance the plot, but acting like teens would and speaking and communicating to each


other like people normally would. The first thing I’ll say about the movie is that most of that is there. The characters in the movie manage to pull off that sort of awkward teen dialogue with humor and grace. The two main characters they choose to concentrate on, namely Clary and Jace, have a lot of heart and the actors, for being young, do a great job conveying any and all emotions they want to convey.

Before I delve too much into that good aspect, let me tell you where the movie trips up; The book has a lot going on. There are 5 main characters including three Shadowhunters and 2 “mundanes”. That’s hard to pull off in a movie and pretty much everyone but Jace and Clary don’t really have any personality you can follow. Alec’s internal turmoil comes off

as him just being a dick, and Isabelle’s humorous interactions in the book with the kitchen, Clary and Simon are simply tossed out the window. Even with that, the book tries to juggle every single aspect of the world of The Mortal Instruments, becoming very cluttered very fast. I could follow it all, having recently finished the book, but someone fresh coming in might be overwhelmed and confused, I suspect.

Another comparison with the book should be the changes the made to the plot and villains. The movie is very different that the book in some core plot points. The very motivation of the villain is simplified and changed in the book, as well as Clary’s powers and approach to her “gift”. The fact that even on the posters she’s proclaimed as “the chosen” is confusing, as the first book speaks nothing of any of this. I assume it refers to what happens in the later books.

If there’s one thing a movie or book can do to make me like them is making the character’s choices logical. This is one thing that the book and the movie do well. Clary fights viciously when cornered, like a person would. She makes decisions based on the events around her, not her whims, like a person should. When confronted with a whole world she knows little about, she spends her evenings studying about it at the library, like a person could. There’s a lovely scene of her just learning about runes. No one’s there to tell her to do it, no one’s (at this point) even told her she would need to know this. She was just curious and went to learn what she could. How many movies have the lead character blundering about uselessly instead of just asking questions and learning about her world?!

That leads me to another good point of the book and the movie; Clary is a strong female lead, in my opinion. She doesn’t sacrifice her femininity for strength. She’s just intelligent and resourceful, not waiting for anyone to save her but trying to find her own solutions to her problems. She falls in love, but (without spoilers) let me tell you that while the book has your generic love-triangle, its resolution isn’t all that cliche’d. She might want a boyfriend, but she doesn’t need one in order to have her own identity. She also has thick eyebrows and dark hair, two things I have and like. 😉

In conclusion: The movie does some things really well, while throwing a lot of the plot out the window to try and tell the story. It makes some changes I didn’t like, but some other changes I actually liked better than the book! My thought at leaving the cinema was:

“I wish they would have made a book based on the movie based on the book.” I felt that a book that went into more details, but had the plot of the movie, and not the original book,


would have made a superior product to both the movie and the original. Does that make sense?

A fun movie that I would recommend to someone who just wants to have a fun story told to them. It can be predictable, but it’s nonetheless cute and fun. Definitely give it a watch if you enjoyed the book. If you’re an avid fan of the books, remember that the movie takes many liberties, some, in this reviewer’s opinion, actually improve on the original story.


P.S.: There have a took they use to write runes on themselves called a Stele. My greatest hope, going in to the movie, was that I would finally know how to pronounce it. They don’t ever mention its name. Not once.

And I don’t understand the part with Simon, the vampires and his glasses at all.



“Two worlds will collide”? Really? It’s really only Clary and Simon colliding with the Shadowhunter world. A “collision” would imply that the Shadowhunters somehow interact or are forced to live like humans, which they are not. It’s just a stupid tag line made by ignorant marketers.

Just saying. If you’ve seen the movie or read the book, what did you think? Do you agree with my analysis of it here? Tell me what you think!

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2 Responses to Movie Review: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

  1. Ava Hutton says:

    Did you read just the first book or all six books?

    • Anat says:

      I only read the first book. While I enjoyed her writing, I didn’t want more drama. I was pretty happy where it ended, and maybe if they ever do get around to making the second movie, I’d watch it.

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