The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones – Movie Review

Allow me to start off by saying that I LOVED THIS AS A BOOK!

City of Bones

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones was the first book of the Mortal Instruments series by author Cassandra Clare. Currently, there are five books published: City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, and City of Lost Souls. The movie was released on August 21st of 2013 in the good ol’ US of A.

Our star crossed lovers are played by:

Lily Collins from Mirror Mirror as Clary, the fiery redhead angel who is thrust into the Shadow Hunter world when her mother is attacked after her magically-surpressed memories start to surface.

Jamie Campbell Bower as our blond bad boy Jace, the Shadow Hunter who is there for Clary from the moment he lays eyes on her. You may remember Bower from previous small roles in big ticket movies such as Sweeney Todd, the Twilight Series, and even Harry Potter.

The cast also includes familiar names such as Lena Headey (Game of Thrones as Cercei Lannister), Jared Harris (Fringe as David Robert Jones), and Aidan Turner (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey as Kili).



Clary Fray (Collins) is a normal teenager living in a contemporary New York City. But that wouldn’t make a good story, so that doesn’t last long, of course. When Clary’s mother (Headey) disappears, Clary discovers that she is the daughter of Shadow Hunters, a secret society of “half-angel warriors” whose sole purpose is to protect “mundanes” (humans) from demons. She finds herself at a place called The Institute, where she is introduced to the Downworld, a place filled with demons, warlocks, vampires, werewolves, fairies, and many other deadly creatures. The screenplay was written by Jessica Postigo Paquette and is based off of the first book in the series.

Let’s Talk About the Film

I loved the book. I did not, however, love the movie, although I will admit there were parts about the movie that I adored.


The entire movie felt like a slightly better (but still bad) version of Twilight meets Star Wars with just a twist of Harry Potter. The story is nice, but it was killed a bit by the acting. I adored Collins when I saw her in Mirror Mirror. Sweet and innocent, it worked incredibly well for her back then. It did not, however, work this time. It felt like there was too much innocence and not enough growth.

Her counterpart, Jace, played by Bower, was brilliant. I thought he could have been a bit more intense, but I was impressed to see that he really took to the character and remembered to run his hand awkwardly through his hair (it’s the little things that matter sometimes). Just a small fact: Alex Pettyfer was originally offered the role of Jace, which I think he would have been perfect for. However, I was still very pleased with Bower’s performance. I walked away in love with him.

Unfortunately, I can’t say too much about the other characters because it felt too much like the “Clary and Jace Show,” so I walked away knowing very little about them. Frustrating, since the interactions between the characters are actually crucial for this story line and growth.


Okay, thank you for sticking to the actual story and not changing all the important stuff. However, with that said, YOU LEFT OUT A LOT OF IMPORTANT STUFF!

There were TONS of key plot points that were missing, and even for those of us who have read the books, THE MOVIE MADE VERY LITTLE SENSE!

What the hell?! I got the gist of it, but still, we didn’t learn anything about the characters! There was very little backstory or character development other than Clary and Jace falling in love. And don’t even get me started with regards to Simon. YOU SKIPPED THE ENTIRE STORY THERE! They tried to make it up by throwing in some subtle hints as to his development throughout the scenes, but you’re losing a valuable key plot moment. I’m interested in seeing how the filmmakers will make up for that in the next movie.

The inevitable Clary and Jace kiss that readers were all looking forward to, however, was awesome! =D Loved it! Best part of the movie in regards to character and plot.

Love is in the air.


Props to the editors and everyone who worked on patching this film together. There were a lot of moments when I thought “Ooooh, NICE!” to myself. I don’t even know where to go from there. The special effects, the cuts, the audio, and the music – everything just worked well. I thought it was really great.

As to my complaint about wishing that there were certain key points in the movie, if you took them out, SHAME ON YOU. If you decided not to use them, and you said, “Nooooo! We need to keep them because Jessica Crosby will be mad if we don’t,” and you truly fought for them and lost, I forgive you.


I wish I could tell you more, but seriously, what is there to say?

If you never read the book, I think you’ll like it. It’s not great, but it’s not terrible. You won’t know what you’re missing (which can be said about any book turned into a movie). But even if you haven’t read the book and you see this movie, you’ll be bothered by the lack of character and plot development just like a lot of other people.

If you read the book, you will be just as upset as me. It’s just as frustrating as when they left out S.P.E.W (Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare) from the Harry Potter movies. I can understand why they made the cuts they did with Harry Potter, but they did it all too often in Mortal Instruments.

Mortal instruments

Final Thoughts

Score: I give this film a solid D.

They were truthful when they said that the movie would stay loyal to the book. However, there were key plot points missing, and the movie felt like a bad mix of Twilight acting meets Harry Potter meets Star Wars Luke and Leia love. There was so much potential, and it was squandered. So, read the book. You won’t be disappointed. As for the movie…all I can say is, “This is not the movie you’re looking for.” Seriously, there are much better things worth seeing – go check out Sarah the Rebel’s movie review on The World’s End if you want a better way to spend your $10 this weekend.

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