Book vs Movie Quibbles: City of Bones

Much like postal service, demon hunters never sleep.

In 2007 Cassandra Claire’s book, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones hit shelves. Overtime a large following formed and more and more sequels were published. Like many books, people wanted a live action movie. All over people put together their dream casting and for years it seemed like it might never happened.

Until it did.

*spoilers, of course*

The Mortal Instruments follows main character, Clary Fray, who finds herself thrown into the world of the Shadowhunters when she sees three of them attacking a demon, but no one else can. Right after everything seems to be going on a downward spiral til, wouldn’t you know it, Clary discovers she’s on as well.

When the casting for the movie came out I wasn’t thrilled about Clary. Nothing against Lily Collins, or anyone, but the cast was too old for our sixteen year old characters. To me (and I don’t want to be that person who gets mad over the smallest details changing) but she didn’t SEEM like Clary. I couldn’t really see Clary in her.

Okay and her hair bothered me. I don’t know why but it was too red and not orange and it wasn’t naturally curly and wild. I just remember reading the books and wanting Clary’s hair, but then on the big screen…no sorry. I hate saying this stuff, but I got to state my opinion.

The beginning starts out similar, Clary’s at a nightclub and sees the boy with blue hair, but his gaze is averted to a beautiful girl walking past. She ends up following after seeing them and others go into a closet (in the movie all of this happens out in the open, so when Clary watches them kill the demon she looks like an idiot screaming.) Simon doesn’t believe her and they leave. Clary doesn’t interact with any of them at all.

It’s the little changes that made a big difference. For the most part all the of the scenes are out of the book, everything major that happens, happens, but in different ways.

An example being the hotel. Only Jace and Clary go after Simon, but in the movie Alec and Izzy are also there (only for Alec to glare at Clary some more.) It’s like Alec and Izzy aren’t that fleshed out in the movie, so they need to be in scenes they originally weren’t. Alec is there to secretly like Jace and hate Clary, and Izzy is there to look pretty and give some exposition. I can’t see them as Alec and Izzy, because there isn’t much else to them.

From Jace and Clary going through the portal to Luke’s, to Clary learning about Luke’s backstory, the movie is missing some great scenes from the book. And I get they can’t all be there, the movie is only so long, but there’s so much exposition always being told. Even at Magnus’s party, Magnus wasn’t Magnus. Magnus was spewing out exposition while giving us a little of Malec. We didn’t see any personality out of him (oh and I hate how they used a different voice for the actor, it didn’t look natural.)

As for the lines, a lot of them are straight out of the book. But again, it doesn’t seem like they’re coming out of the characters we love. They almost sound forced.

The scene after Jace and Clary have their kiss and Simon pops out it’s almost word-for-word from the book, but because the characters don’t seem real, they don’t sound natural.

In the book, Jace and Alec are parabatai, as close as siblings. They feel each other’s pain.

In the movie, it’s hard to believe they even know each other. I hate that they left it out. It’s an important part of the book, the two could never have a romantic relationship since it’s forbidden, which is why Alec liking Jace is even harder on him.

But hey let’s just leave it out, it’s not THAT important.

But the one thing, the one thing that I really flipped out over, was the twist. We find out in the book Jace and Clary are siblings. In the movie, we’re told Valentine’s plan to make them believe they are related, to break them a part.

We are not supposed to know it was all a ruse!

We are not supposed to know any of this for two more books.

Jace and Clary are supposed to go on through two more books, wanting to act on their feelings, but knowing they can’t. And we’re supposed to have that feeling of “I want to ship them, but it’s gross.” But now people can go on with it without worrying about it. Because the audience just had to know.


The ending was sort of like the book, instead Valentine left on his own, and in the movie Clary pushes him through the portal. In the book Valentine seemed more chill, seemed like he knew what he was doing and didn’t have to put on a big act. In the movie Valentine was insane (well he’s insane in the books, but didn’t openly act like it.) He was all over the place. Instead of fearing him, I started to laugh at his over-the-top performance. I couldn’t take him seriously.

At least Magnus comes in to save Alec.

Right as the movie is ending Jace says a line that was so out of character for him. He told Clary before that he’d never seen an angel…well until now.

Oh gag.

Why would Jace say that?

Why would anyone say that? It’s so damn cheesy.

Overall, holy shit I couldn’t believe I paid to see this. There have been times I tried watching it again at home, but can’t get through the whole thing. I’ve heard this a lot recently with movie series, that all they seem to be doing is leading up to the next. Well this certainly did that. From the slow reveal that Simon will become a vampire to all the exposition, it’s like they were just building up for the next movie (that thankfully never came.) There needs to be more of a focus on the current story and that’s with any movie.

I was really disappointed. It was great to see the book get the recognition it deserves and I was excited to see more people get into the fandom, but I was embarrassed afterwards. This isn’t the book.

However! The books are being turned into a TV series, Shadowhunters. The cast is revealed, they already started on the show, they’re always posting videos from the set. It seems that these actors are getting into their work. The show is being smart. They know the actors are older than sixteen so they aren’t playing sixteen year olds, they’re actually going to be a few years older and I don’t mind that. It’s better than convincing us someone who’s 25 is 16.

As for Clary, I see this girl as Clary. From the hair to her overall appearance I see it. There’s been some backlash on Jace, but after seeing his hair dyed and the runes, I feel alright with this decision as well. You can’t really judge anything at this point, just wait for the show to come out.

2016 isn’t far away and hopefully the show will finally do the books justice.

Because the movie sure as hell didn’t.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s