Movie Thoughts: The Mortal Instruments City of Bones

August 31, 2013 Movie Review 18


It feels likes this movie was in the making forever, right? Some of you who may know and maybe others don’t, but it took a long time for the movie making process to come about for this book. Lily Collins was cast as Clary quite a long time before the ball got rolling for the rest ( I don’t remember the exact time frame but I want to say a good year before anything else. There was a script issue and studio issues. Casting rumors were abundant at this time. It was so great to finally buy that ticket last weekend and see what the moviemakers could do with one of my favorite series.


Lily as Clary was perfect in my eyes. She was close to the visual in my mind and I thought she played the role excellent. I was always comfortable with her in this role so I’m glad I wasn’t disappointed here.

Jace… *sigh* He’s one of my favorite book characters. He’s snarky and cocky, but extremely charming. I admit I was one of those people who felt the movie role was built for Alex Pettyfer. He looked exactly like the part in my mind and he seemed to have the personality to match. I know a lot of people complain about his acting and such, but for me, visually at least, he was Jace. I was disappointed when he wasn’t cast, but at the same time, I’m always excited for unknowns in these huge type roles so I was hoping for that because I really don’t like how Hollywood continues to use recycled young actors/actresses from other series in the same type genre. I like fresh blood! There wasn’t many actors mentioned I agreed with but no one did I want to be Jace least than Jamie Campbell Bower. So yeah, going into this movie I was hugely disappointed with that casting. Did he pull it off? I don’t know. I mean, he did the best he could with what he was given I guess. He didn’t hold the same charm, the few cocky lines fell flat for me, and I’m sorry, the greasy hair was a major distraction. He did kick ass in the action scenes though, I’ll give him that. I didn’t expect my feelings to change because honestly, Jamie isn’t attractive to me at all, and they didn’t change. Sorry if that’s superficial? So on a whole, I think he mostly pulled off the acting with the script he was given, but visually… nope.

Simon was perfection to me. Like seriously, perfect and maybe my favorite of all. He was funny with a few great one-liners but also geeky cute like in the book. And the one scene he was to play emotionally he nailed.

Isabelle was actually pretty great too. She totally kicked-ass and I wasn’t so sure of her before but the actress was a great choice for the role. Her snake bracelet whip was freakin’ awesome!

Alec was a huge disappointment. I mean first of all, he was barely in it and didn’t have many lines. I didn’t get the parabatai feel between him and Jace at all ย or even get a sibling bond with him and Isabelle. And I still think casting made a huge mistake here. Kevin is way too old for this character, I’m sorry. I’m really sick of actors in their late 20’s being cast to play teens in YA series. And Kevin LOOKS his age. The others can play it off okay but Kevin was just too old.

Magnus was my favorite casting going in. I didn’t mind him in the movie but his role was so very short so we didn’t get a chance to really connect. And rushing his scenes took something away from the character so it’s really hard to figure out if his acting was sub-par or he just didn’t have much to work with.

I’m still not sold on Valentine either. He came off more creepy than terrifyingly powerful. And seriously, WTF was up with his hair? O_o

Luke was great. Clary’s mom was great. Whose left? Oh, Madame Dorothea, the fortune telling witch neighbor! She was pretty fantastic too. I loved her scenes.


The effects were great. I mean, the demons were done well, especially the Ravener that broke into her home in the beginning. Creeepy. Oh and let’s not forget the creepy horror movie little girl you see in one scene. The Silent Brothers looked great and so did the Institute. The werewolves and vampires were surprisingly done well too. They didn’t feel campy and that was something I feared. I was really impressed in this area.

Book to Movie

I purposely avoided a re-read. I didn’t want to go into the movie nit-picking every little detail that was lost with the book so fresh on my brain. It’s been years since I’ve read the book and from what I remember, that did a fairly good job trying to take a large book and condensing it to a 2 hour movie. Are things lost in the translation? You bet. Most of it was the character connections. The chemistry between Clary and Jace being one of them. It wasn’t insta-love but it went so fast it was hard to believe they really had developed such a bond that would cause the heartbreak at the end. The one between Simon and Clary was way stronger in this movie. Hell, if I didn’t read the books I’d probably be Team Simon at this point. My favorite Jace quote was there! I was curious how they would handle the twist at the end and I actually like that they spoiled it. It had to be done, in my opinion.

Cheese Factor

It can be hard to avoid a bit of a cheese factor. There were a few moments where I laughed at the ridiculousness. The greenhouse scene was one, sadly. The portal was another. Valentine’s men, too, were cringe-worthy. I’m probably forgetting things.


On a whole, I really enjoyed the movie. Is it my favorite book-to-movie? No. But it is still entertaining and gave a solid effort. I wouldn’t mind going to see it again. I’m sad to see it hasn’t done so well at the box office. I know they are still going ahead with the second movie but I’m wondering if that will be it. It’d be nice to see movies made for the first 3 books. It’s a solid place to end and I feel like there will be just too many open questions to end the movies at 2.


Have you see it? Will you see it? What do you guys think? Let me know!

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

18 Responses to “Movie Thoughts: The Mortal Instruments City of Bones”

  1. Becca @ Nawanda Files

    I agree with everything you said about Jace’s casting. I felt the same way at the time. Alex P. was meant for this role, but I was kind of okay with them getting some fresh faces. But still JCB just didn’t pull it off to the level that was needed for a character as dynamic (and awesome) as Jace. And yes, Simon is perfection ๐Ÿ˜€
    Becca @ Nawanda Files recently posted…Stacking the Shelves [51]My Profile

  2. Roxy

    All I’ve seen so far is the trailer, but I`m in the same boat as you – going in without a re-read. I remember reading the book and thinking, “Holy crap, this book is friggin’ AWESOME!” I loved the banter between Jace and Simon, and Jace sounded like the hottest guy ever. Mind you, this was only the second YA series I had read (first was Twilight”) so didn’t have much to compare! I looked at Jamie in the trailer, and, I don’t know – he’s kind of cool, I actually like the accent, buuuuuut… yeah, he’s just not that attractive to me, either. I’m still excited to see the movie, though!

    Speaking of books to movies, I just watched “The Host” last night, and the casting was just terrible in that one, ugh! Hope City of Bones is better.(?)
    Roxy recently posted…Sketches in Thyme #121My Profile

  3. Stephanie

    I’m seeing it today. Can you feel my enthusiasm? Lol. I still have to make my Alex Pettyfer mask on a stick to cover Jamie’s face;)

  4. Tonyalee @ lilybloombooks

    Honestly, when the announcement that this would be a movie came out (freakin YEARS AGO) I was beside myself. I don’t know why. But as time on, it lost the appeal. AND, it’s been years since I read the books too. I remember enough though ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I didn’t like Lily as Clary. To be honest, I thought she was too pretty. LOL I didn’t picture her that pretty. And I am pretty sure Clary was pretty strong in the book but in the movie, she acted like a wuss. I agree with you about Jace and Alec. I like Jamie as Jace for the badassery, he was pretty cool in the “fight scenes” but he just didn’t LOOK the part. But Isebelle looked too old too. AND WHY NO MAGNUS?
    Simon was one of my favorites. Is seems like he got more screen time though vs his involvement in the book. *shrug*

    Also, I felt like there weren’t many explanations. OK, Clary can do the Rune thing, but it was never really.. elaborated on. So, anyone who didn’t read the books could be like “wtf?” And the significance of ALec and Jace being parabatai. I thought Valentine was awesome! He didn’t look the part because I visualized this huge, mean looking dude with WHITE HAIR. But he played the part well.

    WHAT WAS UP with that little girl? That was some freaky crap LOL I thought the demons were done pretty well too. I liked how they worked in the twist too. I was wondering how they would handle that and I think they did a good job with it!

    I liked it OK. Not my favorite book to movie either. Whew, long comment. sorry ๐Ÿ˜€
    Tonyalee @ lilybloombooks recently posted…Weekly Wrap Up~ (24)My Profile

    • Sara @ Forever 17 Books

      I don’t remember Simon’s involvement in the book. I do feel like he was there a lot though. I think they played it up even more for the ‘love triangle’ effect. Especially if Simon becomes the love interest a bit in book 2.

  5. Aman

    I avoid movies based on books because most of time I’m left disappointed. I didn’t like Jace’s casting when it was announced and it’s really sad that Jamie wasn’t able to capture Jace’s cocky and sarcastic nature. I don’t think I would be seeing this one unless it’s on TV. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Sara! It’s good that you enjoyed it overall ๐Ÿ™‚
    Aman recently posted…Stacking the Shelves (14)My Profile

  6. Lily

    I feel the same way you do towards so many aspects of this film. I went into really open minded but was just left disappointed. I remember having a chat with you on twitter towards the movie and we just felt that overall it was an okay adaption (although you did have better things to say about it than I did. While i didn’t mind Jamie as Jace and felt that a lot of the problems with this movie were simply the scripts fault rather than the actors there were moments i just thought that the script was what didn’t capture Jace’s cocky and sarcastic nature rather than simply Jamie. I think he did the best with what little he had.
    Lily @ Lilysbookblog
    Lily recently posted…August 2013 RecapMy Profile

  7. P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

    Pretty much agree with you. JCB was not Jace to me. Alex Pettyfer looked a lot more like Jace visually but he’s too monotone. The movie made me kinda Team Simon just because I felt Clary and Simon made more sense.

    The effects were really good. I was kinda shocked and that first demon truly was frightening. I may of swore a few times and uh, looked away.
    P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex recently posted…The Weekly Progress: Four!!!!!!My Profile

    • Sara @ Forever 17 Books

      When I was first all rallying behind Alex P. for Jace, it was before some of his last few movies came out. When they did I started to think maybe he wasn’t the best choice for the movie, acting wise, and was hoping for an unknown. Visually though? He is definitely Jace for me.

  8. Lauren

    YES to this! I feel exactly the same way. I loved Lily as Clary, and thought Simon, Izzy, Luke and Madame Dorothea were all awesome. Didn’t love Jamie as Jace or Jonathan as Valentine (the hair! oh gosh, I was cringing through all his scenes because of it). I liked the guy who played Magnus, but you’re right, they really rushed his scenes and I don’t think the script did him or Jace any service. I hope the next one is better. This was good, not great for me. Lovely honest review!
    Lauren recently posted…Just One Year Blog Tour with Gayle Forman: Miami BeachMy Profile

  9. starryeyedjen

    We took the 1st day of school off because we knew it would be traumatic for us, lol, and my hubby asked if there was a movie I wanted to see while we were kidless. I thought of this one, but considering I wasn’t super excited about the casting or the movie itself, I didn’t want to subject him to it. I don’t want him thinking I read subpar books. ๐Ÿ˜› I will NEVER see JCB as Jace. I think that was some of the worst casting…while I was reading, I ALWAYS saw the Pettyfer as Jace and there is no other for me. I might rent this when it hits On Demand, but that’s still a big maybe.
    starryeyedjen recently posted…In My Mailbox #98My Profile

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge