The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones—a Book to Movie Adaption That Has Got it Right


By Celina Sun

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones trailer may have caught your attention for several reasons. It may have been the title’s reference to Julius Caesar,  its eye-catching cast, or the actors’ British accents. Or maybe it was because you’ve been waiting for the movie to come out for at least a year and have been so desperately longing for the trailer that when it finally came out, you squealed happily, sent the link to all of your friends, and decided that your computer was just too slow when the video didn’t load fast enough. Or maybe that was just me.
The movie, which came out on August 21, was based on the novel of the same name by Cassandra Clare. For anyone who was not familiar with the original plot, the title refers to the Mortal Instruments which must be obtained by the protagonist to succeed and defeat the evil creatures within this other world. These instruments are used by Shadowhunters —what’s a shadowhunter? The question is not “what”, but “who”, and the short and simple answer is a demon hunter. The world of the City of Bones is filled with dangerous mythical creatures, such as vampires, werewolves, faeries, warlocks, and demons. But, if you dismiss the movie—and the book series—because you are tired of another vampire love story or wizards saving the world, then you are wrong.  The story starts when 12 year-old Clary Fray, played by Lily Collins, and her best friend Simon Lewis, played by Robert Sheehan, witness a mysterious murder and begin seeing this strange symbol everywhere. After the disappearance of her mother, Clary has no choice but to enter the world of the Shadowhunters, searching for her mother along with her own destiny.
As a huge fan of the books, I was slightly apprehensive of the movie, and I feared it wouldn’t be up to par after a disappointing experience with Sea of Monsters, the second movie in the Percy Jackson series, similar fantasty novels  adapted into movies. Thankfully, director Harald Zwart knew what he was doing. The City of Bones movie really showed respect toward the original story, and all of the actors did a great job of bringing the characters to life. For example, Jamie Campbell Bower, who played Jace Wayland, one of the Shadowhunters, was able to portray his character’s sarcasm and vulnerability brilliantly. Those familiar with the book can anticipate direct quotes and any noticeable changes were done with reason, ultimately succeeding in elevating audiences’ experiences with the movie. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones will please existing fans and elicit new ones with its fast-paced plot, sarcastic dialogue, and surprising plot twists. So, have a little faith and join the fandom: “Welcome, to the City of Bones.”