The Mortal Instruments: Never judge a book by its Movie!

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, the first book of the Mortal Instruments series, by Cassandra Clare, was adapted to film last year and it didn’t quite live up to the expectations. I first watched the movie a couple of months ago, and although I didn’t love it, it intrigued me enough to want to read the books.

I just finished the first book, City of Bones, and I’m loving the second one, City of Ashes. In a cinematic universe filled with successful Young Adult fantasy books adaptations, what went wrong with this one?

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THE CASTING…

… HITS: When you read a book that’s turned into a movie, it’s sometimes hard to let go of the image you create, weather this is by looks alone, attitude and spunk, or sometimes, only really bad writing. These are the actors I thought were well chosen for their roles:

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        • Jamie Campbell Bower as Jace – well, arguably, although extremely attractive, Jamie is not the handsome young man described in the book. He has, however, the demeanor that makes Jace, well, Jace!
        • Robert Sheehan as Simon – despite some minor differences, Robert plays Simon to a teeth…
        • Lena Headey as Jocelyn – Lena Headey can do no wrong in my eyes, weather she’s playing mean Queen Cersei, or Jocelyn Fray, she looks great doing it. She was also fortunate enough with the role, because it was the only one that they boosted up in regards to the book.
        • Aidan Turner as Luke – I can totally see him as the level headed and fiercely protective werewolf that he’s supposed to be. We could even catch glimpses of it during the film, but like most of the characters, the writers decided that the most important stuff wouldn’t make it… shame!

…MISSES: And these ones, for one reason or another, did not convinced me that they were right for their part…

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        • Lily Collins as Clary – I liked her for some of the movie, and here I blame who ever did this adaptation, because they took out some of the best things about her character. No one can deny, however, that she and Jamie have an incredible chemistry, and I hope that her role doesn’t get so trampled in the upcoming movie. 
        • Kevin Zegers as Alec – It was such a miss, that while I was reading the book I couldn’t even remember his face from the movie. Alec has something special about him, besides being in love with Jace, Clary even says that she sees what Magnus sees in him… well, we don’t see it in the movie.
        • Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Valentine – well, I’m not even going to mention the white-blond hair that Valentine is supposed to have, I’m going to concentrate on the fact that he’s not supposed to wear his rage on his sleeve, he’s supposed to be smart about it and able to manipulate people… he did no such thing! Rhys Meyers, although great on the physical side of stuff, lacked in all other departments…

…IT COULD HAVE BEEN GOOD, BUT…:

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        • Jemima West as Isabelle – she did very well, but I didn’t like her, not in the way I liked in the book, she should have more development… lets hope it comes.
        • Godfrey Gao as Magnus Bane – This could have been a brilliant piece of casting, the guy sure looks the part, but I still have no idea if he can act, given that Bane’s role was so deeply cut!
        • CCH Pounder as Madame Dorothea – I love this actress, really. Not sure about this role though! Not only was the role of Dorothea severely trimmed, but her best interactions with Clary and Jace were not in the movie.
        • Jared Harris as Hodge – I guess it was a good choice, for a very different role from the book… IDK…

   

THE OMISSIONS

There are a lot of omissions in the movie in regard to the book, and it’s only natural, it happen in every single adaptation, because no book has the length of a 2 hour movie. However, certain pieces of information that were kind of vital to the plot were left out, and sometimes replaced by stuff that just doesn’t make sense.

For instance, in the movie Simon is kidnapped by the Vampires because they supposedly want to get to Clary to get hold of the Mortal Cup (WTF?!). At this point in the story, how the hell do they know who she is?! What actually happens is that they take Simon – in RAT FORM – because they think he’s one of them, because he’s a freaking RAT! Then, when Jace and Clary go to rescue him (by themselves), they meet Raphael, the Vampire leader, who will be vital to the plotlines ahead. Also, the wolves help them escape and Clary throws the blade that Jace had already given to her (it doesn’t just occur to her to ask him for it in the heat of the moment) and injures Alaric (NOT LUKE!!!!). I could even accept that they would kidnap Simon to annoy Jace, maybe if they had included the motorcycles story, it could make sense…

The biggest omission of the movie, however, is the Accords and Idris. It’s a vital piece of information that explains a lot of things, from the absence of the Lightwoods in the Institute, to the timing of Valentine’s attack and the whole story behind the Uprising… which they forgot to mention properly as well.

Directly related to the one above, is Luke’s story and his background with Jocelyn and Valentine, which correlates directly to…

CHANGES

Let’s just say that a bit chunk of the story goes directly against the book… Yeah, you read it, it’s lot a light change, or a different road to get to the same place. No! It’s an entirely different universe! Just from the moment that Valentine shows up at the Institute:

  • Hodge orders Hugo to attack Clary and holds her in place and knocks out Jace, while summoning Valentine;
  • Valentine lifts Hodge curse and Hodge leaves the Institute as soon as he can;
  • Valentine takes an unconscious Jace through his portal, which by the way, is not in any way near the Institute;
  • Hodge then sends a message to Magnus Bane (for him to go and help Alec, which we only read about later on);
  • Clary follows Hodge and Luke, in wolf form, saves her, leaving Hodge incapacitated;
  • Luke tells Clary all her story, including the fact that she’s Valentine’s daughter;
  • Clary finds out where Valentine is hiding, at Renwick’s  – AND NEVER, EVER, EVER WAS HE HIDDEN IN THE INSTITUTE, OR OPENED A PORTAL FOR DEMONS TO GET IN, AND HODGE HAD NO PART WHATSOEVER IN THIS OR IN THE “JACE AND CLARY ARE SIBLINGS” BUSINESS;
  • Luke, Clary and his pack head into Renwick’s, where they find Jocelyn unconscious;
  • Clary finds Jace, who tells her that he got his father back – Valentine – that is, Jace clearly recognizes Valentine has the man who raised him and that he thought was Michael Wayland, unlike the movie, where Jace was never truly convinced of this;
  • Valentine plays with the fact that he knows that Jace and Clary are siblings, slowly torturing both his children;
  • Luke fights with Valentine and is almost killed;
  • Jace only goes against his father when he thinks that Clary is in danger, and only then gets out of his control, refusing to travel through the portal to Idris;
  • Yes, Valentine not only escapes unharmed, he also takes the MORTAL CUP with him!!!!
  • Simon, Isabelle and Hodge were not present during these events. Also, Simon does not get bitten by a Vampire and never in the first book shows any sign of turning.
  • In no point in the book Clary develops the ability to draw up runes that she doesn’t know… actually, she gets her second mark ever in the beginning of the second book (the first being the healing mark at the beginning drawn up by Jace).
  • Clary ends up in good terms with Isabelle and Alec.
  • By the end, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Jace and Clary are really siblings, both children of Valentine and Jocelyn!

3 thoughts on “The Mortal Instruments: Never judge a book by its Movie!

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