The Mortal Instruments: A Mundane Conversation About the Movie
Commentary Piece by Jacquelyn Phillips
As a new addition to the fandom of Cassandra Clare’s novels, I still have much to learn about Shadowhunters, Downworlders, and Demons. Having seen the movie, The Mortal Instruments: The City of Bones without prior knowledge of the books, I was thrown into this fantastical world with a box of popcorn and bag of skittles in hand. My best friend, and fellow book nerd, sitting beside me had invited me to see the movie because he’d just read the novel and couldn’t wait to see the film adaptation. We silenced our cell phones, bumped elbows in the crowded theatre, and shared a large Mr. Pibb. As soon as the movie theatre darkened, I asked him if I should be nervous about any potential violence. He’d informed me that the book was detailed, but not in your typical violent fashion. I became nervous, but excited.
In the end, I was impressed. Jace (Jamie Bower), looked very handsome—in a pretty boy way—on the screen, and Clary (Lily Collins) is pretty enough—in a tom boy way—leaving me with the impression that everyone in this make believe world is good-looking. After consulting my friend on the accuracy of the characters compared to the book, I received a half nod-shrug combination. He’d pictured them differently, but it was still close enough for him to feel like they’d taken the adaptation seriously.
Yes, it was your typical love story, mostly predictable (which is something common in YA fiction novels and movies) in regards to where the relationship was headed. Until we received that disgusting plot element that threw me for a loop—in fact, I must have ignored the clues throughout the film not wanting to believe it to be true. Even my best friend was confused. He said they hinted at that very briefly in the book, but he didn’t believe that anything would’ve actually come out of those subtleties.
SPOILER ALERT: Jace and Clary are lovers AND brother and sister.
That was NOT what I was expecting. And after having discussed further with my best friend once the credits began to roll down the screen, popcorn bag empty, Mr. Pibb still in hand, he told me that the movie was good, but there were elements added that he couldn’t remember from the book. He attributed this to his bad memory. I told him the movie made me want to read the novel, asked to borrow it from him, and we soon parted ways. I hadn’t heard from him much after that, our lives going in different directions, work overwhelming my schedule, and The Mortal Instruments departed from my mind.
However, this book series and movie adaptation came to mind when I was informed of some shocking news.
When I heard that the production of the second film was postponed because The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones bombed in the box office, I was unpleasantly surprised. This may make you book fans cringe, but having viewed the movie with a completely open mind—not having the pleasure of reading the book beforehand—I couldn’t understand why the film didn’t do as well as Harry Potter or Twilight. Avid Cassandra Clare fans believed that it bombed because the directors added elements into the first movie that hadn’t been introduced until the second or third novels. Talk about a Spoiler Alert.
As soon as I’d found time to sit at my computer, I decided to delve a little deeper into the matter.
After some thorough research, I discovered that the movie did not directly pull from the plot of the book—although, I can’t vouch for this myself. I am currently in the process of reading the prequel series, and don’t want to jump ahead. I will be able to make a true comparison as soon as Clockwork Princess, the last of the prequels, arrives in the mail and joins my collection. However, according to MovieFone, the lack of plot accuracy “turn[ed] off fans” even though Cassandra Clare “supported the film and the changes made by Harald Zwart.” Clare believed that the “characters looked right” and the “setting looked right” but there will always be critics when it comes to movie adaptations of best-selling novels.
Thankfully, the second movie has continued production and will be introduced into the theaters some point in the future (the date is yet to be released) with equally high expectations; expectations that I hope will be met!