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Movie Review: The Mortal Instruments

I FINALLY saw The Mortal Instruments with Caitlin last night. After hearing how the movie tanked at the box office and how people were not impressed…I was surprised at how much I liked it!!

But the more interesting question is:

What did you think of The Mortal Instruments as a book to movie adaptation and in general?

Movie Review: The Mortal Instruments

the mortal instruments movie review

Book to Movie Transition

Like with so many book to movie reviews I’ve written, it’s been SO LONG since I read the book that usually my accuracy meter is way off.

There are a few things I remember about The Mortal Instruments, and the are: 1. I really liked it, 2. Isabelle and Clary do not get along and 3. The ending made me stop reading the series. Also, this was one of my first experiences with a sort of love triangle, square, hexagon….so it was very intense for me.

Yeah, I’m realizing I read this book back when I was a YA noob (like 2008?!), so I feel like my impression of the story would be much different now.

Anywho – I think that The Mortal Instruments book to movie transition was fairly accurate. Except for a few things, no huge red lights went off. Well, except for the Alec in love with Jace thing. Cuz…wasn’t it really Isabelle who was Clary’s competition??? Please correct me if I’m wrong.

Also, Lily Collins DOES NOT look 15 years old, the age Clary is supposed to be. This will always be a problem in YA movies, though.

Overall Thoughts

The Bad: Yeah, there are some truly crazy moments in The Mortal Instruments movie. Like some of Jace’s lines. So trite, so cheesy. He literally says, “Remember when I said I’d never seen an angel….” when talking to Clary. *Dies*

Also, I think for the casual viewer, the world-buidling is confusing. Why are vampires, demons, angels and werewolves all mixing together in Manhattan? They are from such different mythologies, yet they’re all co-mingling without much ado. It came off as odd to me.

Much more takes place in the book, I know, but during the movie, Clary seems to go from one huge disaster to the next. It seemed so ridiculous – wait my mom’s gone, wait my mind’s blocked, wait simon’s gone….It’s like action overload where you can’t enjoy the suspense because your brain is still catching up.

The Good: I think the casting choices were honestly spot-on. I loved Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower separately and together. Bower isn’t exactly what I pictured Jace looking like, but his persona and accent totally pulled it off. Plus, Simon!!! Adorbs – he’s just too great.

While some of Jace’s lines were super cheeseball, the other dialogue was pretty good. There were definitely some laugh out loud moments. The The Mortal Instruments book had more witty banter, but I think the movie adapted some of it very well.

Plus, I liked all the special effects – I was duly terrified and amazed at the right moments. CG well done.


I see the problems with The Mortal Instruments movie as well as the successes. This movie was geared toward the hardcore fans, and I think the everyday movie-goer is overloaded with the YA “it” book of the moment. I really enjoyed the storytelling and acting and hope The Mortal Instruments City of Ashes makes it to the big screen.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • I liked it too. Oh and Alec was indeed in love with Jace in the book.

    • Yay! Wow, my memory sucks then. Was Isabelle in love with him too? Jace’s really got it, I guess.

  • Anonymous

    yup, you’ve hit the nail on the head, this movie was made for fans, so people who haven’t read the book would be totally confused – and thus, not like it.

    Can’t believe you forgot that Alec’s in love with Jace though. that was a huge thing! and then he gets it on with Magnus… i hope they continue the movies just to see that!! but then if it tanked at the B.O. … 🙁