Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mistborn the Movie: Don't Do It!

Posted by Simcha 8:30 AM, under | 17 comments

I just saw, on SciFi Fan Letter, that Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn has been optioned for film by Paloppa Pictures. Frankly, this seems to be to be a horrible idea and I really can't understand why any author would want their book made into a movie.

It's rare that a movie is ever as good as the book on which it is based on and what ends up happening is that people watch the movie first and then they never read the book because they didn't like the movie. A friend of mine refuses to read the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy because she didn't like the movie and my mother-in-law just told me that she won't read The Time Traveler's Wife for the same reason. Since these are two books that I loved, it seems to me a real loss that people would decide not to read these books because the movies were lousy, and I don't think this is uncommon.

And the only fantasy movie I have actually every liked was The Princess Bride, which probably had to do with the fact that the screenplay was written by the same person who wrote the book, William Goldman.
So why would an author, who puts so much time and effort into writing a book, allow it to be misjudged and misinterpreted by having it made into a movie? I just don't get it.

For more information about the Mistborn movie deal, visit
Brandon Sanderson's website.


I saw this too. I was a little surprised yet not. These books could make a wonderful action packed scifi movie. BUT, there is a lot of stuff in these books that would be hard to translate into words or pictures on a screen. The connection with the metals. They would have to rewrite it some to get these details understood to the watchers. The books are so detailed it would be very hard to do them justice. We'll have to see what happens. I know I am a little curious to see, even with as much as I have loved the books.

When a book gets optioned, it doesn't always mean that anything will happen.

I feel bad for your friend because I watched the Hitchhiker's movie first, loved it, and read the book and loved it too.

And, because of this type of thing, I think movies are always good for the book world. They always increase sales, which is a good thing for the industry as a whole and gets us more books that we like. Even if it may ruin the experience for some people.

It's a hard line to make because a movie can be so disappointing, so I know exactly where you're coming from. Moral of the story: I need to read Mistborn already. :)


@ Bryce: I imagine that you are probably right about movies increasing book sales but at the same time it seems to me that more often then not, a movie would end up reflecting badly on the book that it's based on.
Due to time constraints, a movie can't manage to develop the characters and build the story in the same way that the book does, so the movie version often feels lacking, and people will then assume that this is because of the book.
And another thing that bothers me about books being made into movies is that once you see the movie, you have the images from the movie in your mind when reading the book. So instead of using your imagination to conjure up the scenery and imagining how the characters look, the images and actors from the movie pop into your head instead.
@ Melissa: I suppose it would be interesting to see how they portray the magic system and the use of metals.

Simcha, that's a great point. I don't think I'll ever get the actors from Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter out of my head when I read those books. I've also been very lucky that those two franchises have been very good.

It is a little sad to have your imagination replaced with something spoon-fed to you. I guess that's why they're now saying that babies (and little ones) shouldn't watch TV until after 5 years old because it affects some brain development.

I just heard an interview today by the lady who wrote Girl With A Pearl Earring and, even though it's completely different stylistically, she made a good point. Think of the movie and the book as sisters, not the same person. They each have qualities you like and dislike and they're similar enough to draw comparison but different enough to like for themselves. I've been debating with myself whether or not to go see The Lovely Bones because the movie looks so very different. After I heard that I decided to go.

Tonya: That is a good approach, but- do people actually do this? I think that people who already read fantasy but just haven't gotten around to reading Mistborn yet, will be encouraged to do so because of the movie, but for others- if the movie is lousy or cheesy will never even bother with the book, assuming that it is similar to the movie.

I admit,though, that I'm not a big movie watcher so perhaps fantasy movies have gotten better since I've seen them

Bryce:Every since, as an innocent youth, I was sadly disillusioned by the Sweet Valley Twins TV show, which I had so been looking forward to, and how different all the characters were from how I imagined them to be, I've been suspicious of books made into movies or TV shows.

Simcha, I am also suspicious of movies from books that's why I originally wasn't going to see The Lovely Bones. My first experience with this was Flowers in the Attic. Horrible, horrible movie based on a wonderful book. One thing I forgot to mention though, is that if I hear of book being made into a movie that I haven't read yet, I always make sure to see the movie first. Since I know the book is ALWAYS better, I won't be disappointed in the movie. This is what I did with Bridget Jones and I still love both.

Tonya, it's funny that you brought up Flowers in the Attic because I just mentioned on Book Blogs that I consider this one of the worst books I ever read. I think that book scarred for me for life, and just thinking about it makes me shudder. But I always find it interesting how differently the same book can be viewed by different people, and how a book can be considered horrible by one person and wonderful by another.

I read it when I was in high school. I read a lot of VS Andrews then until I got tired of all the incest and same old tired plot lines. High school girls are weird. And I was weirder than most! haha

Tonya: Tell me about it! When I was a teenager, my cousin and I would get out book from the library and read out loud to each other all the "adult" parts, which we would then giggle over.

But everyone is entitles to their own taste in books. While I just posted about my love for A Year in Provence, someone left me a comment saying how they just posted about how much they dislike this book ( I still have to check out that post and find out how it's possible!)Go figure!

Depends on how the movie is. I read all of Thomas Harris' books after I saw the movies, and I enjoyed some of them more. Sanderson seems to be pleased so far, so I guess he is pretty confident that the movie will turn out well.

Vetpath: Well I can't imagine any author would go along with having their book made into a movie if they thought it would be a dud, but I just haven't seen that many movies based on books that were particularly good. Fantasy movies are especially tricky and the risk of them turning out really cheesy is bigger than for a non-genre book. But as Peter Brett said in his interview, no matter how the movie turns out, the books themselves are unchanged.

perhaps a tv series would do it more justice, and allow for a bit more depth of character and detail.
as is often the case the movie version just can't cope with all the elements that made the book great.
its hard movie to cram it into a 2 hour feature. ( or should i say its easy for the screen writers/ movie makers just to butcher the original concepts)
luckily for fantasy fans.. HBO are doing "Game of thrones" as a series and should be awesome.. fingers crossed the Mistborn movie just doesn't become mindless action with cardboard cut out characters and some overused CGI action.

Anonymous: That's an interesting idea. I do agree that books translate better into TV shows than movies and Mistborn could make a good show, depending on how it's done. I'm looking forward to seeing how the Game of Thrones show turns out and I really hope it meets the expectation of all the eager Martin fans.

I am so behind..The Game of Thrones is going to be a show??!! When and which channel? (Let's hope it's not as horrible as the The Sword of Truth show).

Tonya: Wow, you must really be out of the loop to not know about the Game of Thrones shows ;) I'm not sure when it's supposed to air but everyone is really excited about it and Martin is very involved in the production and casting as well, from what I've heard. I also hope it's better than The Sword of Truth. I watched one episode and found it too boring to continue on.

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