Okay, time for my own Eragon Movie review, since everyone else can’t seem to give me something that I think comes anywhere close to hitting the mark. The guys over at Shurtugal just spend their time explaining that adapting a book is difficult and cuts have to be made, blah, blah blah. Whereas everyone else can’t help slamming the movie because the book was written by a 15 year old (who is now 23, and has managed to write two New York Times bestsellers…more than the critics have written).
So, my own review…Eragon the movie sucks. It sucks bad. It is, put simply, the most horrid book-to-movie adaptation I have ever seen. It actually went so far as to make me go beyond crying. It sucked the vitality from me. My fantasy-loving mind is depleted. I need to go read more of Mercedes Lackey’s Obsidian Trilogy to replenish myself.
Eragon the book on the other hand is excellent. I mean, its not an adult book by any means, but its certainly an excellent books for teens and pre-teens. Highly enjoyable. Even more so if you realize that the whole “mentor and mentee” relationship was not invented by George-bloody-Lucas. Honestly people! Who prepared Arthur to be king? MERLIN! A more experienced old guy. The first person to train someone younger in a story was not Obi-wan Kenobi. Please, get over trying to compare Eragon to Star Wars. Yes, there are similarities, but there are plenty of differences as well. Now that my rant is done, back to the movie!
Whoever wrote the screenplay for this movie should never be allowed to pick up a pen again. Its so different from the book, Fox might have been able to get away without buying the rights if they had only changed some of the names and the specifics of how magic worked. Oh, and called the dragon and griffin, since she has feathers! So, okay…let me try to collect my thoughts and make sense. The acting in this movie wasn’t horrid. Jeremy Irons played a great Brom, John Malkovich did a good Galbatorix (even though we’ve yet to see Galbatorix in the books). I’d like to find the person responsible for casting Arya and have a long chat, because I’d like to know why they did such a disservice to that character. I’d also like to know if the budget was so low that they couldn’t give Arya pointed ears! Honestly! She’s an elf (at least she is in the books, in the movie its never stated that she is or isn’t an elf). Ed Speleers did a very good job of playing Eragon when one factors in that this was his screen debut. The chemistry between he and Irons could have been better – but it wasn’t terrible, by any means.
Now, as for anything else to do with the movie? Pretty much rubish. Maybe with another 50 million to…you know…actually make a movie, they could have done something. Saphira (the dragon for those who haven’t read the book) was brilliantly done (well, at least if you can get past dragons having feathers…and…ah….no scales? or at least not noticable scales). However, beyond that….the effects were horrid. Farthen Dur, where the climatic battle takes place, is – in the book – the capitol of the Dwarven Kingdom…yet there is more wood than stone in the movie. I was expecting a great panoramic like we got in Return of the King with Minas Tirith, no such luck. It was…er…small…and…er…wood. No great stone structures. No amazing Dwarven stone work. It was…uninspiring. Very disappointing. All the locales seemed small compared with their descriptions in the book. The Urgals (think Uruk-hai from LotR or Trollocs from the wheel of time…or a cross between both) looked like humans with bad hair. Arya, as I already mentioned, doesn’t have pointed ears (a must for an elf!). Its almost as if they just didn’t have enough money for things as basic as prosthetics or makeup.
Directing…was….just…bad. When it was just Brom and Eragon things were okay. But the battle scenes are horrible. After the Lord of the Rings fantasy fans are expecting more than Willow like fight scenes. Goodness! Even Disney could come up with a good climatic battle. The lack of any kind of heart pounding battle scene at the end is unacceptable. We are instead presented with clipped bits of single characters killing an Urgal or two before we return to Eragon fighting Durza (complete with Durza on a giant cloud-bat of some type! WTF? I mean, come on!).
Finally, the thing that I think all of the above eventually leads to is that there is not a single scene in the entire movie that one can look at and say – that came from the book! In the Lord of the Rings one saw the Balrog and Gandalf and said, I remember that scene! The first glimpse of Minas Tirith in Fellowship was awesome. We, as fans, knew where it came from. Galadriel and Celeborn interviewing the Fellowship in Lothlorien was another scene right out of the pages of the book. But in Eragon, there isn’t a single scene that the screenwriter and director haven’t horrible adulterated beyond recognition. The plot isn’t even the same! The motivations for the characters aren’t the same. I’ll agree with anyone that Jackson messed with Faramir’s character majorly, and to a lesser extent screwed with Aragorn’s motivations. But it is nothing – NOTHING – compared to the hack-job that Fox managed to pull off with Eragon.
Not that I think Christopher Paolini will ever read this, but if you do – please – no more Inheritance Trilogy movies…at least not from Fox. Wait a few decades, someone else will want to purchase the rights to the full trilogy. When that happens, insist that you have some creative control. Give us a fantasy trilogy that are worthy of the books.
Now, I go to my rest.