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Dec 22, 2006

Fletch's Film Review: Eragon

In Eragon, the phrase "one part brave, three parts fool" is uttered on multiple occasions. It's funny, because as I sat through the film, all I could think to myself was that this was "one part Star Wars, three parts Lord of the Rings" and that the quality could be described as "one part boring, three parts unoriginal."

As an audience member who indeed has seen other films during the past thirty years, it almost gets to be insulting while watching Eragon. I've n
ot read the book, but I have to imagine that the book's author is the real thief here, and not the filmmakers adapting it. That said, could the filmmakers not have "dressed up" the thievery so as to make it not so obvious? There are shots that seem almost literally cut from LOTR and pasted here.

Characters and actors can't escape the similarities, either. Remember Liv Tyler's "Arwen" from
LOTR? Well, Sienna Guillory's "Arya" sure does resemble her a lot in this movie; she may or may not be an elf as well - it's possible that I may have nodded off, but it's also possible that the audience wasn't told one way or another. Robert Carlyle's "Durza" might as well be named "Saruman, Jr.", John Malkovich's "King Galbatorix"? "Sauron" in human form. Garret Hedlund's "Murtagh"? "Aragorn's little brother," right down to his key flaw. Finally, Edward Speleers title character is "Luke Skywalker," medieval style. I think (or at least hope) you get the point. Throw in some orcs and ringwraiths - oops, I mean goons and razacs, mix with a dragon and some swordplay, and you pretty much get the picture.

I actually felt bad for Malkovich, who's stuck with a non-role, conversing only with Robert Carlyle (who gets what little meat there is in the Villain department). Jeremy Irons plays "Liam Neeson playing the Mentor," and he does an admirable job - it's just that his role is so far beyond a cliche these days that it's almost embarrassing. Djimon Hounsou appears ever so briefly as the leader of some troupe of good guys or something; by then, I really couldn't have cared less. And though Speleers does an admirable job playing the farm boy/hero, I couldn't help but be pissed/amazed/awed/curious that he was so damn clean the whole time, and without a cut, scratch, scrape or bruise to show for any of his fighting, rugged travels, etc.

I could go on, but I don't want to emulate the movie. Enough is enough.

43 out of 100


6 people have chosen wisely: on "Fletch's Film Review: Eragon"

edogpgc said...

I like how your scale is out of 100 - makes it more precise without using decimals. I'm sure this is the quality of comment you were looking for.

Anonymous said...

Eragon sucked sweaty goat nuts!!

~DDawg

Fletch said...

I couldn't agree more, DD. The appearance of sweaty goats in the film would have likely helped.

Nick said...

I know this is old, but I'd like to both bash (the movie) and defend (the book). I'll start with the book (which, yes, I have read). The book has been widely heralded as one of the biggest rip-offs of all time (Star Wars/LOTRs/any fantasy story ever written). However, while there are a lot of similarities, a lot of it is mostly due to the Monomyth. The monomyth has been the most over-used story structure. It has its set of characters, events, who dies and who lives, how characters change over time, et cetera. The legendary Joseph Campbell goes into extensive detail about the monomyth, and his book is actually what inspired Star Wars. So technically, Eragon did not rip off anything... it just took straight from the formula. And it was also written by a 16 year old. And it is a fairly entertaining read (albeit insanely and overly huge).

As for the movie, it's complete and utter trash. The only similarities it has to the book are basic names of people and places and a few events, though they happen differently. The movie was, by far, the single WORST book-to-film adaptation I have EVER seen. Seriously, if it didn't CUT something out, then it CHANGED it. There was barely any resemblance to the book at all. For instance, the character of Murtagh... he was actually a really cool character in the book. And he flat out refused to help Eragon get to where he had to go. In the movie, he's like 'Okey dokey, pal! Let's go! Whee!' Oh, not to mention he's in over HALF the book, and he gets about 15 minutes (if that) in the movie. I *loath* the movie version.

Fletch said...

Damn it all - I had never heard of that term! Shows how ignorant I am. In fact, as we were walking o ut of The Golden Compass, I was telling Mrs. Fletch that it bothered me how it was just like every other movie about a special kid/adult, where they are the ONE person in the world that MUST save us (The Matrix, Harry Potter, etc). Using those parameters, I argued that Star Wars actually didn't fall into that category, as Luke Skywalker was not especially gifted in any way, nor was he prophesized to do anything (unlike his father, though you could argue that Luke probably had a really high midichlorian count, too...).

ANYWAY, Star Wars is still a monomyth. As is Eragon. And I'm officially sick of that formula (though I'll still see the final two Potter movies :) ).

As for the book, it doesn't make any sense why they would change the book just so they could make it resemble all these other movies. Then again, you could go nuts trying to make sense of many of the things Hollywood does...

Great comment - and yeah, you dug way back!

Nick said...

Random Harry Potter comment: Technically speaking, Harry is slightly different than the other 'one person to save them all and must' characters. It's more detailed in the books (like what I said in my review of OOTP where they trimmed the prophecy and the final office scene)... not only was Harry NOT the only person who could have (Neville fit the prophecy, as well. It's just that Voldemort marks Harry as his equal), but the prophecy does not force Harry to do anything. What makes Harry be the one that has to kill Voldemort is Voldemort himself. If Volde would leave Harry alone, then he'd be fine. But Volde is arrogant and must have Harry dead. Therefore, 'neither can live while the other survives'. As long as Harry is alive, Voldemort will come after him... and as long as Voldemort will come after him, Harry will fight Voldemort. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy that Voldemort is too arrogant to see through. So in those regards, HP is a bit different from some of the other normal fantasy heroes, as well.

Otherwise, yeah... a LOT of fantasy books are basically the same. And almost all fantasy stories follow the formula of 'The Quest' AKA 'the monomyth'. It's almost impossible for a fantasy story not to, actually.