Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Old Movie Review: Eragon Bites

I spent this weekend at home and somehow my kids talked me into watching Eragon (2006), the poorly executed film based on a novel by another 16-year-old too in love with Tolkien's dwarves, warriors, and sorcerers to come up with anything truly original. Can anyone else out there not fathom why fantasy writers and fans alike can't move beyond the elves and wizards and dwarves and dark riders? Anyway, moving on (which I hope the majority of fantasy writers will do), I vaguely remembered hating Eragon the first time around. Something about a crappy villain, stupid dialogue, and interior monologue stuff = a negative residue. Well, bless its heart, the movie still suffered from the same stuff the second time around.
Frankly, I take any story written by a sixteen-year-old with a huge grain of salt. It always has an air of "I-live-in-Connecticut-and-my-next-door-neighbor-is-a-literary-agent-and-owes-my-mom-a-favor-so-he-agreed-to-give-my-story-a-chance" to me. Anyway, the book really comes off that way. There is the nice but boring farm boy (no way,a farm boy who is propelled into the center of an epic war by no desire of his own? Never heard that one before!). There is the menacing magician guy (given a different title to distinguish him from all the other menacing magic guys out there). And can anyone explain why good guys always suck at magic compared to the bad guys?
And then there's Eragon's name. For one thing, it sounds like a straight ripoff of Aragorn from LOTR. Second, it is clear the kid was having trouble making up fantasy names so he took the word 'dragon' and replaced the first letter with the next letter in the alphabet. Very clever, Mister Paolini. You should name your next character Fragon. I mean, why ruin a good thing, right?
More than anything, this movie suffers from a terrible lead actor and poor production values. There's no brains to it. Just a lot of valor and good people getting killed so the hero has a motivation. I would have laughed harder the second time around if my wife hadn't been scolding me the whole way through for laughing at such a great movie.
Anyway, if you want to laugh for me, check out this video about the cuddly relationship between Eragon and his dragon:

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