Movie Review: Eragon

The opening date for this movie was on my daughter’s calendar.  Like months in advance!  She and I had read this and its sequel, Eldest, and really enjoyed the books.  She then went immediately online and tried to find out all she could about the third book, the movie, etc etc.  This was probably the most excited she has gotten about a favorite book made into a movie since she put a “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” film release countdown clock and background on our computer desktop.  Tickets to see “Eragon” were on her Christmas list.  She talked about it constantly.  She winced every time she heard that another one of her friends had seen it.  She went into near cardiac arrest every time the commercial came on television.  So *finally* I took her to see it on New Year’s Day.

Ok, here’s the good:  the British boy who plays Eragon is cute.  He makes the movie almost bearable to watch.  And the visual conception of Saphira is – if inaccurate from the description in the book – pretty.  Um…yeah…that’s it.  The lists of “pro”s pretty much stops there.

Now if you haven’t seen the movie or read the book, please be warned, I’m about to type a bunch of spoilers.  ‘Cause I’m gonna vent, and I can’t promise to be responsible for myself from here on out.  So…we’re approaching critical mass…leave now if you don’t want to know anything…..

Alright, you’ve been warned.

The movie was crap.  A sloppy, aimless job at pounding out a holiday movie, that’s all.  And before you recite the list of disclaimers anyone must know when watching a film adaptation of a book (“you can never catch the magic of the written word,” “everyone has their own interpretation of things,” “of course they have to edit things out,” etc etc)…I KNOW THESE THINGS!  I’m not dumb.  Yes, I get that things will be different.  I get that any filmmaker faces challenges when putting a novel on the screen.  But truly, even without that element, Eragon is a crappy movie.

The film does a totally insufficient job of telling Eragon’s story.  The writing doesn’t provide enough opportunity for us to see his deep connections to his cousin and uncle (and bitter anguish at losing his uncle and farmland – that scene is over so quickly!), the life and lifestyle in the village where he lives, or the relationship that slowly evolves between he and his dragon (which happens in about 7 minutes in the movie!).  All these things put him in position to embrace the idea of being a dragonrider, and fuel his desire to get back at the person who ordered his uncle’s death.  But instead, we get scene after scene after scene, cut in two minute increments, telling us what we’re supposed to know and believe about this boy, but none of it is worth squat.  You get led to this point where all these bad guys can’t manage to just catch this kid, and you’re thinking to yourself, “Ok, now WHY am I supposed to believe he’s able to evade all of these guys?”  It just doesn’t make sense.  And if I had to listen to John Malcovich (what a waste in this movie!!) say “Bring me the boy – and do not fail me!” ONE more time, I thought I was going to scream.

The film also does a poor job trying to establish the relationship between Eragon and Brom.  Jeremy Irons was fair casting for the role; I suppose I can live with that.  But you know that spark between Gandolf and Frodo that you can just see oozing off the screen in their movie?  Completely and LAMELY missed in creating that same kind of relationship between Brom and Eragon.  They are supposed to be mentor and student, and yet when Brom dies, you wonder at Eragon’s emotions.  After all, their scenes together were again VERY choppy, there’s no chemistry there.  It’s boom, boom, boom, now he’s dead.  And I’m thinking to myself “Wha….?”

Ok.  I usually get to this part of my “review” (and I’ve given it to anyone who will listen) and begin blithering like an idiot, so I’m not sure how to type it coherantly.  Can we just say AAAACCCCKKKK on the casting and writing for Arya???  I don’t use this word often, and I don’t use it lightly:  that whole thing sucked.  First, let’s make her look NOTHING like she’s supposed to.  Then let’s change her story around completely, mainly with how she and Eragon are connected through his dreams, how she’s unconcious through most of the book, how she’s completely aloof and mysterious and keeps her distance from Eragon, how he DOESN’T know she’s the Princess.  Let’s just flush that down the toilet and start from scratch, ok?  But…you know…let’s keep her name, so they dont’ get confused.  Whatever.  That was just so much garbage that I didn’t know how to handle it.

And I laughed inappropriately when they brought Joss Stone on screen as Angela.  HA HA HA HA…oh, you mean you’re serious?  What the….?  First of all, you put Angela in a teensy tiny scene (my daughter wanted to know “Where’s the cat???”), and then you give the 2.5 minutes to JOSS STONE?  She did a horrible job!  She’s a great singer, terrible actress, even in a role that cut down to what it was should have just been thrown out altogether.

Speaking of throwing out…they did a lot of that.  Characters, storylines, plot points.  Gone, gone, gone.  My daughter said – OUT LOUD (I was so proud!) – in the middle of the movie, “Mom!  I don’t think the people who made this movie even READ the book!!”  She was seething by that point.  And I couldn’t blame her.

I kept wondering to myself if they were going to attempt a film of Eldest.  I mean, how could they?  What would the story be about?  It would have to be even more different from the book than this one was, since they took out so MANY of the important stories in the second book.  I was horrified, disgusted, disappointed at what they did to the end.  The whole scene when they finally get to the Varden is ridiculous.  I’m not sure why we’re supposed to care who they are and what they’re doing there.  I’m also not sure anyone felt any tension over the battle scenes.  It was like:  here we are, let’s go!  But the REAL ending I’m talking about is that Eragon ended this movie without a scratch.  Those cowards.  If you’ve read the book, you know that Eragon ends this debut novel horribly disfigured and fighting for his own sanity.  He is split in two and spends nearly most of Eldest fighting to ever think of himself as “whole” again.  But the pretty English boy makes it out ok in the movie.  And there you have it, a happy ending for the Holiday Movie Season.  I say BAH HUMBUG!!!

ps…now that I’m done writing this, I have already thought of a half-dozen other things that drove me nuts about this movie.  i’m going to go tend my zen garden now and try to find some inner peace!

  • This is the best review of Eragon I’ve read so far. I’m sorry to say that I pretty much knew the movie would suck once I caught sight of those Dungeons & Dragon trailers, which is basically what they were. They can’t possibly be thinking of doing a sequel.

  • I am going to torture myself by watching this movie when it comes out on DVD just because I have to. I am not at all surprised by the negative reviews coming out about it. Frankly, I don’t care if the movie is nothing like the book–I get that that happens and most of the time understand why. Still . . . This one doesn’t sound very good. Fabulous review, by the way!

  • I have no desire to read the book or see the movie, so I didn’t fear the spoilers. I’m so sorry the movie was such a disappointment, particularly for your daughter. How infuriating! I wonder what the author himself thinks of the film adaptation?

  • kat

    This is exactly how I felt about the film!
    I have read both Eragon and Eldest and loved them.
    The film was a waste of money and time.
    How can they go so wrong when they are adapting such a great book?

  • Hitesh says :

    I have read both Eragon and Eldest and I wonder what the third book is. I want to see the movie because it helps me better understand the book. In the book there is no pictures. I think that the author thought of the idea of making the movie because he thought that it would help his readers better understand the story. That is all that I have to say.

  • midnight blue dragon

    where do I start the eragon movie was really really bad, the movie was so bad in fact it really shouldn’t be call a movie at all. now it was a good movie by its self but compard to the book bad. i am wanting to see the next movie eldest but they left out way to much to do it. i think the guy who did lord of the rings should re-make eragon, if you see lord of the rings you would now why. i’m going to give a list of things they left out:
    1.they left out jeod, oric and solembun.
    2.i never saw arya with pointed ears.
    3.arya never had red hair in the book it was black.
    4.they changed angela she was so funny in the book.
    5.they ether left out most of the city’s or they changed the way they looked.
    6.the razac wheren’t the same in the movie.
    7.murtagh was to nice and his scar was in the wrong place.
    8.nasuada was ugly in the movie.
    9.eragon needed to talk to saphira more.
    10.eragon was to old in the movie in the book eragon was only 15 going on 16 but in the film he was 17.
    11.galbatorix didn’t look evil.
    12.the way they ended the film was all wrong.
    13.in the film eragon and durza fought on the ground but in the movie they fought in the air on dragons.
    well that’s not even all the mess-ups they made but that’s still alot. i myself love the books and i can not wait for the third one.
    well that’s all for now,
    atra gulai un ilian tauthr ono un
    atra ono waise skolir fra rauthr:let luck and happiness follow you and may you be shielded from misfortune!!!

  • Anonymous (you really think ill tell you all?)

    THANK THE HEAVENS! A reasonable critic who doesnt blather on about the celebrities who are oh so fashionable in the movie. I also think the movie was completely unreasonable. Last time I heard, the Ra’zac werent cockroach freaks, and angela wasnt some hermit who lives in a swampy, rundown village (what happened to teirm?). With all the details left out, Eldest is impossible to make into a movie with even the remotely same storyline as the book, or linked to the movie of Eragon. Or possibly, they will make some wierd, unrecognizable movie and have Galboratix turn out to be Eragon’s uncle and Saphira is actually they evil one, or the evil side will kill everyone. I dont even want to know what the Burning Plains battle from the end of Eldest will look like; probably cheap plastic figures throwing rocks at eachother on a giant volcano! Oh well….. we can hope for a remake 20 years from now.
    P.S. I hope Christopher Pauloni gets the opportunity to sue whoever made the movie for spoiling his story!

  • Carmella

    I really hated the movie. It sucked. It was so stupid. I saw it opening day, right after school. Let me tell you, it was stupid. There were so many little kids there. They skipped over the Hadarac Desert. When Eragon met Murtgah it was stupid. The cell they held him in…what the hell! That was a freaking box on wheels. In the book he had gotten a room.

    The next thing that bothered me about the movie was the way Brom dies. He comes out of no where to save Eragon and then dies and Murtagh was there!!!

    Arya, was white with unpointed ears! Hello, have they not heard of what an elf looks like?! Pointed ears. I hate Arya as it is but gods could they at least make her look right so I can hate her correctly?

    The Ra’zac were not reforming monsters who looked like they were made of bugs, the urgals didn’t seem ugly enough.

    What happened to their horns? It said horns, I saw no horns!!

    Angela…She lived in the swamp…No. She lived in an arranged village in the middle of somewhere. What happened to when they found the oil.

    Eragon’s age. He’s not 17…He had turned 16 I believe when they were in the Desert.

    And Durze and Eragon’s fight. It sucked big time. They did an okay job of making Durze look scary and what not…Galbatorix had a speech problem…he sounded stupid and looked stupid too.

    When he and Murtagh got to the Varden he didn’t say any magic words. Where were the twins? Where was their imprisionment? Where the heck were they going with that one? They didn’t jump off some rock to get past the water fall. Saphira wasn’t hurt too terribly when they went into the Varden. That was just stupid.
    The storyline barely followed that of the one in the book. They skipped over too many parts for it to follow that. Like when Eragon and Brom pratice fighting. That took place several times. I know I would not mind that movie to have been longer, much longer.

    Thank the gods you’re a good critic. Finally someone who has the same opinions about the damn movie as I do. People keep saying oh it was so good. No, screw that. It wasn’t good at all. There were too many problems for it to be good!

    I’m hoping they’ll remake it. With everything they left out, how the heck are they going to get the next book going?

    If I wrote a book and the movie sucked, I’d complain! I’d complain until someone listened and made a remake. At least Murtagh was cute. That was like the only good point about the movie!

    -Carmella-