When I was done reading Eragon, I said to myself, “Ness, you have just read THE most boring and derivative work of fantastic fiction ever. And fantastic fiction, as much as it pains you to have to admit this being a fan and all, is a genera that is sadly plagued by boring and derivative works, so it’s really saying something when Eragon is THE most boring and derivative work of fantastic fiction ever.
“And yet, Ness, you seem to be unable to hate on Eragon as much as you probably should. Why?”
Because as much as it sucks, Eragon is the book I would have written when I was a teenager. (And if I were home-schooled and asked my family [rather than somebody who’d say “no”] to be my editors and subsequent publishers. But never mind that now.) If I wrote the first third of my Epic Fantasy Trilogy as a teen, and my favorite favorite things ever were “Star Wars”, Dragonriders of Pern, and The Chronicles of Prydain, EVERYONE would know it. There’s another pretty big setback in writing the first third of your Epic Fantasy Trilogy when you are a teenager: everything that you thought was cool at sixteen years old STILL has to look cool. Indeed, I actually feel a little bit bad for Christopher Paolini. And so I can’t spew hatred upon this book series as much as I would really, REALLY like to.
Now, as for “Eragon” the movie…
This I can hate on. Filming this story has just taken everything boring and derivative about it and underlined it in heavy red crayon. For now, fast forward through every scene that does not involve Safira, because she actually rocks pretty hard. Otherwise, I predict that in the future, somebody will write a review of “Eragon” in which they will enjoy it on the same demented level I enjoyed “The Land of Faraway“.
The Best Parts:
30 seconds in – “A long, long time ago, in a Galaxy far, far away…”
Hey, it’s actually funny this time! 😀
2 minutes in – The already infamous “I suffer without my stone!” scene!
8 minutes in – Why is Jeremy Irons in all of these movies?
10 minutes in – …zzzzzzzzzzzzzz…
11 minutes in – Oh, well, goodbye Eragon’s cousin whom I don’t even remember from the book.
14 minutes in – Awwww… who’s a woogums?
16 minutes in – And the creepy Goth-by-numbers guy couldn’t just do this before because…?
23 minutes in – I want some of whatever Safira’s on. Just, not with the aging 1,000 years in a second or two part.
27 minutes in – Safira, homegirl, ditch this little pissant and adopt somebody who can act as your pet human.
31 minutes in – “Kishin da omoi o hakidashitai no wa / sonzai no shoumei ga ta ni nai kara!”
36 minutes in – Obligatory Orcish Minion Cruelty!
45 minutes in – Eragon can now make up powers as he needs them!
49 minutes in – This part is fun, but I have to note that “Rescuers Down Under” sh*ts all over it.
57 minutes in – Seriously, can the Elf chick have something besides lying there and tripping out to do?
1 hour, 4 minutes in – The scene where Safira just rules the whole school.
1 hour, 7 minutes in – Aww.
1 hour, 17 minutes in – “You need to give it up! / I’ve had about enough! / It’s not hard to see THE BOY IS MINE!” (Dear God, this movie is boring.)
1 hour, 24 minutes in – Epic Battle! Yay! Whatever.
1 hour, 28 minutes in – NO! She’s the only cool character!
1 hour, 35 minutes in – Yay for sequel setup. Also, Gryphons aren’t Dragons! Stop messing with my head!
1 hour, 42 minutes in – “You’re a boy who is a man who is a tree!”
Classic Lines of Dialogue:
“I SUFFER without my STONE! Please do not prolong my SUFFERING!” – Galbatorax, the Evil King
“Not a stone – an EGG!” – Eragon, being a gorram genius
“I will find the boy and kill him – before he becomes a MAN!” – Durza the Goth-by-Numbers Dark Wizard Guy. Hey, he’s read Pete’s Evil Overlord List! (Item 47.)
Things I Learned from this Movie/Book/Whatever:
* – Dracling > Terrier
* – John Malkovich is the MAN! (See below.)
* – Cone of Turn-Rocks-Into-Diamonds is an awesome Breath Weapon.
* – Dragons are awesome! *G*
Things That Can Save Any Movie:
Cool Creatures? Yes. Safira just owns the whole show. She needs her own movie.
Good Soundtrack? No.
Hot Guys? No.
Pretty Scenery? No.
Nifty Animation/Special Effects/Illustrations? Yes.
Drinking Game Potential? Drink when Safira owns the whole show. Drink when you can tell John Malkovich is working on a very different level from everyone else. Drink again when you want some of whatever he’s on. Drink when Eragon just kind of stands there and looks either *really* mellow or *really* confused.
Head Movie Potential? Not really.
Eh, Danny. Safira saves it. She needs her own movie.
A 20th Century Fox Film made in 2006. Written by Peter Buchman and directed by Stefen Fangmeier.
Edward (sadly too old for the Jake Lloyd Award) Speleers, Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich, Djimon Hounsou, Robert Carlyle, Joss Stone, and Rachel Weisz as the voice of Safira.
Actually, for a change of pace, here are a few of my favorite cliché-busting fantasy novels.
The Dragon Chronicles, by Susan Fletcher – Never mind the crap-tacular cover art. These are a little hard to find but they are quite good. Seriously, what if you *were* a dragon’s pet human?
Support Your Local Wizards, by Dianne Duane – By turns screamingly funny and brutally heartbreaking, I am in awe of this series. The first book starts out slow but the series turns into a thing of beauty once you hit the turning point in Deep Wizardry. Nita is easily the best fantasy heroine this side of Buffy Summers.
Switchers, by Kate Thompson – Shapeshifters, Phoenixes, Dragons, Faeries, Vampires, talking animals – and Kate Thompson, saints be praised, has new things to say about each of them.
The Athanor, by Jane Lindskold – In the space of about three summers, I happened to read four “OMG, all myths are real!” novels: American Gods, The Long, Dark, Tea-Time of the Soul, Summerland, and this book called Changer by this author I’d never heard of. Go figure, I liked the unknown book the best!
His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman – Obligatory, but any argument over genera-bending fantastic fiction rightfully begins and ends here.