movies: eragon

eragon - one boy... one dragon... a world of adventureAfter seeing the trailer for Eragon, having read the book some time back, I was a little concerned...

Why is it that Hollywood invariably screws up any kind of adaptation of a fantasy property when they turn it into a movie? And I say Hollywood specifically, because, although I haven't read the books, Lord of the Rings turned out pretty well... but that was made in New Zealand...

Or is it just that the process of turning a book into a movie will screw up the movie in 9 out of 10 cases...

I wish I knew...

Discounting the many and varied plot and character alterations, deletions, substitutions and randomness they felt they had to make to ensure the book would fit into the 104 minute running time of a movie... since for the most part, I can live with those (although one or two were irksome)... I'm going to shorthand my objections about the movie... as though I was speaking to the director while beating him with a copy of the novel.
  • Dragons do not have "feathered" wings... Dragonheart got this extremely right... Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire knew this... damn, even Dungeons & Dragons got the dragons right (even if the rest of the movie was rubbish).
  • Twice (once in a book and once as the background graphics of the end credits) the silhouette of not a dragon, but what was very obviously a gryphon was shown... gryphons are not dragons... only someone who doesn't know their mythological ass from their elbow would confuse the two.
  • The character Arya is an elf... elves have pointed ears... in the book, Arya has pointed ears... in fact it's very much pointed out that her ears are in fact pointed... Arya in the movie did not have pointed ears... this was just silly and wrong.
  • Dwarves are very small human-like creatures, usually around 4 feet tall... they are not 5'8 actors in silly beards... this is also silly and wrong... and to be honest, I didn't actually realise that the actor playing the dwarf was a dwarf until the second or third scene with him in it.
  • Characters from the book who are supposed to be killed or captured as part of the climax of the story that leads into the second book should, if at all possible, be killed or captured as appropriate in the movie... this leaves unfortunate loose ends if and when the second movie gets made that you then have to write your way around... which is then messy.
  • Try to avoid making one set of dragon armour in the real world, and a completely different set of CG armour for the CG dragon... this just looks tacky.
  • Learn what a montage is and how it relates to showing the passage of time in a film... don't "cheat" and use "magic" that isn't a part of the book to cover your laziness.
Okay, so that's what I didn't like about the movie...

Let's look at the positives...

Edward Speleers, John Malkovich and costume designers Kym Barrett and Carlo Poggioli (whichever one was responsible for Eragon and Brom's outfits in particular)...

Young Edward is one of those people who looks good in motion, but doesn't always photograph well... the few photos I've seen of him left me slightly unimpressed, but in motion, he's of the pretty... and when he takes his shirt off, triple pretty... and the boy has nipples the size of a small country... which I always like.

The ever lovely Mr Malkovich can just read me the phonebook... especially in any movie where he's being all evil and fairly understated (but at the same time could rip out your spleen through your left nostril)... I can't explain it, but I adore it.

And as for the costume designers... four words... leather pants, crotch lacing... enough said... although some of the overly spangly Varden costumes were a little much...

The visual effects weren't bad though... well, apart from one particularly awful bluescreen shot involving Robert Carlyle's character... but the dragon was animated quite well...

Unfortunately I don't even think it stands alone as a movie when you haven't read the book... there were some things that I only got (like the dwarves amongst others) because I knew the book. But then it's not like they stuck to the plot of the book enough to really help...

yani's rating: 5 disappointing dragons out of 10

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey, havent seen the film (ive only heard baaaaaaaaad things about it) ... loved your review.

B

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