Apr 8, 2009
Eragon (2006) (part 6 of 13)
It’s night again, and Eragon is sneaking into Brom’s house. It’s deserted, but he wanders around and finds a book full of pictures of dragons. Hmm. Could Brom possibly know more than he’s letting on? And there’s also a picture of a griffin in Brom’s book. No idea why, because there sure aren’t any griffins in the movie.
While he’s busy gawping at this, he’s suddenly surprised by Brom, who’s inexplicably upset to find out someone just barged into his house and started messing with his stuff. Eragon, completely unflustered, asks him if what he said was true. Brom just tells him to get lost, but Eragon persists, saying he wants to know more about dragons.
Brom, realizing something’s up (beats me what tipped him off), closes the door and demands to know if anyone followed him. Eragon just ignores him and starts firing off dumb questions about how big dragons get, and when they start breathing fire, etc., etc. And then he looks confused when Brom tells him to pipe down. Again, this was the best person Saphira could find to bond herself to? Eeyargh.
Eragon keeps asking questions, and Brom, now very cranky, tells him to go away. But our hero still refuses to be put off, and keeps nagging at him. Finally, Eragon says he knows Brom’s story is true. Look, you may as well just come out and say you found a dragon, kid. You’re pretty lousy at keeping a secret. Having made Brom nicely suspicious, he storms off in a temper.
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Once he’s gone, Brom pensively retrieves a box, and takes out a sword with the standard way-too-fancy hilt. The blade is dark red, and looks like it’s made out of plastic, and he gives it a good hard stare.
Meanwhile, Eragon notices something is going on in the village. He heads for the butcher shop window, where he sees Sloan being tortured by the Ra’zac. Sloan cracks pretty easy, telling them Eragon’s name, and where he went with the stone, and then gets presumably killed. The Ra’zac come out of the shop, and Eragon hides just in time to avoid being seen. There’s a brief close-up on the Ra’zac, and they’re crawling with insects. Ew. That’s not scary, that’s just icky.
Eventually, they run off toward Eragon’s home. Oh dear. Can anyone see where this is going? Eragon apparently does, because he immediately gets up and runs back home. For some reason, he’s still running when dawn comes. Okay, why did it take him so long? Is his house really that far from the butcher shop?
As he’s running across a field, Saphira suddenly swoops down and grabs him. She carries him off, yelling about how he’s in danger. I have no freaking idea how she knows what the hell is going on, but it happened in the book, too. (Only there, she acted far more hysterical and yelled stuff like, “Traitors! Egg-breakers! Murderers!” etc.)
So Eragon, whining and protesting, is carried off by Wimphira. He continues to yell at her until she finally gives up and flies him back. She shouts, “You stupid boy!” Hah! Sock it to him, Saphira! He manages to get on her back, but then slides off again. When he yells about how he’s falling off, she just drops him in a haystack and flies off. Worst. Dragon. Ever.
This is also quite similar to a scene in Dragonheart II: A New Beginning, where the young dragon crash-lands in a haystack. Actually, there are quite a few similarities between the two movies, right down to the whiny blonde hero and wimpy dragon, although I’m pretty sure they’re just coincidences.
Eragon struggles out of the haystack and runs off into his home where—guess what?—his poor old uncle has been killed. And the Ra’zac are nowhere to be seen. That’s right—they found his house, killed his uncle, and then, instead of lying in wait, they just bailed. Which means (in case you haven’t already guessed) that this movie officially has an Idiot Plot.
Eragon acts sad about his uncle for approximately one second, and then runs out to yell at Saphira. He’s hysterical, yelling that it’s her fault he didn’t get to warn his uncle. When she points out that he would have died, too, he refuses to listen and finally screams at her to get lost, and never come back. What a sweetheart! She looks angry and then flies off. Wow, and after waiting a thousand years to meet him, too.
Cut to Eragon covering up his uncle’s body, and apologizing to him. Just then, Brom suddenly turns up. Eragon tries to attack him, who knows why, but Brom just grabs his hand and turns it over, exposing the scar.
“You!” he yells, sounding quite appropriately outraged. Yeah, Brom, I’m as unhappy as you are about this loser being a rider. Brom demands to know where the dragon is, and is mortified when Eragon says he sent her away. Eragon wants to stay with his uncle, but Brom tells him the Ra’zac will be back for him. And they left in the first place because…? Right, exactly.
Eragon wants to bury his uncle’s body, but Brom picks up a piece of burning wood and sets the house on fire, saying it’s a funeral fit for a king. Thank the gods, somebody’s interested in cutting to the chase. Then he pretty much drags Eragon out of the house, who’s screaming and protesting all the way. Man, I’ve heard about refusing the call to adventure, but Eragon brings it to a whole new level, doesn’t he?
There are two horses waiting outside, and Brom forces him to get on one. And wouldn’t you know it—it starts raining. Just at the most dramatically appropriate moment, too. What are the odds? Eragon looks back and sees his house burning down. By the way, they actually burned down the set for this scene. Well, they saved me the trouble, anyway.
So now the adventure proper starts. Would you believe it took half an hour to get to this point? Now that’s a tightly crafted tale. There are some not-stolen-at-all aerial shots of Brom and Eragon riding over mountains. Very sensibly, they’ve chosen to ride out in the open, right on top of a mountain, in broad daylight, where anyone could spot them. But hey, why sacrifice a really cool shot for the sake of not letting your protagonists look like idiots?
They stop in the forest somewhere and dismount, and Eragon is still whining. Oh, shut the hell up! Brom tells him to call his dragon, and Eragon complains that it was her fault his uncle died. Brom says she was only trying to protect him. She probably was, but how the hell does he know that?
Eragon claims he could have killed the Ra’zac. Brom then gives the requisite Meaningful Saying, which will be repeated at least once at every subsequent emotionally appropriate moment: He says that Eragon is “one part brave, three parts fool.” Actually, if you changed that to “all parts fool, and a little bit whiner”, you’d be a lot closer to the mark.
Brom says the Ra’zac are extremely dangerous (not that we’ll see evidence of that) and a mere boy wouldn’t have a chance against them. Eragon, of course, doesn’t “get” it, and snaps that he’s not a boy, he’s seventeen. Man, I stopped trying to impress people with my age shortly after I turned ten.
Brom just mocks him (yay Brom!), saying he wouldn’t last a minute against “Durza’s assassins”. Eragon yells that he’ll just find Durza himself, and kill him. Brom rains on his parade again, revealing that Durza is a Shade: a “sorcerer possessed with demonic spirits.”
He says Durza will come after him, on the orders of the King. He also adds that Eragon is “the Varden’s only hope.” So, our main character is the only hope for the resistance fighting against an evil empire? Why does that sound so familiar? Apparently, they have a stronghold in the mountains, and Brom wants to take him there.
Eragon asks how he knows all this, so Brom says that he’s “been a part of it” and goes on at great length about the places he’s been, and the things he’s seen. Of course, he could just say that he’s a member of the Varden, but for some reason he doesn’t. This is exactly what happened in the book, with Brom concealing things for no reason, just to create some artificial mystery. The only difference is that there, Brom actually founded the Varden, making it even more insane that he kept it all secret.
And the saddest part of this scene is Jeremy Irons is actually acting here. You really do get a sense of Brom as a character, and it just breaks my heart to see such a fine actor trying to honor his craft under such hopeless circumstances. It’s certainly nothing like the truly dreadful performance he gave in Dungeons and Dragons, and I’m not sure why he tries here when he didn’t there. I do get the feeling he was fond of his co-star Ed Speleers, and was trying to encourage him to do his best. Which makes it even sadder, because I’m pretty sure young Ed is now working at a construction site.
Brom again tells Eragon to call his dragon. When Eragon claims that she’s too far away, he snarls that they should agree not to lie to each other. (Hmm. Brom has quite the sense of irony, doesn’t he?) He says he knows she can hear his thoughts.
Faced with this, Eragon sulkily complies. There’s an aerial shot from Saphira’s POV, where her echoing voiceover reveals that she’s been following him. Just a few moments later, she comes down to land in the clearing with them.
Eragon gives a perfunctory apology for his behaviour, and true to their co-dependent relationship, he’s instantly forgiven. Then Saphira takes an interest in Brom. She roars at him to see if he’s scared of her. He isn’t, and in fact, he comes over to have a good look at her. He starts talking about her like she’s a used horse, commenting on her build and so on, which is presumably supposed to be amusing. Or something. Hey, wait! It’s almost like Brom has actually seen real live dragons before. I wonder how?
Brom says the Varden need a rider on their side. Eragon complains that he didn’t ask for any of this, and I’m afraid he’s going to act like a spoiled brat for pretty much the rest of the movie (believe it or not, he was even worse in the book).
Brom dismisses his complaints, telling him he was “chosen”. Gosh, he’s the Chosen One too, now is he? I really don’t think I can take much more glorification of our hero. He hasn’t even done one single thing that’s heroic yet! Brom then tells him that a dragon will only hatch for its rider, and will wait forever if it has to. (Gary Stu, Gary Stu, Gary Stu!) Saphira confirms this.
Brom says that now that Saphira has hatched for Eragon, “it” will “serve you and only you.” No, really, that’s what he says, and Saphira doesn’t seem to mind in the slightest.
The amusing thing is that the book constantly pretended that Saphira and Eragon were “partners”, sharing thoughts and feelings, and working together as a team. And this was despite the fact that Eragon’s magic could do pretty much anything—including throwing fire, and levitating him—rendering Saphira completely useless, and reducing her to nothing but a boring sidekick. In the book she was his servant, and in the movie she’s his servant. The only difference is that the book didn’t admit it. And yet, the movie still wants us to believe that they’re best buds. Whatever.
Brom warns that if Eragon dies, Saphira will too, but the opposite is not the case. Now, that definitely wasn’t in the book. In the book, if a rider or dragon died, there was about a 50/50 chance of the other one surviving (again, this was lifted straight from The Dragonriders of Pern). But here, Saphira has not only made herself into Eragon’s slave, but she’s also entrusting her life to him. And as we’ll see, she’s putting her life in the hands of someone with no self-preservation instincts whatsoever, and the brains of a dead sardine. So what we have here, basically, is the stupidest hero ever, and a dragon who’s nothing more than a giant scaly doormat. Yeah, I’m rooting for them, alright. Rooting for them both to die horrible deaths.