Eragon (2006) (part 7 of 13)

Now it’s back to Gil’ead, famous site of the King’s personal Camp Gitmo. There’s a totally plagiarised shot of the Urgals (snort) making and sharpening their weapons. And man, how I wish I were watching The Two Towers right about now.

Durza teleports into the room (literally—he uses magic), and gives us an utterly pointless scene where he stabs one of the Urgals (chuckle) through the foot with his own weapon. He reveals that “the farmboy” escaped from the Ra’zac, and tells them to go get him. Look, Durza, the Ra’zac failed, and it’s pretty obvious that the Urgals are nowhere near as powerful as them. So why aren’t you doing this yourself? Do you want this new rider to win, or something?

Caption contributed by Jet

“But my Lord, there are too many! They cannot all be armed in time!”

Cut to Brom, who’s apparently psychic, because he tells Eragon that Durza will send his Urgals (giggle) after them. He says they have to go to a place called Daret. From there, they can get to the mountains where the Varden are hiding out.

He wants Eragon to instruct Saphira—not ask, instruct—to fly overhead and watch out for danger, which he does. So… she can’t understand English, then? As she takes off, we see the Ra’zac watching her from a nearby clifftop. What? How in the hell did they get here? It must be that offscreen teleportation again. Everyone in this movie can do it.

Caption contributed by Jet

“Wait, how did we get here? You gotta admit it defies all logic.”

Eragon and Brom ride off at high speed, which is followed by a brief montage of them travelling. (In the book, the horses could gallop all night without resting, and that didn’t kill them because fantasy horses are basically just machines.) Next up, they’re riding through a misty field. Brom suddenly pulls Eragon close and tells him something’s wrong. They ride off the path, where suddenly it’s bright and sunny. Continuity is for losers!

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Multi-Part Article: Eragon (2006)

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  • Linda

    So what do they call that sharing thoughts?

  • asdfasdf

    I did. I turned my brain off, looked at the pretty graphic flying scenes, and drooled. I hated Arya, I hated Eragon, and come to think of it, I hated Murgtagh as well for butchering the whole character. And then I suddenly hated the frankly immature source material, but I did like the graphics. Saphira is… well… okay, you know what? I just realized I didn’t like anything about this movie except for a flying scene.

  • sausage

    Quick nitpick with Page 9 of this review. The arrow continuity error is not in fact an error. If you look closely, those are clearly the fletchings and not the point, so it is facing the right way.

  • Chiron

    Not quite sure of the reason for the hate on the books, they are quite well written. Simply because the general plot arc shares similarities to Star Wars doesn’t make it any less enjoyable to read. Paolini is a rare and talented author, in my opinion on the level of or exceeding JK Rowling. The depth and background of his characters is so much more than you get with other series, and his style of writing is sophisticated and descriptive. Quite frankly, if you can’t enjoy these books, then you aren’t capable of understanding them. The movie on the other hand, is an utter disgrace. I too had high hopes for this so long ago, and now I am hoping (but not expecting) a redo for this. It has so much potential to be up there with the classics, but it will require a much longer movie. The story line is too deep to have so much cut off of it, there are subtleties that seem insignificant but turn out to play central roles. It saddens me to think that such potential could be ruined by this movie, and we may not get to see what it could have been.

    • I’d argue for exceeding Rowling. While she too created a complex universe and a magnificent story, her actual writing skills were generally pretty lacking.

  • K9t

    /Not quite sure of the reason for the hate on the books, they are quite well written. /
    /Paolini is a rare and talented author, in my opinion on the level of or exceeding JK Rowling./

    Bwahahahahaha. Seriously? Here’s a question for you. How many books have you read? Any classics? Any books on writer’s craft? How many fantasy books have you read from decent authors (George RR Martin, JR Tolkien, Raymond Feist, Ursula Leguin, Diane Duane, etc.) Have you ever written anything yourself that has been put out there (not necessarily published, but at least read by more than your family & friends)? Have you ever been critiqued at all (like in a class)?

    I could point out all of Eragon and Paolini’s horrible writing, over-used cliches, shallow characters, purple prose, plotless nonsense, plot holes, bad continuity, downright plagarism, lack of imagination, and examples of piss-poor author’s craft, but I doubt you could even see it for yourself, since your fan-boy glasses are on too thick.

    If you ever do actually get into writing and learn a few things about the craft, try reading Eragon again. You’ll be amazed how quickly you’ll be able to look back at these two comments and be embarassed. But I can tell you, you WILL be proud of how far you’ve come.

    I’ll give Eragon one point though: for the most part it’s grammar is semi-decent even if muddled into the best example of purple prose I’ve read. That alone puts it a whole league ahead of Twilight (which has all of the issues of Eragon multiplied by 10).

    • Someone

      Yes, but the later books were really good. I loved Roran’s story arc in particular. Once he left his fan-fantasy there was a lot of creativity and the characters were much more likeable.

  • [Retracted]

    I saw the movie first and had no inclination whatsoever to read the book, but as it was gifted to me by a family member I felt obligated to at least give it a try. After having read several fantasy series like Lord of The Rings (The Hobbit included), The Chronicles of Narnia, The Chronicles of Amber, The Harry Potter Series, I have also read The Hunger Games and following books(I am not sure what the trilogy is called), I found the Inheritance Cycle to be a very fresh way of writing. I have no delusions about the originality of the story, for at this point one can’t expect there to be any original stories, so someone like me enjoys books because of the way of writing. The fact that Paolini made the rough draft of Eragon when he was only fifteen makes it all the more amazing of what it became. The series as a whole showed a very intelligent way of writing with very good descriptive skills, and what seemed to me like a very thorough job of creating the fantasy world to be something believable, leaving only the most redundant details unexplained, and even those Ina believable way. I understand your “frustration” over the movie, but to bash the books is a little unfair. I challenge you to find any work that has come out in the last five years that is truly original, I guarantee you will not find any. Those of us who do enjoy movies and books have to hope that writers and directors keep making movies and writing books with new writing styles and methods of delivery that will draw attention away from the similarity of the story to another.

    • Tim

      Ah, “there’s no such thing as originality,” a proclamation of the nonexistence of imagination made by those who can’t imagine having it. Themes and ideas might recur in fiction, but that’s vastly different to stealing characters, concepts and story arcs wholesale from other people’s stories.

      Also Paolini’s excessive, florid prose is ridiculous. At one point Eragon spends a paragraph describing HIS OWN THUMBS. If you think that’s good writing, try reading some of the things he ripped off.

      • I’d argue that Tolkien’s prose is just as if not more ridiculous. I struggled to finish Fellowship, let alone the rest of the LOTR. Dickens also was pretty damn wordy, spending pages on unnecessary details just to get an extra penny out of his paid-by-the-word deal.

  • panda banter

    I’m not sure if this point was addressed in the recap at all, but just in case it wasn’t, I’ve been perpetually pissed by the choice (both in the book and the film) to call the egg a ‘stone’ in an attempt to create some kind of mystery and surprise. Even Durza, Arya, and Galbatorix, characters who know what the ‘stone’ is, still call it ‘a stone’, and then suddenly switch to ‘egg’ once the audience finds out (cos we totally couldn’t guess before that. The cunning plan succeeded oh so well). Just smacks of the kind of lazy writing that Paolini’s books are rife with.

  • PhoenixKing

    Despite the issues with the books, I still enjoyed them. I felt Paolini did a good job ending the series with “Inheritance”. Sadly, this movie was crap, with a bad adaptation, atrocious acting, horrible special effects, and the pace of a child with ADD.

  • Shin_gallon

    I know this recap was posted forever ago and no one cares about Eragon anymore, but I just wanted to point out that Gilead is where Roland was from in Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. So, yeah…another ripoff by Paolini.

    • BuddyPup

      Except that Roland flat out states that it was named after the city in the Bible…so I doubt it counts as a “rip-off” from Stephen King here. I think the Lord gets first billing on that reference, such as it is

  • Mithcoriel

    Nice recap, was fun to read, but I have a few criticisms:
    – What’s wrong with feathered dragons? :P A bit of imagination here..
    – What’s wrong with peasants that wear leather vests, and other historical inaccuracies? Who cares, this is fantasy. (Now, if it causes genuine plot holes, like the butcher without fridges, okay. But then again, are you sure he couldn’t just store ice collected in winter?)
    – I agree a lot is ripped off, but to say Durza is a Darth Vader Ripoff is a bit exaggerated…he fulfills the basic role of “the dragon”, (, which is a common trope not unique to SW.
    – Isn’t Gilead a city in the bible? So your assumption that it’s copied from Gilgalad in LOTR is pretty off.

    • Shuvcat

      Zion and Trinity (The Matrix) are from the Bible too. So is Endor (the Ewoks planet) and Zoar (the Sorceress from Masters Of The Universe). Books are fun. Try reading them.

      • Mithcoriel

        Was that aimed at me? Why are you pretending I don’t read books?

    • Tim

      Historical inaccuracies not directly *caused* by it being fantasy show the creators didn’t give a damn about what they were creating, and insults the audience’s intelligence. You might as well ask why people mock Patton: Lust for Glory for thinking the audience so stupid they’d mistake an American Patton tank for a German Tiger.

    • CBob

      Re: the vests- It’s not the idea they had vests itself, but more that, like a lot of the costumes in the movie, they were very obviously made with modern materials and methods. It gave things a cheap and fake looking TV production sort of veneer*, which was all the more glaring given the contrast with the more subtle, natural, and livid-in look of the costumes in the recent (at the time) LOTR and Harry Potter movies.

      While magic could in theory be used to explain some of that, in this particular world magic use/ability is too rare to be a part of daily life. In some fantasy universes magic is widespread enough to play an industrial or street-level role in civilization, but not in this world. Eragon or Durza’s fancy armor at the end might’ve plausibly had magical methods in it’s construction, but otherwise not even high-class armor or clothes (save Galbotrix or Durza’s), much less peasant clothes.

      *Costumes can be made with modern materials and methods and still look good & realistic for the setting, but here no effort was made at all. They just flat out look like fake stage clothes instead of real clothes.

  • Mangraa

    Ugh. This movie…

  • Ghost of Ravenstar

    I actually rather enjoyed the books. Sure, they aren’t very original, but they score in enough areas to be considered at least decent pulp fantasy. What actually impresses me is how young the author is, yet how good his books are. Have any of you ever read/heard of the Maradonia Saga? That was written by somebody about the same age as Paolini, and it is easily one of the worst novels of ALL TIME. No, seriously, go look it up, you’ll see that this isn’t hyperbole. That Paolini actually hammered out an at least enjoyable series of novels that got modest critical reception at his age is really, really impressive.

    • Tim

      Eragon was published when Paolini was nineteen, he wrote the first rough outline when he was fifteen. He was not as young as this tiresome and patently false argument makes out. His first draft was probably every bit as bad as Tesch’s work, Paolini’s parents just weren’t stupid enough to publish it in that state.

  • Amtension

     I actually am a fan of the book series and I have to say… the movie was horrible. I don’t even care that much about half the things you point out here, and as far as ripoffs go, at this point, it becomes difficult to be original. It’s impressive enough to be able to rearrange already used ideas in an entertaining way. What I mainly hate about the movie is them ripping out dozens of core points crucial to the storyline later on, and…well basically EVERYTHING after they met up with The Varden. Half of what I was looking forward to with this movie was seeing the dwarven city, but apparently that was out of the budget.

    Though I will admit the final battle was a bit of a cop-out, even if it was original. They defeat Galbatorix (who, if Eragon was a demigod, would be an entire pantheon of gods packed together) by making him feel empathy for everyone he has affected, thereby causing him to subsequently kill himself. Basically, he hadn’t managed to actually show that the king was really that bad, so he decided on a way to blatantly say “No, really! He was a bad guy!” at the last second.

    • Virgo

      … Why do I feel like that the whole ’empathy’ thing is just like how (spoilers for those few that haven’t read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows yet) Harry made Voldemort feel remorse for all those he killed?

    • Agreed. The cop-out ending of the fourth book soured the whole thing for me. It’d be one thing if he’d always been planning on taking the empathy route but it feels more like he was struggling to find an ending that wouldn’t involve Eragon having to resort to killing.

  • Tim

    Fun fact: far from working on a construction site, Speleers is now a producer (!). So maybe Irons set him straight after all.

  • ……

    I tried to finish the first book. I really did. I got up to the part–it was after they’d ran away from Gil’ead– where Eragon’s sitting being gormless before suddenly deciding to turn SAND into WATER. Of course he fails and then turns to Saphira and goes “Know how you turned all that rock into diamond? Do it again, but with water!” Don’t know if Saphira actually did it or not.
    It wasn’t just the obvious and blatant theft of other fantasy series. That in itself is not always terrible. I own a game called Okami which is clearly a rip-off of Zelda: Twilight Princess and yet is extremely enjoyable to play. In this case, though, I’ve never read a book where the author does the equivalent of flipping the bird to the people who wrote the stuff he stole. My friend tells me that there’s actually a Doctor Who reference in the third book.
    It’s not just the historical errors of fact, either. Most fantasy authors don’t spend much time researching the times their story is supposed to be set in. The one time I read a book where the author did get some hands-on experience of her scenes, her acknowledgments were as long as some of her chapters.  But unless you’re a history freak, you can safely ignore the errors in the works of Tamora Pierce, etc. It wasn’t even the little tiny niggling details that stuck in my craw, either, though usually they make me want to bang my head against the walls. Stuff like referring to Brom’s horse as a “white” stallion who can supposedly run all night (hint: the only true white horses, albinos, would barely be able to gallop for ten minutes). Or the complete lack of grammar and consistency (there are two words for fire!)  in Paolini’s “language” which is basically just a mixture of Latin and Old Norse. Or Eragon’s miraculously swift healing.No, the thing that annoyed me most was the characters. As you have pointed out in your very fine and amusing review, Eragon is little more than a whiny spoiled child who is told repeatedly how important he is and how much depends on him and yet still manages to get himself in a deadly situation every second or third chapter. He is so utterly dependent on the people around him that he forces them into situations where they can’t do anything *except* help him. Point in such: Eragon forcing Murtagh into saving Arya. There was no need for it. And it seemed so out of character for Eragon to do it. All I’d read before that suggests he had no empathy whatsoever.Saphira’s just as bad, if not worse. One thing that continually stumped me throughout the book was WHY the dragons would want to weaken themselves by binding to humans. Elves maybe I could understand; they’re extremely strong and magical and what-not. But they didn’t have to make humans Riders as well. What do the dragons get out of it? In Saphira’s case, nothing at all. Eragon is openly dismissive and arrogant towards her. “Don’t feel bad. We all screwed up. Now go carry Brom, despite the fact that I could just tie him to the saddle of his horse.” Her sickly-sweet fawning on him reminds me of a teenage girl with the hots for the school bully. The one time she shows a little bit of spine is when she’s begging him to ride her. Ugh. Her ‘wisdom’ is nothing more than a few shallow meaningless statements on fate, the future, and how lowly and pathetic humans are. Bit rich coming from a dragon who does nothing in the entire plotline except talk, fly, smash a ceiling, and turn a tomb into diamond. 
    Murtagh is the only person in the entire story that has any form of consistent personality and the only one who seems to realize what a dumb story he’s in. Eragon:”You killed Durza!” Murtagh: “I really, really doubt it.” Yet he too suffers from the one-dimensionalness of the other characters and is described as ‘perfectly matched to Eragon in swordplay’ despite the fact that he’s been training his entire life as opposed to Eragon’s few months. OK, rant over. Have a good day, folks.

    • Picard578

      Well, Murtagh DID smash Eragon every time they fought for real; be it magic or sword combat; so one can simply ignore that scene from Eragon or imagine that he was just screwing Eragon around – he probably realized Eragon is addicted to daily ego boosts.

    • Tim

      “I own a game called Okami which is clearly a rip-off of Zelda: Twilight Princess”

      That would be pretty clever considering that Okami was released before Twilight Princess.

    • dihdj

      *** u

  • Picard578

    Arya wasn’t using spell in book to transport egg because, apparently, teleportation is imprecise.

  • Aydenkinchla

    Uhhg, I hated this movie, and looking back the first book wasn’t that good either. Thankfully the sequels were got better as he got older ( hmmmmmm) and they were less “inspired by” certain works. Anyway I enjoyed your review, and thank god this movie won’t be getting a sequel.

  • Your worst Nightmare

     Books were good, movie was terrible. Whoever wrote this recap doesn’t know what they’re talking about. People think its like Star Wars/ LOTR because they need something to pick at. What you’re saying is all fantasy movies are alike. That’s like saying all guns are alike because they shoot bullets. Very intelligent. Next time, read the book before you criticize the movie. The book was way better.

    • 123Akamaru321

      I really don’t think this webpage is really being serious.

    • CDiehl

      First of all, this piece is specifically about the movie, because this website is about movies, and not books. It doesn’t matter how good the book was. The book could be a work of genius and it doesn’t make a lick of difference, because this is about the movie, which really did suck. Also, I’m pretty sure the author of this read the book too, and disliked it also.

      Second, this movie blatantly ripped off Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. I’ll assume the book ripped off Star Wars far more than LotR, because the plot is almost an exact replica of the plot of A New Hope. I don’t believe it’s accidental or because Paolini was trying to write a “hero’s journey” type of story. It’s a “hero’s journey” story because Star Wars was one. The movie rips off LotR in terms of some of the imagery, probably because the movie was made in the hope of cashing in on the fantasy trend LotR started a few years earlier.

      • Mithcoriel

        You’re right, the book rips off Star Wars and had similarity to LOTR too. But I wouldn’t say it ripped off LOTR. Tolkien started a whole new genre of fantasy, and there are now many Middleearth-like fantasy worlds in countless books and video games and probably movies (whose characteristics are e.g. that elves are tall beautiful humanoids rather than little fairies or goblinlike creatures, that the world is like the middle-ages plus magic, etc.). So saying it ripped of LOTR is kinda like saying it ripped off whatever the first ancient myths about dragons are.

      • Noah

        The book was nothing like the movie the plot was extremely different and nothing like star wars

  • Andrew Stookey

    The “Urgals”?  Seriously?  That brings to mind an army of nerds in big glasses and bright colors.

  • 123Akamaru321

    That awkward moment when some of the dwarves are taller than the humans.

  • GrandAdmiraloftheWastes

     I’m sad that the most annoying line in the movie wasn’t mentioned.  In the Two-Towers rip-off scene, Mr. Shade says that his urgal slaves should be like their swords “Simple and to the Point”(As he stabs the henchmen in the foot).  But the swords that are being made are the least pratical fantasy bullshit weapons in the entire movie.  They basically look like 7-foot bat-e-rangs complete with giganticly wide serration that serve no point with a center grip with no hand guard, and like everything else in the movie, is clearly plastic.  I vomit in my mouth everytime I hear that line when I watched the Rifftrax-ed version of this movie.  And, for some odd reason probably relating to the fact that if you tried to swing it you’d hit yourself 98% of the time, the stupid fantasy geek swords are never used. 

  • Oberon

    The Inheritance Cycle, for all the unoriginal concepts it does have, is not a bad series. The first book IS the worst one though, and where most of the complaints lie. Paolini does fix the series by the end. Is it as good as Lotr or Harry Potter? No, it’s not. Is Paolini a child prodigy of writing? No. But its a decent series with MUCH better characters than what the movies portrays them as. Eragon, though they did get his whiney factor in, is not as stupid and does learn. Saphira is not a doormat she is in the movie, as she is much more independent and thoughtful, even in the first book she was much smarter than how she’s portrayed in the movie. I will though, the one thing they did better was Brom. They changed him from a gandalf clone to somewhat original persona, though his dialogue is much worse than in the book. So the fact that they made a bullshit movie based on the worst book of the series? Yeah, recipe for disaster.  

  • Bookworm14.0

    I completely agree w/ what was said about the movie. But how dare she critisize the books?! They’re soooo much better than Star Wars, it’s not even comparable. And besides, I think Paolini is an artist to have combined so many things together and it worked. It takes talent to invent something new, it takes even more talent to take what was done and make it better. The mix of LotR and Star Wars actually compliment each other. So Inheritance Cycle haters, SHUT THE HELL UP!! And I dare U to write a best-seller at 15. Let’s see how u fare *smirks*.

    • Lucy

      Sorry, but 1) he did NOT write a better story than the books/movies he stole from, and 2), he stole from so many people and so frequently that it defeats the point of even reading the book.
      He clearly stole from people such as LeGuin, Tolkin, Eddings, Lucas, and
      It is a matter of opinion whether or not he made the plagiarized material better. However, whether or not his writing is well-done is not the point. You can’t just steal from everyone else, mix it together, and claim it’s yours. I see him as a greedy little boy in a candy shop, stuffing candy into his pocket. Then he decides to buy something to cover up the fact that he was in the shop to steal candy, and –
      He’s the store’s thousandth customer, and he gets five hundred bucks.
      Oh yeah, and it seems to be a common belief in the fan circle that people who dislike the series do it because they’re jealous, and they need something to hate. Sorry, but for the most part, it isn’t like that. I, for one, enjoy good books. I give books that I like a good rating. Paolini’s age has nothing to do with the fact that his books are terrible. He’s not a bad writer, it’s just – plagiarism, purple prose, stilted + horribly unrealistic dialogue, and 2d characters don’t make for a good series. If it was a good series, I would say so.
      Oh, and also, Paolini is incredibly arrogant. He compares himself to Tolkien.
      NO ONE can do that. Well, except for Brandon Sanderson. Although I doubt you’ve read books by him. Otherwise you’d say screw Paolini and start reading books that are worth your time.

      • Mithcoriel

        Really? What did he say comparing himself to Tolkien?

        By the way, I don’t think his plagiarism has to do with greed. More a sort of naivete of not realizing that what he was doing was unoriginal.

        • Picard578

          He did compare himself to Tolkien:

          “In my writing, I strive for a lyrical beauty somewhere between Tolkien at his best and Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf.”

      • JD

        Dont forget he stole from McCaffery too.

      • Picard578

        “He compares himself to Tolkien.”

        Okay, WTF? He’s nowhere close, only parts of Eragon that I found interesting a) had Murtag (an Aragorn / Darth Vader crossover) in it and b) were inspired (which in most cases meant “directly lifted from”) Lord of the Rings and Star Wars.

        And for those who ask, I got interested and found this quote from Paolini:

        “In my writing, I strive for a lyrical beauty somewhere between Tolkien at his best and Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf.”

        You can just google it if you don’t believe me.

  • Noah

    The book was exellent but the movie was a piece of ****

  • Dark_Messiah

    The movie was terrible, yes, but you cant call a book a star wars ripoff just because it has 1 or 2 similar element to it or even a lotr ripoff for that matter, because tolkien did a great job and its quite hard not to write something that wasnt really covered in his books. I think that the inheritance cycle is a great book series, but saying it ripped off stuff is stupid, and you are no different than the 12yo world of warcraft fans that call all other mmo’s a wow ripoff. Also going by your logic, star wars was a ripoff of (or took elements from) star trek coz both played in space. If you guys keep comparing it to other books ofc it’ll seem bad to you, but if u look at its story without always comparing it to other stories its a very good and enjoyable one.

    • Mithcoriel

      I mentioned before that it can’t be called a LOTR ripoff. But you can’t deny it copied a bit too many plot points from Star Wars, at least at the beginning (wether you want to go so far as to call it a “ripoff” or use a nicer word I don’t know): the way Eragon’s uncle is slaughtered while Eragon is away, giving him a good reason to go on a journey with his new mentor without any ties holding him back home, that’s EXACTLY like in Star Wars. Paolini could have been more original there.
      The the Varden are like the resistance, and captured Arya like Leia.
      But I wouldn’t call the “Luke I am your father” trope a ripoff from Star Wars, cause that’s just a classical motif if you like.

      It’s not the same thing as comparing Star Wars with Star Trek cause mostly the only thing they have in common is the location (space). What was copied here was a lot more specific.

  • CaptainCalvinCat

    Ah, the movie is quite decent – it has nothing to do with the books, but in the end… it is an adaptation and the point of an adaptation is to ADAPT something, to change it to a more convenient source of entertainment for those, who didn’t have the nerve to read the book or listen to the audio-book.

    Are there changes? Yes.
    Do I feel embarrassed watching the movie?
    Nope, not really – I quite liked it.

    Is it a bad movie? Depends on how you describe a “bad movie”. To me, a movie has two jobs: 1) to entertain 2) to make people think about a certain fact.

    While it clearly lagged in the second part (basically: the movie is a no-brainer), it did not lag in the first part.
    I WAS entertained.

    The acting was quite allright, the animation was good, the music evoked an atmosphere…

    So – no, the movie is an entertaining flick.

    There are others, that even cannot bother to be entertaining.

    Example? Oh of course: What about Superman returns? I’ll call this movie the biggest disappointment, because it didn’t bring new stuff to the table. the biiiiiig evil Plot of Lex was nothing more and nothing less than an inversed redo of his plot in the first movie, the “saving Lois for the first time” was basically a redo from the first meeting between Lois and Supes in the first movie – complete with “over the top and ‘comical'” eyecrossing passing out from Lois and “statistically, flying is still the safest way to travel”. WOW – how original. Where did I see that before? Ah, right, in 1990, when they aired the first Superman-Movie in television – and the joke was not even funny back then.

    So, compared to Superman returns Eragon is a good movie.

    • Soli

      Personally, I consider it a failure as an adaptation because there was no way that the sequels could have come after this, even if it hadn’t been a flop. The exclusion of elves and dwarves alone pretty much scuppers a large portion of the story. And the exclusion of the Katrina/Roran storyline. And the depiction of the Ra’zac. And the death of Sloan.

      For instance, fans were rightly up in arms about Faramir’s depiction in “The Two Towers.” But the depiction did not derail the entire plot of the story the way, say, having the Nazguls be normal humans would. Or if Eowyn never sneaked along with her uncle’s army.

      • Jason Withrow

        You raise an interesting thought experiment. What would they have done to fit those things in? Forced them in despite their previous absense, ala the mirror from Deathly Hallows Part 1 and 2? Continue to adapt them out of play, either tactfully or more likely straight into a wall? We’ll never really know, but given the attitudes that were on display in this particular production, I’m sure we can take a guess or two.

        • Mithcoriel

          My guess is they could have still added the elves in and just made it so elves don’t have pointed ears in that universe (kinda boring), or they could have made Arya reveal that she changed her appearance via magic to look human…for…some reason.

          • Zaron

            Well, the film already has a lot of some reasons. One more couldn’t hurt.

  • Hannoie

    I agree about everything you wrote about the movie, but I can’t agree about the book.

    It’s a good book. It makes far more sense than the movie (when Fäolin and Glenwing died in the beginning of the book, they rode peacefully through the forest, and because of du Weldenvarden’s wards, not expecting an ambush) and those things that didn’t make sense, was almost always explained in later books. For example, you thought it weird how Galbatorix and the forsworn could defeat all the powerful riders in the beginning. After all, they were only foruteen all-together against all the other riders. It was confusing in the first two books, but then it gets explained; eldunarí.

    Was it the best-written book in the world? No, of course not. He was fifteen. Was it such a huge rip-off of Star Wars as the movie? No, actually, it wasn’t. And as the books go on, the story gets more and more original, Paolini’s writing skills get better and better, and the reading over-all gets more enjoyable. It isn’t right to call the last book a bad read, it actually isn’t. It’s a great book that stands out from other fantasy novels, with it’s interesting characters (You must admit Angela grows on you in the last book) and original end.

    I mean, when in the history of fantasy does it not end with: Boy gets girl, everybody is happy forver after?

    Um, you’ve read the last two books since you wrote this, right? I don’t want to spoil. Then again, if you haven’t read them yet, you probably have no intention to do so in the future.

    If you have read them, I really hope you liked them :)


  • Not a three year old

    You’re all talking about how eragon is just a rip-off of things like lord of the rings and Star Wars. GROW UP. It’s impossible in this day and age to write something completely original, alien is jaws in space, does anyone complain about that? No. If you look at the book as grown up instead of three year olds it’s decent, not brilliant, but decent. The movie is different to the book, again GET OVER IT, movies are always different to the books.

    • Nessus

      “Alien is Jaws in space”… wat? The only commonality between those two movies is a non-human attacking humans.

      • CaptainCalvinCat

        So? That is the core element, which everything else builds upon.
        A creature attacking humans. That is the basic principle.
        the build-up is different, granted, but when push comes to shove, it is about a creature attacking humans and the humans try to survive that.

        • Chris Palmer

          Considering that Alien is actually a haunted house in space and the humans in Jaws actually have to HUNT the shark (and are perfectly safe on the land), the argument does not stick.

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            No – what is the core element of this movie?
            Movie a) Creature attacks humans.
            Movie B) Creature attacks humans.
            the why, how, and what the frak, are not part of the core-element.
            In Alien the Creature attacks the humans and kills them one by one.
            In Jaws the shark attacks the humans and kills them one by one.

          • Nessus

            You’re missing the point. The point is not whether or not they have this element in common. The point is that this element is so vague and broadly applicable as to make the comparison useless for this argument. It’s like saying fish are just “cats in water” because they’re both chordates.

            If Alien is “Jaws in space” by that measure alone, then at least 1/3 (and that’s a conservative estimate) of all horror and suspense films ever made are also Jaws… including those made before Jaws. In the same vein, you can pick out any other isolated core plot element and use it to make similarly meaningless comparisons to other films. “I’ll take ‘Final Girls’ for 500, Alex.”

            This is why people above are saying the who, what, when, how etc matters. Movies (stories in general, really) only become comparable when you look at how multiple elements are combined. If you have to aggressively reduce your examples to a single bone in order to equate them, you’ve done a rubbish job picking examples. If your argument requires such overreduction in order to function (as not-a-3-year-old’s does), then you’ve made an irrelevant argument.

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            As you can read all over the internet (a quick google-search: you can see, that “jaws in space” was the pitch for the movie and – all in all – as already pointed out, it shares certain commonalities, the difference is that in movie a) people actively hunt for the beast and in movie b) the people are passively hunted from the beast.

          • Nessus

            Pitches in general mean nothing. They are BS soundbites told to execs to secure funding, and are routinely fudged to that end. Judging a movie by it’s pitch is at best like holding the modern definition of a 1000 year old loan word to it’s original etymology.

            In the specific case of Alien, the conceptual process that went into the film, from the first gleam in O’bannon’s eye, is extremely well documented, and had nothing to do with Jaws. If you’re curious, it was originally a mash up of two unfinished script stories: one about astronauts receiving a distress call and having a dilemma about answering it, and another about gremlins on a WW2 bomber. The Jaws pitch was, as above, just a line fed to a producer to get a foot in the door.

            In fact, many of the links that show up for a “jaws in space” search go into detail about this, both deconstructing the film’s actual influences, and talking about pitches as marketing devices. So, good job showing you didn’t read your own references by citing them so I could.

            As to the rest: you keep cranking on as if anyone’s denying those basic commonalities exist. I’m starting to think you’re not actually reading what people are saying before you reply either.

            Once again (if you are actually reading any of this): the commonalities you cite are far, far too general to have any relevance. They are so vague and so common that the other movies that fit the same criteria number in the thousands and date back to the begging of film as a media. Go ahead: try making a mental list of all the movies you’ve seen which by those elements alone can just as legitimately be described as “Jaws in X” or “Jaws with an X”. If you have to water down your comparison to the point where literally an entire third of a genre (a the very least) also qualifies, then you’re not saying anything meaningful.

          • Fantasy Mission Force

            The humans are perfectly safe on the land in Alien, as well. The alien is in the ship.
            In Alien, the haunted house is a spaceship, in Jaws, it’s the ocean.

          • Muthsarah

            Except that getting off the ship is impossible for them. The Nostromo IS the world as far as the film is concerned, the water and the land. They’re stuck. They can’t run. They can’t hide. It’s kill or be killed. They’re not even safe on the land, as the “land” is the planet where they picked up the alien to begin with.

            With Jaws, Brody et all CHOOSE to go after the shark, each for their own reasons. Very important distiction. It’s a hunt. Alien is pure survival. Nobody CHOSE to hunt the Alien; they were civilians entirely forced to do it. Same with a haunted house – two of the first things that tend to be established in these films are: a) that most of them had no idea whatsoever what they’re getting into and b) for some reason, they don’t have the option of just leaving. Aliens is actually a little closer to Jaws in that respect; not in terms of the numbers of the monsters, but in the theme of how the hunters realize they got in over their heads. With Alien, it might as well be a home invasion movie; though the Nostromo crew technically went into the aliens’ home, emotionally, the monster is coming into theirs.

            Them! and Godzilla are both about giant monsters attacking humanity in response to nuclear weapons. However, Godzilla is not Them! in Tokyo.

    • Fantasy Mission Force

      Yes, but it’s also possible to come up with a story that doesn’t directly copy most of its elements from one or two specific sources.
      It’s one thing to have some similar points, but to be a direct mash-up of Madonna and Marilyn Manson is something much worse and far from original.
      I think I jumped topics back there, for some reason.

  • eragon

    F you stop talking about the books so terribly unless you read all of them there my child hood

    • $36060516

      Your argument might be more convincing if you explained why you liked them.

      • eragon

        okay well the way they change your view on dragons they aren’t hertless monsters it isin’t harypoter it pulls you in and just alltogether a great bookseris ps. read it yourself harrd to describe

        • JD

          You can get the same thing with much better writing and read The Dragon Riders Of Pern books.
          or the 1st few Dragon Lance Trilogies

          • eragon

            and get worse dragon and human persinality also less feeling and eragon has to learn he deals with his dad before he knows it dieing

  • Julia

    I’m really enjoying this recap, but I can see why some commenters think it’s too harsh (even so, minus 50 karma points for abuse of the phrase “Grow up”, which is over-used, meaningless and obnoxious). I like the nit-picking about facts like rats not squeaking constantly to attract the predators for which they’d be a meal, or peasants who own a horse being anything but poor.

    Some other stuff is a bit like finding faults for the heck of it – the village loses young men on a regular basis so it makes sense that there’s no lack of empty buildings. Eragon’s uncle / family could have been a lot richer one or two generations ago, which would explain the big house. As for assuming that a peon who found a dragon won’t use that to support a hated ruler is pretty realistic, all the more coming from someone who’s power-hungry himself and will likely expect others to be so, too. Either way, just sitting back and waiting what that dear boy will do with his new super-weapon and super-powers? No, not a good idea.

    The thing about what peasants would live like – it doesn’t have to be European medieval, so the clothing styles are a bit up for grabs. But some things are just unlikely in preindustrial societies, like for example peasants with several changes of clothing or wasting a candle when there’s no pressing need for it. It’s not just that you have to trade for the candle – there’s no guarantee that next time you need some, there will be candles to be had. And plowing a field by hand if there’s a horse available? Why? It’s like having a functioning lawn-mower and cutting the grass with your kitchen scissors.

    The costumes? I re-watched a bit of “Dungeons and Dragons”, so I have a high tolerance right now. They don’t look too bad as long as you don’t use “Lord of the Rings” as a yardstick.

    A dragon growing to full size in a matter of seconds? Okay, magical creature, so you can’t really say it’s impossible, but it’s just too obviously a cheap cop-out from showing the events of Saphira (good gods) growing up.

    The “rip-off” thing… Some things don’t have to be a rip-off, like the fight against a hated ruler or an old mentor who dies half-way through the story. But the names are really painfully blatant; I remember seeing the map in the book the first time and there was hardly one name in ten that wasn’t obviously copied.

    Having a few parallels, consciously or unconsciously, to other stories? Okay, can happen. If it’s used creatively and there is stuff of it’s own added, it can be okay. But this? There seems to be nothing redeeming about it, nothing creative or well-crafted. Find a dragon, turn into a super-hero without any training, learning or other effort. I’m really feeling sorry for the poor actors who had to suffer through this movie and now have it on their CV.

  • Julia

    … I just can’t resist …

    I had to re-watch this movie to go with the recap, and that sourceress’es hut! I could swear those are red christmas lights outside of the hut. Not to mention the glass pearls &mirror curtain for that authentic wall mart feeling. It’s all in the details.

    > Brom rides beneath them, and clearly, he has only one horse now.

    Well, he had to quick-stitch that saddle out of _something_.

    Okay, you see Brom leading a rider-less horse later on.

    Still, this movie makes me realize how much work and love and attention went into “How to Train Your Dragon”. It’s the exact opposite of this _a huge powerful animal lives only to help you become a big hero_ shtick; Hiccup had to work for everything. A dragon didn’t just drop out of the sky by itself, the saddle had to be constructed and improved again and again, and there’s a very clear reason why a powerful beast like that gives a puny little two-legged thing a ride.

    Here? Stuff turns up when needed, and disappears when the heroes are finished with it. By the way, is there one scene where Eragon actually does work? As in, field work? Cleaning stuff? Building something? He is by preindustrial standards a young man who’d be working all the sunlight hours, like every other peasant over the age of six. Instead, he seems to have all the time in the world to lounge around.

    As for underlit prisons: come on, you know the rules. Bad light, lots of shadowy corners to hide in, and a stupid fat guard who falls asleep easily and keeps the big keyring on a hook at his belt where it can easily be lifted away with a stick or by a dog, monkey or trained Klatchian spider. But it is a good thing that this movie comes with off-screen teleportation, because the shot of Gilgalad shows that a circle of about half a mile surrounding the fortress is deserted, barren rock – not even bushes. No chance of missing the one person walking towards the gate.

    All in all, this movie has three redeeming qualities: Jeremy Irons, Robert Carlyle and Garrett Hedlund. And I’m absolutely certain that someone watched Robert Carlyle in this movie, they way he can be all focused and quiet, and thought to him/herself: without the horrible hair and writing, this could be really something. Cue Once Upon a Time and Mr. Gold.

  • I remember falling in love with the books as a young kid and they still hold a soft spot in my heart. Their failings and inconsistencies are almost the most endearing features and I would defend it as the story it is to my grave. It’s not a perfect series, and I know that if I reread it now with a serious intent to nitpick, I’d end up frustrated with all the things I’d most definitely find. Whether or not Paolini took a couple things or even most things off of LOTR and Star Wars, I still love it. His work creating the world of Alagaësia was pretty damn impressive for a 19 year old and I doubt any one of us would have the dedication to do the same, not to mention it was well-written for what it was. Because I can’t stay awake through (nor have the large amounts of time for) anything Tolkien wrote, I’m satisfied with Eragon and his adventures and will treasure my original paperbacks wrapped in colorful duct tape to prevent more pages being lost from so many rereads.
    That being said, the movie was absolutely atrocious and this recap summed it up perfectly in excellent deadpan humor. I’m not lying when I say that I snorted and nearly spat out my drink twice reading it. The first book is generally regarded as the worst written of the four (though I’d argue that the last one made for a pretty infuriating read), which means that a movie based off of it is a recipe for disaster no matter whom you cast or who directs it. Not to mention, they set it up so that there could be no sequel! Disappointing doesn’t cover it.

  • Jet

    Heya guys – just popping in to say hi! I have to say I’m very happy to see my recap is still so popular after all these years!

    To the fans complaining about my criticisms of the Best Book Ever: if I have to publish a bestselling novel in order to say a book is bad, then you have to publish one in order to say it’s good. If I’m not qualified to say a popular novel isn’t very good, then you’re not qualified to say I’m wrong. QED.

    In any case, irony alert – I actually DID publish a novel as a teenager. My parents aren’t publishers; I wrote a novel and sold it to a large publishing house – who didn’t know I was a kid because I didn’t tell them. They bought it because they thought it was good. Since then I’ve published a few other things, some of which were bestsellers. Guess that means I’m free to criticise Eragon all I like, since I have the necessary qualifications. :p

    Yes, Eragon is a ripoff. The author even admitted as such. I don’t blame him for that. He wrote a cute, harmless piece of fanfiction which, yes, is pretty decent given that it was his first effort. It just shouldn’t have been published, because it’s not up to professional standards. Not that the industry cares much about that sort of thing.

    • 333

      Reminds me of Roger Ebert’s response to Rob Schneider when he complained about a critic not having a Pulitzer Prize and not being in any position to criticize his work: “As chance would have it, I have won the Pulitzer Prize, and so I
      am qualified. Speaking in my official capacity as a Pulitzer Prize
      winner, Mr. Schneider, your movie sucks.”