May 29, 2018
Eragon (2006) (part 9 of 13)
Next up, Brom is treating Saphira’s wing, which she apparently injured at some point. He’s covering it with some sort of weird yellow paste. It seems Brom can multitask, because he’s also yelling at Eragon. He tells him that he risked Saphira’s life unnecessarily, and is clearly very pissed off.
Eragon, of course, is completely unrepentant. Brom finishes up and goes to the river to wash his hands, still shouting about how it’s his duty to get to the Varden alive and, really, I’m completely on his side here. Eragon’s rash behaviour is supposed to be endearing, but really, it just makes him look stupid and irresponsible. And his refusal to learn from his mistakes only makes him that much more unsympathetic.
Regardless, Eragon has something else on his mind. He’s figured out that Brom is hiding something (took you long enough, kid), and he knows just what that something is, because he grabs Brom by the hand and cuts away the bit of leather covering his palm. And what do you know? There’s a scar shaped like an “e” underneath.
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So, it turns out Brom was a dragon rider. And it only took, oh, about fifteen minutes for everyone else to figure that out for ourselves. As I said before: Stefen Fangmeier thinks you are a moron. Well, okay, the book was every bit as obvious about it, so I suppose you could say Fangmeier was just being faithful to the Force. Uh, source. I’m still pretty sure he thinks you’re a moron, though.
Eragon triumphantly calls Brom “dragon rider,” and Brom sadly says that he isn’t, not any longer. He now reveals his backstory: he was a rider, but his dragon died during the war at the hands of another rider called Dar—sorry, Morzan, who had joined Galbatorix. In the book, Morzan was just one of the thirteen Forsworn. Here, it appears that he was the only ally to Galbatorix. Look, it was implausible enough in the book that he killed all the other riders with just thirteen helpers. Suggesting that he did it with just one is absurd.
Brom says that he went after Morzan for revenge, and killed him with his sword. (The same one he was holding earlier, with the red blade.) Unfortunately, this also killed Morzan’s dragon, which Brom claims was “the last dragon.” Well, except for the King’s. And Taimak.
Saphira, upon learning that Brom’s dragon died trying to defend him, calmly says, “Better we than our riders.” Worst! Dragon! Ever!
Brom is tormented by guilt over unwittingly killing the “last” dragon, and Jeremy Irons actually pulls this off. It really makes me want to cry. He says that he hid out in Eragon’s village due to the shame he “so rightly deserved”. He says it was his fault that “the days of the riders are over.” Um, Brom, I really think we can safely blame Galbatorix for that. And again, Galbatorix is a rider, so the days of the rider are kind of not actually—oh, what’s the point, really?
Brom gets all emotional, and says that when Eragon came along, it gave him back his will to live. Which is funny, because it’s the exact opposite of the reaction I had when the punk came along.
“And now,” says Saphira for like the billionth time, “the time of the riders has come again.” Yes, and guess what? I don’t care. And also, you really shouldn’t keep saying that, because you just keep reminding me of that repeated line in Lord of the Rings about how the time of the elves was over. Like a lot of bad movies, this one keeps making me want to go and watch other, better movies. And trust me, I would. But I just know that if I did, I wouldn’t have the will to actually come back and finish this.
Back in the fortress at Gil’ead, the Urgals report to Durza. And the lighting here makes them really, really look like Peter Jackson’s orcs. Cut it out, movie!
Durza somehow knows they failed to kill Eragon. Actually, he probably knew they didn’t have a chance in the first place. So he kills the leader by poking him in the head with his press-on nail. I told you he was evil. He then selects another one to be the leader, and sends them back out on the hunt. See? They’re not useless henchmen. They just needed a change in management.
Boy, these Urgals really are stupid. They came back empty-handed, instead of staying on the job until they succeeded? What did they think Durza was going to do? Just shrug and say, “Well, I’m sure you guys tried your hardest. Now who wants to grab some brewskies?”
Durza, though, has decided to do something other than just sitting on his ass. Amazing, huh? Yes, now he strolls off to visit Arya again. And it looks as if the door to her cell isn’t even locked, if you can believe that.
He casts some kind of spell on her—again using his evil press-on nail—which sends a vision to the sleeping Eragon, in which he sees Arya come to him. Dream Arya introduces herself and says, “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope!” Okay, not really. She actually begs him to come rescue her at—oh, they decided to use the name, after all—Gil’ead. Well, Durza, I’ve got to commend you on this scheme, because Eragon is the only fantasy hero in the world who’s dim enough to fall for it.
Sure enough, upon waking up, Eragon is instantly determined to rush off after some girl he saw in a dream and who, for all he knows, doesn’t exist. Brom tells him no way. Two guesses as to what Eragon’s response is. That’s right—he says, “That egg was sent to me! I’ll decide what risks to take, not you!” And he says it in the snottiest, brattiest way imaginable. Brom tells him that this is about more than just them: it’s about the welfare of the whole country. He says Eragon has to put the needs of the people before his own.
But Eragon refuses to listen, even when Brom tells him that Arya is willing to sacrifice her life for his sake. Evidently, hundreds of others have already done so while waiting for a rider to come. And I really, really wish Jeremy’s acting wasn’t so convincing here, because his fear and concern in this scene are almost palpable. He impresses on Eragon over and over again, in no uncertain terms, that it’s absolutely vital that he act responsibly.
And guess what? Eragon completely ignores him. He shoves him off and stalks away to where Saphira is waiting. She, too, warns him against this, but then just stands there and doesn’t do a damn thing while Eragon gets on her back. Brom runs up and pleads with Eragon to listen to him, whereupon Eragon—for real—shouts back: “Your shame is not mine!”
Excuse me a moment: What the fucking hell on a stick?!?
Are we supposed to sympathise with this kid? Are we honestly supposed to be on his side here? This is not how a hero behaves! This boy isn’t someone you can root for—he’s an idiot! No, he’s far worse than an idiot: he’s a whiny, self-centred, rude and ignorant asshole. Not content to simply ignore the advice of the guy who saved his life, like, six times, he actually has the gall to insult him as well? And worse, Jeremy Irons’ consistently good acting means that his hurt and despair at this insensitive comment feels very real indeed.
Then Eragon has the audacity to arrogantly tell Brom that he’s forgotten what it means to be a rider. Oh yes, I’m sure a real rider runs off into danger after having a weird dream. He orders Saphira to fly off. She protests, only to be cut off by Eragon, who caps off all his previous arrogant behaviour with this gem of a line: “I’m the rider, and I say we go!” And there you have it. Eragon has successfully rid himself of the last shred of likeability he had.
Saphira flies off like the doormat she is. There are (groan) yet more aerial shots of mountains as they head for Gil’ead. And no, I have no idea how they know where to find it.
Once there, Eragon leaves Saphira among some rocks and tells her to hide, and he’ll go in on his own. She warns him that they’re strongest when they’re together, but he says they can’t be together until he’s as strong as her. Yeah, getting yourself killed is a sure-fire way to make you stronger. You repulsive brat.
Night comes, and it turns out Eragon’s plan to sneak into the fortress consists solely of—get this—putting on a cloak and hood he stole from Anakin Skywalker, and just strolling in through the front door. It’s just that easy! Well, okay, Durza is actually luring him into a trap here, and wants him to sneak in, so I suppose it’s not that outrageous. But it’s still really lame. And if Eragon weren’t such an idiot, he’d probably realize that something was up.
Eragon enters the prison, which is really badly underlit. Good idea, guys. Just leave your prison complex in near-darkness, so anyone can hide in there. He sneaks around for a bit and enters a corridor full of dry ice fog, and it turns out he’s being followed by the same black-clad figure that was spying on him back in Daret. The gods alone know how he knew Eragon would be coming here, and how he managed to follow him so quickly. Like I said, offscreen teleportation. And omniscience as well, apparently.
And now I realize that I don’t know how this guy managed to sneak in, too. They couldn’t have been expecting two morons to break in, so maybe the security really is just crap.
Eragon again uses the magic spell that allows him to see like Saphira (beats me how he can do that when Saphira isn’t there). Somehow, he can look through a wall and see Arya lying on her slab. I don’t know how he can tell it’s her, because all he sees is a vague, glowing blur. But since he’s the hero (and a Gary Stu), he’s always right.
He draws his sword—wait, where did that come from? He didn’t have one before. It’s not Zar’roc (that’s the red sword), because we’ll find out later that Brom still has it. So what the hell?
He finds the door to Arya’s cell, and suddenly knows another spell, because he uses magic to unlock the door. Once was bad enough, but now they’re pulling this trick twice? I hate this movie. I really, really hate this movie.
He strolls right in to Arya’s cell and finds her lying there doing nothing. She tells him he shouldn’t have come, and advises him to run away. But of course he won’t, and it’s too late anyway, because a smirking Durza chooses that moment to step out of the shadows. He looks at Eragon and starts laughing contemptuously. I gotta admit, I find this pretty amusing, too.
“Forgive me if I stare,” Durza says. “I knew you were young, but even then I expected someone a little more… well, more.” In other words, he thought he’d be bigger. It’s pretty sad when the villain’s lame taunting is right on the money like that.
Eragon makes a rush at him with his sword. But Durza turns himself into some kind of black mist (what is he, the Incredible Nightcrawler?) and teleports to the other side of the room. There are a whole lot of axes hanging on the wall—just what every sensible person keeps in a dungeon cell, of course—and Durza uses his magic to hurl them at Eragon.
He ducks out of the way, so Durza follows this up by magically hurling what appears to be masonry. Eragon uses the fire spell, and the bits of rock just explode in midair. Soooo, the word “brisingr” can light a fire, make a bridge explode, and be used as a shield as well? Can it wash dishes and create a festive floral bouquet, too?
Durza sneers and says, “Well, well, a young magician,” like this is some sort of surprise. Durza, he’s a rider. Riders have magic. Don’t you know that?
But it’s obvious that Eragon doesn’t have anywhere near the skill to challenge him. (Not for at least another half hour, anyway.) And then, whoops, it looks like coming here wasn’t such a good idea after all, because now Durza’s got him dead to rights. Durza magically lifts a spear off the floor (no idea where that came from) and prepares to hurl it at Eragon. He takes his sweet time about it, of course, so he can tell Eragon that as he dies, he’ll hear the dying screams of his dragon. Please, can I see that happen, Durza? Pretty please?
He finally hurls the spear, while Eragon just stands there not doing a damn thing, and then…
…and then Brom suddenly teleports into the room and throws himself in the way of the spear at the last minute, saving Eragon’s life.
What the fuck???
I don’t really need to say anything more than that—I think that summed it up. But hey, let’s try anyway! Wasn’t it amazing (and nauseatingly convenient) how Brom somehow knew not only that Eragon was in mortal danger, but the exact spot, too? It would’ve been really funny (and ever so slightly more original) if Eragon had gotten impaled, only for Brom to then walk in and say “Oh, it was this room… aw, shit!”
Brom falls to the ground mortally wounded, whereupon Eragon gives a melodramatic “NOOOOOO!” In a fit of rage (or stupidity), he snatches up the red sword and hurls it at Durza. Naturally, Durza just bats it away and then airily examines his press-on nails. I think I’m starting to fall in love with this guy. He sneers that Eragon is going to have to “do much better than that.” Not much chance of that happening, Durz.
In response, Eragon suddenly has his bow in his hands, and fires an arrow at him. It hits Durza right in the forehead, leading to a lovely continuity error. Durza smirks in close-up, with the arrow sticking out of him, and now the point is coming out of his forehead. I repeat: the arrow turned itself around while it was still stuck in his head. And it’s not like it’s subtle, either—you see it very, very clearly in close-up.
Having made our jaws drop, Durza vanishes into thin air. Don’t think that’s the last we’ve seen of him.