Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Only "One Part Brave"

Since I've been pretty active with the Christian Sci-fi and Fantasy blog tour lately, I paid more attention to the movie Eragon. When my good friend Chris and I had the opportunity to get out for a movie, our choices were narrowed to Eragon and Casino Royale. Due to the CSFF Tour, I opted for Eragon, despite lesser reviews when compared with the latest Bond flick.

I don't usually hang my hat on other reviews, but in this case they probably were right.

I'll admit up front that I haven't gotten around to reading the book. If there are any Inheritance trilogy fanboys out there, I'm not dogging the novel, just the movie.

The plot centers around the defeat of the dragon riders long ago by the evil king, who turned on his fellow riders and instruments of justice in order to take power from his own. There is one dragon egg left that is known about, and the movie starts with the search for this stone.

Before the bad guys can take it from the beautiful warrior princess, she manages to magically get it right in front of the very one needed to unleash its potential. Eragon is a 17 year old boy raised by his uncle, content in his farm life. Only when the dragon hatches and he learns the fate he is slated for does he rise up to take a hold of his destiny.

That the movie has promise, is the best compliment I can give it. There's a good story in there wanting to get out. It is just buried by very stilted dialogue ("I suffer without my stone") repeated over and over again ("one part brave against three parts foolish").

The dragon is rendered beautifully, and the scenes of Eragon as the dragon rider flying in battle are exciting. However, at other times the visuals are like a direct-to-DVD knock off of Lord of the Rings. I don't know who the director is, but Peter Jackson he ain't.

John Malkovich is terribly wasted as the king. I enjoyed the magical Shade played by Robert Carlyle. I love Jeremy Irons, but he was hampered by the poor dialogue most of all. The young actor who plays Eragon, Edward Speleers, does the best job in the movie and seems to be a likeable star. Don't get me started about Djimon Hounsou, who has such great screen presence but is made to look ridiculous here. This movie must have brought in every overweight white guy in Hollywood to play the villanous Urgalls. There were more rolls than a NFL lineman reunion!

I heard that the young author of Eragon wasn't involved with the screenplay, which if true is a very good thing for his reputation. As another reviewer put it, the story comes off as a mish-mash of Star Wars and LotR. Yeah, blame the Hero's Journey (which may be the case), but still the plot line was done before and done better.

Overall, it was a fine diversion, but I would've rather caught it at the cheap second run theatre.

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