Massawyrm Says ERAGON Is One Of The Greatest Stories Ever Written!!
Published at: Dec. 14, 2006, 11:50 a.m. CST by merrick
Hola all. Massawyrm here.
If no one has told you yet, Eragon is one of the greatest stories ever told. Seriously. The story is absolutely amazing, a classic tale full of archetypes, intrigue and magic. You see, it’s about this young, blond farmboy, who has been mysteriously left with his uncle by his mother - who discovers that he is the last of specially chosen group of warriors. Those warriors, long ago, were betrayed by one of their own and slaughtered – leaving only the betrayer (now the king of a vast empire), an old Hermit, and the young boy, to carry on the traditions. The hermit takes the young boy under his wing and begins to train him in the ways of magic and they set out on a mission to venture to a rebel base which struggles against the empire – and along the way he picks up a young rogue and together they have to save a princess from a dark fortress.
And, no. I’m not kidding. Eragon isn’t what many of you think it is. It is not a ripoff of Lord of the Rings crossed with Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon Riders of Pern. Oh, there’s certainly enough stolen from both of those to make more than a few assholes pucker – including a long ride to save someone poisoned by the magic touch of a ‘shade’ and, well, the Battle of Helm’s Deep. But really, this movie doesn’t simply borrow from Star wars – it doesn’t simply pay homage to Star Wars. Eragon rips off Star Wars. Beat for fucking beat.
Without ever having read the original novel it was based upon, I knew what every moment had in store for me. Not because it was movie predictable, in the way you come to instinctively figure out the plot – but rather because I followed along with my mental script of Star Wars. I knew when characters would show up, when they would die and what plot twists were in store every step of the way. Because every single one of them is straight out of Episode IV: A New Hope. It’s a good thing Fox already owns the rights to that movie – because otherwise there could be some serious imperial legal entanglements.
Yes, yes, yes. I understand that this is adapted from a novel that was written by a teenager. Ask me if I give a shit. My nine year-old nephew tells some pretty great stories his own self – but you don’t see me trying to raise millions of dollars to adapt it into a Christmas blockbuster. There’s a reason kids that young rarely get publishing deals. Because they tend to do shit like re-write Star Wars with dragons.
Look, I’ve got nothing against this kid. I wish him the best, really I do. I hope he grows up into a fine writer that I can one day sit down and have a beer with and laugh and laugh and laugh about the time he convinced Fox to dump millions into a terrible remake of one of the greatest science fiction epics ever made. But today ain’t that day. Today me, and the folks who have already seen it, are the only ones laughing.
So aside from the obvious plot and idea theft, how bad is it? Pretty fucking bad.
The dialog is a thing to behold. It defies even the word ‘awful.’ Most of it is stilted, unnatural and just plain ass-clenching. Veterans Malkovich, Weisz and Carlyle as well as newcomer Edward Speleers each take their turns fumbling over the insipid attempts at using the English language while Sienna Guillory (herself a veteran of such epically bad genre films as Resident Evil: Apocalypse and The Time Machine) manages to grasp on with both hands and only occasionally sounds mildly retarded. Surprisingly, the one person who wrestles the dialog to the ground and completely makes it his bitch is the one guy everyone keeps joking about being in the film at all – Jeremy Irons. Somewhere along the line, Irons seems to have felt the need to do penance for Dungeons & Dragons, and understanding that this film is simply a repackaged Star Wars, turned to the man who previously played the role, Alec Guinness, for inspiration. I guess if Guinness could make Lucas’s dialog pop, Irons could attempt this.
And frankly, Irons is in a completely different movie from everyone else. Even Malkovich barely seems to show up for his paycheck, but Irons is acting like this was Lord of the Rings. He’s the only one that really seems to be trying.
The movie’s pretty laughable, but not quite as chuckle inducing as this years The Covenant - although there are tons of moments that you MST3K monkeys can chuck barbs at. Especially if you know your Star Wars.
So is there anything worthwhile? Well, first time director Stefan Fangmeier is a long time SFX supervisor – and despite the CG in the trailer looking pretty bad – in the finished film there are moments of real beauty. The Dragon is truly a character unto itself, complete with a unique “furry dragon” look and a wide range of facial emotions that brings the character to life (despite the terrible mental telepathy voice over that entails the entire verbal communication.) And there is a jaw dropping, fucking bad ass as all hell final dog fight sequence between the Dragon and a cool looking smoke dragon with a sorcerer chucking fireballs off of its back that pretty much any and every fantasy fan owes it to themselves to see.
It’s sad that in order to see such an amazing sequence, one actually has to sit through an hour and a half of complete drek – but that’s par for the course when SFX supervisors get their first chance at the director’s chair. You get beautiful scenes in crappy movies. It is also a shame that this is the one and only cool looking set piece in the film. Everything else feels borrowed or stolen wholesale out of LotR. It would seem our young writer isn’t the only one who found himself inspired by that material.
All in all, Eragon is a train wreck that lacks even the originality of the crop of terrible 80’s fantasy that many of us hold near and dear. And with that in mind, I can honestly see this as being a film that is very popular with the kids and young teens out there who won’t as readily put together the direct correlations. There’s very little actual blood in the film, no swearing and absolutely ZERO sensuality – it’s PG - so anyone who’s kids want to see this, well, it’s incredibly safe and they’ll probably love the ever loving shit out of it. But it’s not something I would recommend you stick around for.
Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em.