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'Eragon' A Dragon-Sized Stinker
Even the book's fans will find plenty to hate here
Brian Orndorf (briano)     Email Article  Print Article 
  Published 2006-12-15 17:10 (KST)   
On the "Dragons Rule!" scale of nerdom, "Eragon" is miles ahead of the irritating "Dragonheart," matches cute for cute with "Pete's Dragon," but doesn't drum up the same fire-breathing bliss as "Dragonslayer" or the loopy "Reign of Fire."

At the tender age of 15, Christopher Paolini wrote the expansive fantasy book Eragon, cribbing liberally from the likes of "Dungeons & Dragons," J.R.R. Tolkien, and George Lucas. The book was a massive success, inspiring sword and sorcery flavored, junior high folder cover art across the country. A film adaptation was unavoidable.

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Whether or not "Eragon" the movie does justice to Paolini's literary work, I haven't the faintest clue. I can safely say that there wasn't one solitary point during the entire film where I understood what was going on. I wouldn't classify the film as a flat-out, spell-casting, Orc-stealing mess, but if you haven't already been indoctrinated by the Church of Paolini, there's no reason to watch this motion picture.

With characters and places like "Ra'zac," "Alagaesia," "Forsworn," and "The Spine," you need to memorize the book to even begin to comprehend the 20-sided-die depth presented here. "Eragon" pinballs from scene to scene introducing all these new ideas and plot threads, never stopping to consider the greater audience out there that it's leaving behind in a hurry. I can't imagine the die-hard fans will be pleased either when they see the 600-page epic turned into a 100-minute flip book of a film. Even the blind could sense there are gobs of material missing from this iffy tale of a boy and his lady dragon problems.

But seriously, what were the producers thinking giving this monster-budgeted franchise starter to a first time director? Stefen Fangmeier might have an extensive background in special effects, but he has much to learn about staging such a mammoth movie. There is little doubt that the moments when dragon Saphira (voiced regally by Rachael Weisz) takes flight are the film's CG highlight. Fangmeier sells the soar of the beast impressively. If only the same amount of attention was bestowed to the humans, who look stiff and confused about what's expected of them in their green-screen environment and with the Paolini-pickled prose.

©2006 20th Century Fox

There are some accomplished actors here too that Fangmeier can't do anything competent with. John Malkovich hams it up with cheese in his cameo role as an evil king, Robert Carlyle dons some peculiar makeup (he looks like the outbreak Monday after a condomless weekend in Vegas) as a wicked sorcerer, and Jeremy Irons puts in a valiant effort as "Sir Explainseverything," a.k.a. Brom, the dejected knight who makes an absurd effort to elucidate every single detail to our hero, Eragon. The cast is rightfully at a loss on how to act amongst all the leaden exposition, imaginary lands, and creatures that pack the frame.

"Eragon" ultimately dissolves into banal "Lord of the Rings" action territory, but with less fan-baiting attention to detail; it's mostly just a bunch of actors trying to look involved while attempting to act through their bad wigs and Studio 54 reject outfits. The ending of the film not only suggests a sequel, it all but promises one. After suffering through this film, I'll take any hint of a continuation as a hostile threat.

D

- 'Eragon' A Dragon-Sized Stinker by Brian Orndorf (Read by Claire George) 

Which films opening this Christmas will you be sure to see? (Pick up to 5)  (2006-12-11 ~ 2006-12-31)
Apocalypto
Happy Feet
Casino Royale
Deck the Halls
The Holiday
Rocky Balboa
Letters from Iwo Jima
The Santa Clause 3
Deja Vu
Blood Diamond
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Brian Orndorf

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