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Monday, December 25, 2006

Eragon - Theater

 AndyO Review: * * 1/2

Metcritic Review: 38 (Generally negative reviews)

Like a lot of movies about dragons, when "Eragon" begins it seems to have a lot of potential. In the world of "Eragon," dragon riders were once the keepers of the peace. But now they're all gone, thanks to a rider who betrayed his colleagues. An evil King Galbatorix (John Malkovich) now rules over Alagaësia.

When we catch up with the hero of the story, who is conveniently named Eragon (Ed Speleers), he's a simple farmboy, who finds a dragon egg on his morning hunt. Of course he doesn't know it's a dragon egg until it hatches. In no time, the dragon Saphira (voice by Rachel Weisz) bonds with Eragon who becomes her rider, and it's up to both of them to fight the evil King.

There are some remarkable sequences in Eragon, although I was never blown out of my seat -- most of them involving the dragon Saphira. But for me, the derivative nature of the plot kept me from falling into the story. By derivative, I'm talking about "Star Wars: A New Hope." Here are just a few similarities:

  • Eragon doesn't know his parents. Luke Skywalker doesn't know his parents.
  • Eragon lives with his uncle and cousin. Luke Skywalker lives with his aunt and uncle.
  • Eragon's cousin and best friend Roran leaves the village so he doesn't get drafted by Galbatorix's army. Luke's best friend Biggs leaves Tatooine so he doesn't get drafted by the Empire. (Note that this scene was cut from the final Star Wars cut, but George Lucas did film the scenes with Luke and Biggs.)
  • Eragon meets Brom who was once a dragon rider, who becomes Eragon's mentor. Luke meets Obi-wan Kenobi, who trains him in to become a Jedi.
  • At one point, Eragon goes off to save the princess who was responsible for giving him the dragon. Luke and Obi-wan go off to save Princess Leia, who gave Luke the droids.
  • Eragon's uncle dies because of him. Luke's aunt and uncle die because of the droids. The dialogue in both movies is almost exactly the same.
  • In Eragon, the dragon riders are all dead except for the Jeremy Irons character who mentors Eragon. In Star Wars, the Jedi Knights have been wiped out except Kenobi, who mentors Luke.

So, I think you can see the similarities. And don't get me wrong: Star Wars isn't 100% original either. It borrows heavily from Kurosowa's "The Hidden Fortress" and 50 other movies; the difference is in the way Star Wars combines all of these influences to make something new.    

Note: That a 15-year-old boy named Christopher Paolini wrote Eragon is impressive. He obviously has a lot of talent to be writing a novel like this at such a young age. I'm reviewing Eragon the way I'd review any movie, regardless of how old or young the author was of the screenplay or the source material. In some ways it's too bad he published this story before he matured as a writer.

posted by AndyO @ 12:34 AM   0 comments