Everyone has a story in their head they have been dying to get down on paper. Anyone that says differently is lying. Fortunately, most people lack the ability to write coherent storylines, weave character backgrounds, and get that idea onto parchment. But sometimes those stories do find their way onto paper, and one self-published book later, sold on a shelf. Eragon, the result of the then 15-year-old Christopher Paolini’s efforts, was one such story which found itself a market, sold tens of thousands of copies, and even made it to the big screen in 2006.
And it proves that kids can’t do anything right, not even making a good-bad movie. *sigh*
Eragon starts when a woman steals what is later revealed as a dragon egg, and on the verge of capture, she teleports it away to “safety.” “Safety” happens to be directly in front of Teenage Everyman, called Eragon (which by the way is not at all a 15 year old writer’s attempt to name his main character Aragorn/Dragon with a slight pronunciation change). This convenient event brings Eragon to his destiny – becoming a fabled dragon rider, defeating the evil sorcerer Durza, and saving the god damn day as the most upstanding douche bag hero imaginable…in about a week.
Yes, the story is that contrived and lame. The book sold on the basis of the writer’s age, and the movie definitely carries the feeling of what a not-very-well-read teenager thinks is kewl. Dragons, magic with no real rules other than the main character has to “use it responsibly,” and the world handed over on a
silver gold platinum platter to the hero because he’s just so super duper special.
My god, everything about this world is tailor made to let this kid be the hero. Unlike Luke Skywalker, who was a creative punk kid whom had to prove himself along the way while working alongside a team of capable adventurers, Eragon has all the innate abilities he needs to save the world single handedly. In the span of an hour, he gains powerful language based magic despite never being trained, a dragon he can summon with a mere thought, and “Where is my objective?” vision.
I am not kidding you at all. He can see through walls to find stuff he needs, like when searching for a passed out woman.
To be fair to the fictional kid, no one in this movie acts like a real person, they act like a cliché character type. The old man/former warrior, Brom, whom happens to live in Eragon’s town is strict, yet powerful and wise in his decisions. The sorcerer hunting down Eragon, Durza, talks like an asshole looking down on maggots and callous/stupidly throws away the lives of his soldiers on a whim.
To say that Eragon borrows heavily from more famous works wouldn’t be an understatement, it’s practically a lie. Eragon copies virtually every story element from something else, mashing them together to form a boring, vaguely coherent mess. Let’s pause a moment and go over some of the more glaring things stolen from other movies/books, mostly Star Wars:
– Many shots are stolen directly from other movies, like when Eragon sits on a rock and watches the sun set to a dramatic orchestral piece after his uncle was murdered. Star Wars.
-The entire concept of the dragon riders being the ultimate force of peace in the universe. Star Wars…again.
-A protagonist that makes rash, stupid decisions to save people based on dreams and the desire for further power. If you guessed Star Wars, you’re right.
But what else can be expected from such a horribly written film besides overused clichés and moments stolen from other, better handled stories? The cheesy dialogue and flat lines try to explain everything we’re seeing end up describing the events like a child explaining an imaginary friend’s adventures.” This and then this and then this and then this, but before that this, and then suddenly it was nighttime and this happened.” Show, don’t tell, Jesus fuck.
The technical aspects of the writing fail just as much as the plot. The slow, uneven pacing gives no reason for the viewer to feel connected to the characters or their plight, things just happen. While the story can recognize that certain moments should fill the viewer with emotion, such as a character’s death or a triumphant victory, without showing the human aspects of the characters or the reason why victory is so important, who gives a fuck what happens?
Clearly, this comes from the stereotypically black and white way kids and teenagers see the world. Everything/one is either objectively good or objectively bad, rendering it objectively boring. Bad guy henchmen burn, rape, steal, and destroy everything in sight without any fear of reprisal or uprising from the villagers.
Even real world evil doesn’t constantly harass and murder their own people without giving something to them, like protection, food, drugs, or even false hope in some capacity. In a sense, this is a propaganda film for an imaginary world where “government” means extremely evil in every sense, and anyone that agrees with the main character and his actions should be honored as heroes.
Along the same lines, all the growth and difficulty Eragon goes through is related directly to him being a teenage asshole that still thinks he knows everything about everything. Fortunately, he has a lot of heart. You know, that bullshit stuff that lets you summon Captain Planet despite not really ever being useful otherwise? Well Eragon has so much of it, it save people’s lives.
Yeah, fuck you, Anakin Skywalker. This kid actually does have the power to keep the people…and dragon he loves from dying. It just makes him even less compelling of a character than you, a feat previously though impossible.
Recommendation: If you haven’t seen Star Wars, then kick yourself in the balls (or breasts, for the ladies), and go see them. Then don’t watch Eragon. If you have seen Star Wars, but would still like the kick in the balls/boobular region, then by all means, kick yourself. But still don’t watch this movie.
Think there’s a halfway decent family adventure movie stuck somewhere in here that I missed? Or are you still reeling from the “Where is my objective?” vision? Talk about Eragon in the forums!