Books into Movies: Eragon

If, for whatever strange reason, someone had been tracking my thoughts as I watched Eragon the movie, they would either by impressed or offended at my ability to swear in several languages.  I’m not a person that swears often, but when there’s nothing else to say I make an exception.  And believe me, Eragon the movie was an exception.

I have a lot of bones to pick with the movie adaptation, so I’ve divided it into different categories, each with its own score.

Lord help any warriors that went into battle in real life with armour like this.

Characters: 1/5.

I don’t think they could have possibly gotten the characters any more wrong.  It just doesn’t seem possible.  Murtagh, Angela, Brom and Arya…they were all so different from what they were like in the novel.  Okay, I get that they can’t put every little detail from the book into the movie, but they can try to get the character’s personality right.  Right?

Well, it seems like they didn’t even try.  Murtagh was cheerful and eager to go to the Varden, in stark contrast to the moody, tortured warrior Murtagh in the novel.  Garrett Hedlund was about as believable a warrior as my little sister would be.  Arya wore a dress and actually seemed to like Eragon in a romantic way.  In the novel, Arya was a strong warrior who never wore dresses except in her homeland; she wore men’s clothes because they were practical.  She was a practical and, at times, ruthless character.  And she certainly did not warm up to Eragon very much throughout the whole cycle, let alone the first novel.  I think one of the problems was that the filmmakers decided to put too much emphasis on the ‘sexy’ aspects and in doing so, did not stay true to the characters.  They didn’t even really achieve ‘sexy’ either.

The one character I did like was Saphira.  Rachel Weisz did such an excellent job with her voice and by extension, her personality.  Since we cannot directly see her thoughts as we did in the novel, the few lines Saphira did have were so important and Weisz nailed them, in my opinion.

All filmmakers failed 5th grade science. Or slept during the class that explored the concept of cooking by convection.

Accuracy: 0/5.

If the filmmakers ever get around to making Eldest (which I doubt they ever will because the reception of Eragon was critical, to say the least), they will have a lot of trouble.  In order to still tell the story, they’re going to have to either deviate from the storyline of the novels or have some very creative explanations for the sudden changes.  You can’t make an objectively bad movie and alienate your fan base and expect to make a sequel the size of Eldest.

Characters that were awkwardly introduced or not introduced at all:

  • Angela
  • Solembum
  • Jeod
  • Helen, Jeod’s wife
  • The Twins
  • Katrina
  • Orik

Important plot points that were not included or were butchered or never existed in the first place:

  • The Ra’zac die too early
  • Eragon was never captured and held in the prison with Arya
  • The Urgals were defeated too early
  • Isidar Mithrim was never broken
  • Eragon is never horribly injured after riding Saphira for the first time
  • Durza creates his own dragon from smoke, something that never happened in the book
  • Eragon is not really injured in the final battle like he was in the book
  • The Urgals were completely wrong physically and the Kull were never introduced
  • Werecats were also not introduced and they feature prominently in the last book

I could go on and on, but basically they butchered everything and added in completely random plot points that serve no purpose.  Essentially, the movie did not stay true to the book at all.  It didn’t even really stay true to the essence or mood of the book.

The only redeeming part of the entire movie.

Plot: 0/5

I rarely fall asleep during movies, even terrible ones.  Yet, I was very close to falling asleep while watching Eragon.  Ignoring the horrible characters, bad acting and ridiculous inaccuracies and trying to be objective makes the movie incredibly boring.  There was nothing I could find to excite me because it seemed so…disjointed.  If I hadn’t read the book, it wouldn’t make any sense at all.

It was so disjointed I couldn’t really get excited or emotional about anything in it.  My viewing experience was comparable to listening to a couple of two-year-olds speaking: I just didn’t get it.  Thus, the multilingual curses.

So what did you guys think of the Eragon movie?  Or, if you haven’t watched it, have you ever seen a terrible movie adaptation of a book?  Why was it terrible?

2 comments

  1. Dunessi

    6 and something years ago, I was 10. It was library day at school, and I was looking for an interesting book to read. I found a blue book with a dragon on it, “Eragon”. Rather fascinated, I started to read it. Thus, I started into the world of chapter books. Needless to say I finished it within the week.
    Later, when the movie came out, my mom took me to see the movie since I was so stoked about Eragon…

    I complained throughout the entire God forsaken movie. Everything that was cut out… I mean, even at my age, I understood the whole time thing, but that was just terrible, all this important shit cut out… And the accuracy was just deplorable…

    And don’t even get more started on the game…

    • Carrie Slager

      I didn’t see the movie in theaters, but I bought the DVD for myself and was just as disappointed as you were. I was quite a bit older when I saw the movie and by the end when Durza made the smoke dragon, my jaw was on the floor. How could the writers think they could get away with such huge plot changes? If they ever do make an Eldest movie (which I seriously doubt) they’ve set up the proverbial field of landmines for themselves plot-wise.

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