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In the land of Alagaesia (which you might have read about),
Noble Dragon Riders prospered till a traitor stamped them out.
Now this Galbatorix rules the kingdom with an iron fist,
While the Varden, freedom fighters, still have courage to resist.
 
A farmer lad named Eragon, while hunting, finds a stone,
Which turns out to be a dragon egg (whoever would have known?).
Their minds are linked by a single touch, which really rather hurt.
His dragon learns to fly and sprouts in one big growing spurt.
Saphira (that’s her name) takes Eragon upon her wing
And saves him when his farm’s attacked by Ra’zac from the king.
Then Brom, a storyteller, comes and spirits them away
And says the Varden need them now; besides, they cannot stay.
He trains the boy in fighting and in magic and in flight,
And they kill the dreaded Ra’zac in a thrilling forest fight.
But Eragon has visions of an elf who needs his aid,
So leaves to save this Arya from a strong and wicked Shade.
He finds her, yet his mentor Brom, who also was a Rider,
Is wounded, but Saphira comes, and they escape astride her.
When Brom is dead, and Arya needs some medical attention,
They find the Varden’s hideout (with a guy I didn’t mention).
The Varden greet the villain’s troops with arrow and with blade,
While Eragon and dragon too fight Durza (that’s the Shade).
They win, but both are badly hurt yet manage to survive,
And all sing songs about the two who’ve kept their hope alive.

________

Eragon was a divisive movie when it came out in 2006 because it wasn’t particularly well-received by critics or fans of the book, and, as a lover of the Inheritance cycle (pretty much everything except the end), I can see why. As a film adaptation, it moves as fast as it can through the source material, which is several hundred pages long, while glossing over the details that fans especially loved (no were-cat with Angela the fortune-teller, no romantic interest for Roran, no visit to Teirm or Dras-Leona). As a film by itself, it feels much too rushed, for the same reason mentioned above. So much happens in a short time that there’s little room for character development or anything that does not immediately add to the plot. Plus, the script is pretty poor, and, like Willow, the plot bears much resemblance to Star Wars.

All that being said, Eragon is not without its good points, which earn it inclusion on this list. The Hungarian scenery (as opposed to Peter Jackson’s New Zealand) is spectacular, and the special effects are fantastic, especially Saphira, the finest movie dragon till Smaug recently came on the scene. Although most of the cast is rather wasted with roles that should have been bigger (and were in the book), Jeremy Irons stands out as best embodying his character. His presence heightens every scene he’s in, making Brom’s death truly sad. Saphira’s carrying him aloft that he may die “as a Dragon Rider” was the one improvement over the book. Rachel Weisz’s lovely voice as Saphira also brings the dragon to life beautifully. Since the filmmakers obviously left some plot lines open, it’s a shame they never made the sequels into films.

My VC likes the film even more than I and would probably have it higher on her list.

Best line (not much good to choose from): “Better to ask forgiveness than permission.”

Artistry: 3
Characters/Actors: 3
Entertainment: 5
Visual Effects: 7
Originality: 2
Watchability: 6
TOTAL: 26 out of 60

Tomorrow – #359: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (yes, that’s right)

© 2014 S. G. Liput

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