Saturday, December 16, 2006

Movie Review: Eragon

Sometimes I wish I hadn't read movie reviews before I see a given movie. One review I read talked about the similarities between Eragon and Star Wars. As I went into the movie, I tried to put that out of my mind so that I wouldn't intentionally be looking for similarities.

The could have titled this movie "Dragon Wars: A Recycled Hope".

Spoilers after the jump, or if you've seen Star Wars.

I mean it... spoileriffic. These are not the spoilers you're looking for.

I haven't read the book that the movie is named after, so I don't know how closely it follows the book. I mean Eragon, not Star Wars, which it follows pretty closely. It looks like the writer saw Star Wars, read Dragonlance, then sat down at the keyboard.

The hero is a farmboy with a destiny and fantastic powers he just discovers during the story. And he's a pilot dragonrider. He lives with his adopted uncle on a farm, that with a pallette change would look an awful lot like a homestead on Tattoine.

There's the mentor, a former Jedi dragonrider. Guess what happens to him.

There's the tough but beautiful princess, captured by the bad guys while trying to flee with the plans to the Death Star the dragon egg. She gets held prisoner in the Death Star bad guy's castle and our hero has to rescue her.

After they rescue the princess, and are joined by a scoundrel-looking guy, they flee to the princess' allies... leading the bad guys to Yavin 4 the good guys' secret base.

I half expected there to be the cantina band when they walked into the village, not to mention a couple of times when people almost said aren't you a little short to be a stormtrooper that they expected the dragonrider to be "more."

So how was the movie? It was okay, even decent, especially compared to some other movies of the genre. Unluckily for it, it also has to be compared to the likes of the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter movies. The dragon CGI was actually pretty good, though the ogres were just big shirtless guys with war paint and false teeth. There are mentions of dwarves and elves, but we don't see them.

Although, in a couple of spots the dialogue is Lucas-worthy (that's not a compliment), and there's no chemistry between the hero and the princess, even though we know they're destined to fall in love (until they find out they are related). Actually, I'm guessing at that part, but it fits the cliche.

So my overall rating? 2.5 light-saber-wielding-jedi magic-wielding-dragonrider flying monkeys.


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