Sometimes the movie is better than the book. The Godfather, The Princess Bride, The Neverending Story, and, dare I say it, Lord of the Rings.
And so it is for Eragon.
First off, the dragon is just about the cutest damn thing ever created with computer graphics. Seriously. If you see her, you will want her. Trust me.
Jeremy Irons is the best Obi-Wan since Alec Guiness, and the boys who play Eragon and Eragon’s cousin (whose name is odd and therefore I can’t remember) could be Heath Ledger’s younger brothers.
The first half hour of this movie was shaping into a damn fine film. Then they ran into a little bit of a logistical problem. The plot from the book.
In the novel, Christopher Paloneyfancypants (as I have renamed him), sends his D&D group down the river of self-discovery and necessary swordsmanship lessons, has them stop in some random city on a quest for accounting books on trade routes (or something else equally boring), and then some stuff happens. They rescue an elven princess. Some more stuff happens. Obi-Wan dies. They reach some the rebel base, and there’s a big battle. The end.
There were a lot of things in the book the writers needed to cut because the book was stupid but that doesn’t mean that they needed to rush to end of the film like Peter Jackson and George Lucas were chasing them with fiery lightsabers. 30 more minutes of development establishing the characters of Murtagh and Gallbatorix (a name, which as one reviewer put it, sounds more like a drain cleaner than an evil King), the plight of the Varden, and other general world building matters would have gone a long way.
The movie and the book relied on the same basic premise: once a dragon enters the room, you don’t give a flying rat’s ass about anything else. While this may be true, it doesn’t make for a memorable film.
So instead of a really, really great movie… we’re left with pretty good one. It’s entertaining and fun and did I mention how cute the dragon is yet? Hopefully it’ll make enough money to justify the two sequels and the director and writers will remember that thanks to Peter Jackson, fantasy films can run longer than 90 minutes.