Posted on 12/18/10 06:49 PM
Ah the Inheritance Cycle. A series of books that I've been reading and have also obviously seen this film. It seems as though the Inheritance Cycle is a real hit or miss series. For the reason that it is extremely similar to other pieces of work. Primarily it follow this equation:
Star Wars + Lord of the Rings = Inheritance Cycle
This is almost like something I would write to be quite honest. Anybody who knows me (none of you on here should so I'll tell you) knows that I am a HUGE fan of Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings. In my opinion those are two of the greatest stories ever written with well done plot lines and plethoras of great and memorable characters. And I love them. And having read his books, I can tell that Christopher Paolini loves them as well. You can tell the influences everywhere. It in basic plot is extremely similar to Star Wars
A young farm boy (Luke/Eragon), finds something of great importance that the evil Empire is hunting (R2-D2/Saphira's Egg) sent by a captured princess (Leia/Arya). They live with their uncles (Owen/Garrow) who are murdered by agents of the Empire. They become the newest members of an ancient order (Jedi/Dragon Riders) that maintained peace and justice. They go on a journey with an old member of the order (Obi-Wan/Brom) who act as their mentor.
And so on. I could keep going with that. On the Lord of the Rings front it in lies with the setting. With the main races being Men, Elves, and Dwarves. The Urgulas share similarities with the Orcs, as both are vicious and serve the villains. Both also have a more fierce and powerful type the Uruk-hai and the Kull. And there are some character similarities with Brom's description almost exactly matching that of Gandalf, the elf queen Islanzadi to Galadriel (even having similar quotes), and the dwarf sidekick Orik to Gimli. Also a staple of the fantasy genre is the mysterious and creepy black cloaked servants of evil. Though it in general comes from the grim reaper (the symbol of death) but the first major use of it was the Nazgul (Ringwraiths) in Lord of the Rings. JK Rowling used it with the Dementors in Harry Potter, and Paolini uses it with the Ra'zac. Though he does add his own spin on them.
So in short ladies and gentlemen for the most part it is the story of Star Wars in the setting of the Lord of the Ring.
And with that analysis of the work here's my opinion: I really like them! Despite how derivative they are I still find them very enjoyable. How can I not like a combination of two of my favorite stories. I call it the greatest unoriginal story I've read.
Christopher Paolini wrote this as a teenager (The RT Consensus made sure to tell us that it shows, which it does) and for a teenage written story I think it's really good. He was young and I give him credit for taking the leap of faith and having his story published and continuing to write even though he's received a ton of criticism. Remember this
Unoriginal does not automatically equal bad.
Now you must be wondering why I decided to give my own review of the books on here. I did that to give perspective on what I think of the books and how they influence my review of the movie since that does effect it.
I personally don't think the movie is nearly as bad as most make it out to be. For adaptations I have a scale
Dragonball Evolution as the lowest-The Lord of the Rings film trilogy as the highest
I would rank it in between them, veering a little higher up then let's say M. Knight Shaymalan's The Last Airbender which is lower than it, but above DBE.
My main problem with the movie is how watered down it is. So much of the material from the books was left out, including things of great importance that effect the later installments. Along with that were several character cuts that shouldn't have happened. I had mixed feelings about the over exposure of Galbatorix in the film who hasn't even appeared yet in the books. While John Malkovich did a fine job (you were too good for Spider-Man but this was okay?) I don't know if they should have done that. But it did work well with giving Saruman several scenes in the Lord of the Rings films. So I don't know if they should have yet. I guess it was fine. I also didn't like the origin change of the Ra'zac, and had mixed feelings to their drastically changed appearance. My guess is that they did it to avoid comparisons to the Nazgul. My last real complaint is the runtime. It is a quarter less than two hours when action, fantasy, epics have to be at least two hours (in Eragon's case at least 2 1/2 hours).
The general plot was of course good, because the general plot of Star Wars Episode IV, I mean Eragon was good. (Sorry for the lame joke) I also thought it was better acted out them most say, definitely better than DBE and Last Airbender. The best performances were by Jeremy Irons as Brom and Garrett Hedlund as Murtagh. All the others I thought were fine or at least passable.
The special effects, costumes, props, etc were great as well.
My final verdicts is that while I enjoyed the film, I just feel that they should reboot it with a more true adaptation. Studios seem to be afraid of taking the risks that were made with Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings film trilogy with filming three extremely long films at once, not knowing if the first would be successful. Even though it was quite obvious that Fellowship would be successful, the success of the book Eragon should have given the studio at least so more faith.
If you're looking for a fun fantasy adventure film, I recommend it. If you're a fan of the books and haven't seen it yet, give it a shot. But they should still do a new version and try harder.