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Skip the flick, buy the book

Megan Mowbray

Eragon. Aragorn. Why do these two names sound so similar? After reading “The Lord of the Rings,” I started to pronounce Viggio Mortenson’s character’s name they way it was pronounced in the movie. However, the bestseller “Eragon” is about a dragon. I also noticed, that Eragon is dragon, except with an ‘E’, of course. The letter ‘E’ happens to follow the letter ‘D’ in our alphabet. The book is about the next chapter in the tradition of dragons. Yet, the word is not pronounced like “dragon” at all.

Christopher Paolini, the author of “Eragon,” was the ripe old age of 15 when he began writing about dragons. After the trilogy of the rings swept the literary and movie-going nation, Paolini found a perfect niche for consumers looking for a little more sci-fi, a little more fantasy-out-of-this-world entertainment. Not to mention, J.K. Rowling is drawing out her fame to an infuriatingly slow drip.

The book is exciting, very detailed and an all around good read. This does not, however, automatically translate in a blockbuster.

In fact, although his appearance is minimal at most, John Malkovich’s decision to accept the role as evil psychotic king has marred his reputation forever. I know the role sounds his type, and it is, but the writing just does not translate to the screen. The same goes for all the characters. They try their damnedest to out act the crappy screenwriting, and it still comes out like what you might imagine a 15-year-old boy would come up with. At least vixenish Rachel Weisz can hide behind a couple tons of computer animated scales and a few blasts of fire.

Yes, Weisz is the voice of the dragon (the one on the cover of the book). Her soul mate (not in a romantic way) is title character, Eragon. Together, they form one of the last duos of a dying breed; the dragon riders. Once word gets out that these two have met up, the evil king guy (Malkovich) of course tries to kill them all. But with the help of friends made along the way, and lessons learned, the two manage to avoid their imminent death. For now.

One of these so-called friends is the love interest of the flick, a feisty, yet subdued, elfish thing. Talk about your lack of chemistry. Paolini weaves an emotional roller coaster ride between these two in the book. Yet, in the movie, there is more heat between the young dragon rider and his male cousin, unintentionally, I am assuming, and hoping. Otherwise, this movie came out on the wrong circuit.

Of course, the lack of heat isn’t the only thing missing. Inevitably, when turning a 500-page book into a movie, time lapses a little differently, and some of those long, descripted scenes in the book get truncated. But instead of investing a few minutes to show how the young dragon rider gets over the death of his family, the movie bombards the viewer with long, repetitive training scenes. The book described beautiful scenes of sweeping landscape. Even the desert seemed beautiful in its own way. But in the movie, those are not the same memories I am left with. In fact, with so many dark scenes, you leave the movie feeling a little damp and clammy yourself. I’m guessing this was not really the feel director Stefen Fangmeier was going for. Paolini earned the sequel through his writing, but the future of the third installment rides on a serious kick in the director’s butt.


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