Sunday, 22 April 2007

DVD: Eragon

Lowdown: A boy, a dragon, and all the things that make a film truly bad.
How do you start a review for a film as bad as Aragorn? With a seemingly Freudian slip hinting at its total lack of originality, maybe? I really don't have an answer, but it's hard for me to recall a film as bad as Eragon. Sure, some other films were even more of a pain to watch; say, incomprehensible films or truly boring films. But Eragon just shows you how one can take a seemingly good idea - a Lord of the Rings like setting - and take every wrong turn possible in the making of the film.
The story is pretty basic. A Middle Earth like setting, only with dragons as the source of power instead of rings. All of the dragons have been killed by an evil king, and despair is ruling the land - that is, until a youth called Eragon stumbles upon a dragon's egg, learns that he was destined to ride this dragon, and sets forth in a liberation campaign to free the world of the evil king and his evil allies.
The problems with the film are just as basic as the plot. I'll list a few of them, but don't get me wrong - I could write all day and all of the night about how bad this film really is:
1. Poor acting: I don't know how they cast the guy who plays Eragon for the film, but it wasn't because of his acting skills. On the other hand we have Jeremy Irons, who seems to specialize in crap swords and sorcery like supporting roles lately, and John Malkovich playing the evil king - what the hell are they doing in such a bad film? Are they so desperate for money?
2. Originality: It's not only that the film is as original as a Modern Talking song, it is so full of typical movie cliches and so full of "quotes" from other films that are so badly inserted it's not funny. You have tons of riding a horse in the mountain scenes, Lord of the Rings and old westerns like style; you have Eragon as Luke Skywalker showing his displeasure with his situation against a setting sun background (only one sun this time, though); you have Luke again coming home to find his dead uncle. And more. The biggest problem is that all these "quotes" are not there to make you laugh Naked Gun style - the movie makers are pretty serious about them.
3. Things don't make sense: There are so many things in the film that don't make sense you really do think you're watching a Naked Gun. I'll give a more subtle example: the rebels fighting against the king are living in an enclosed enclosure; why, then, are some of them black and some white, and worse - why does each one of them sport a different accent? And on that matter, why does every film that features a group of just rebels have to give at least one of them a Scottish accent?
4. Ending: Don't expect Eragon the film to have a proper ending. The hinting at the upcoming sequels (whose mere existence proves the lord has no mercy) is not left to the viewer's imagination.
5. Fatalistic agenda: This whole thing with Eragon being "chosen" to ride the dragon smells bad. As well as the explanation for his divine selection - to quote the film, "his heart". If you know what that means, let me know, because watching the film doesn't educate you there.
Worst scene: The last scene, where the evil king shows us his dragon and marks the way to the sequel thus bluntly making a mockery of us viewers.
Picture quality: Some color inconsistencies, especially with effects scenes, but overall not bad at all.
Sound quality: Ok and more, but from a film that is supposed to have high octane action you sort of expect high octane surround aggressiveness, and this is very much lacking. Dragon action here is definitely low octane.
Overall: If there is a level one can enjoy Eragon at it's the "film is so pathetic it's funny" level. But even that is quite hard here; Eragon has absolutely nothing standing for it. A total pathetic waste of time. I know I'm being hard on it, but there is no excuse for such quality: 0 stars.


Uri said...

Didn’t see the movie or read the book (I heard both were pretty terrible), and I’m sure it’s as bad as you describe.
But didn’t you ever wonder why there were black Vulcans in Star Trek? (well, in Voyager at least)
It may be as stupid as Decepticons smoke-induced coughing (do you remember that episode?), but it at least serves the purpose of letting some non-white actors have some fun too. In something like Othello, it’s important to have just the one black actor, but in places where it doesn’t play a part, I’d just ignore it.

You're my heart, you're my soul
I keep it shining everywhere I go.

Moshe Reuveni said...

You can win if you want, brother Uri, but Vulcan is an entire planet and in Eragon we're talking about a cave with not that many people in there.
I do agree with you, though: there are lots of other things to pick up on with this stupidly bad film.

And as for Modern Talking: we've listened to them lately. They're just as bad as we remember them to be.