How to destroy movie from novel adaptations
I read through Eragon and Eldest, the first two books of the Inheritance Cycle, by Christopher Paolini, a while back, and was very happy with the novels, mainly for the relationship between the two protagonists, Eragon and his dragon Saphira. The fantasy novels brought in a bunch of new possibilities of fun with dragon lore and their abilities, a topic which has, to my knowledge, never really been elaborated or expanded on in the past to this kind of extent, though I have heard the lores in these books bears a large resemblance to a novel called Dragonriders of Pern. I would recommend the Inheritance Cycle to anyone looking for a fun, though not necessarily quick, fantasy read. The series was originally supposed to be three novels, but as of a few months ago it was announced that it would be four. The third book should be coming out in September of next year, which I am waiting in anticipation for, though nowhere near the level of excitement as any of the Harry Potter books brought me.
The reason for this post though is to actually rant about the movie adaptation. One pet peeve of mine is people that say movies or TV shows are horrible without ever having given them a viewing, let alone a chance. I am the kind of person that will usually sit through anything, no matter how bad I feel it is, just so I can talk to people about it afterwards and be able to validly say why I did or did not enjoy it. This, however, did not apply to the Eragon movie. I was retching after about three minutes and think I got through five to ten minutes before I was so thoroughly disgusted I had to stop and just fast forward through the rest to see different parts I was curious about. Which was a mistake as the rest was even worse than the beginning. It was that bad. The movie was very obviously a ploy by the studios to milk in some money by throwing out a half baked fantasy movie trying to parallel Lord of the Rings in style. I honestly don’t know how it got as far as it did.
I went to do some research and found out the director, Stefen Fangmeier, who had mainly been a visual effects guy in the industry, had no prior experience as a primary director, and only one as a secondary director, and was about as suited to the job as Bush Jr. would be to playing Jeopardy. What’s even worse is who wrote the screenplay, Peter Buchman, who’s only previous screenplay work had been... get this... Jurassic Park 3. I’m not even going to go there.
I really have to wonder how the hell those 2 got ahold of the license to make the movie. The book was, after all, a New York Times #1 seller. The publishers must have really dropped the ball on this one, or maybe Paolini, being pretty much still a kid by the time he finished the first novel (19), somehow got taken advantage of. I just find the situation to be horribly sad.
It probably didn’t help that I didn’t expect much at all from the movie as I had heard about its huge flop after opening, with many dedicated fans of the novels walking out of the theater in tears of disappointment.
On another slightly-related note, it has been rumored as of today that it is now official that Peter Jackson will be producing 2 Hobbit movies. We shall see, but I would be very happy if it was true. I thought Jackson did the best possible job that could have been done on the movies. I only had one major complaint, in that Gimli was really given a short end of the stick throughout them, though at least they picked John-Rhys who was perfect for the part. Gimli was one of my favorite characters in the novels, and they substituted any of his glory to his pretty-boy counterpart elf, Legolas. I also had a few minor quibbles with it, including some scenes I had wished to have seen (ie Bombadil), but were left out for obvious reasons, and that they changed around bits of the story so some actors would get more screen time and they wouldn’t have to introduce others, like Arwen stealing roles of multiple other elves. Alas. The thing I liked most about them was how well the CG was integrated with the live action shooting. I still consider it the best job done integrating CG into a movie I’ve seen; so well that you can no longer tell that it’s clearly computer generated.