Monday, March 26, 2007

Eragon Reviewed

My many, many regular readers know I'm not much one for giving reviews. But seeing as I saw Eragon over the weekend, and that I don't have much that's newsworthy to report, here goes.

Historically, Hollywood has been decidedly lame in producing fantasy movies. Being a bit of a fantasy buff (and a Tolkein fan since fourth grade), I used to eagerly await any new film featuring dragons, wizards and warriors. Most tended to disappoint, whether because the directors' visions weren't on the same level as my favorite authors', or because the special effects were cheesy and rudimentary. Whatever the reason, most fantasy flicks – from Willow to Dragonslayer – came off as cheesy, juvenile attempts to capture a more sophisticated audience. The occasional gem would come through, however, such as Labyrinth, which succeeded because it didn't take itself as quite serious work. Even in the mid-90's, when CGI came into play, films such as Dragonheart and Dungeons and Dragons (okay, that was 2000) were too shallow for my taste.

Unfortunately, Eragon is in the same vein. I haven't read the books, so I can't judge it from a literary standpoint, but the movie is about on par with most fantasy films. The plot is predictable, the characters are flat (the main character is annoyingly so), and backdrop seems like nothing more than an inconsequential mural. I probably won't see the rest of the trilogy. I give it a thumbs-up for visual effects, but it takes far more than eye-candy to make a good fantasy movie.

Peter Jackson set a pretty high bar with Lord of the Rings. I wonder how long it will take for another fantasy film to reach that level.

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