I just got done watching Eragon on DVD. Overall, it was an excellent movie with a pretty good, if predictable plot. The development of that plot and the characters themselves were pretty good for the 100 minutes or so that everyone had to work with.
I should admit right up front that a few of the issues I had with this movie are the result of a misconception I had going into it. When I saw previews for this movie, I heard the word “dragonrider” and immediately thought of Anne McCaffrey and her series of books about Pern and its dragonriders. Because of this, I noticed some glaring discrepancies, that made me wonder how closely the movie followed the books. However, a bit more research on my part revealed that this movie was not based upon McCaffrey’s works, but on the first book in Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Trilogy. Apparently, Paolini’s writing was heavily influenced by Ms. McCaffrey’s books. However, this certainly explains some of the discrepancies, such as the fact that the dragons in Paolini’s world actually choose their riders before they hatch. (Come to think of it, that’s a nice touch.)
I think that my favorite part of the movie was the oft repeated phrase, “one part brave, three parts fool.” It seems to sum up the nature of many heroes, both in this story and in general. I also like the addition of the fact that Brom (played by the venerable Jeremy Irons, no less) reveals that his quest for vengeance results in the death of the last dragon, save for the evil Galbatorix’s own dragon.
The one part I will note as being underdeveloped was the part of the other boy (his name escaped my notice) whose father turned out to be a dragonrider who joined forces with Galbatorix. They ntroduced this information and the boy’s desire to follow a better path than his father did rather late in the plot. As such, it seemed underdeveloped to the point of being extraneous.
One thing I particularly liked, however, was the fact that they didn’t play heavily on the romantic aspects of the movie. Certainly, they hinted at some underlying romantic tensions between Eragon and Arya, especially at the end. However, most Hollywood movies would have brought that far more to the forefront, even turning it into a major plot element. Those in charge of this movie made a different choice, and I think it was to the benefit of the movie’s overall integrity.
On a loose tangent, when looking for Anne McCaffrey’s website to link to it, I discovered that she actually has posted guidelines for fan fiction and fan art based on her works. I find it a rather interesting approach to the topic, and I wonder if many other authors have done similar things. Of course, I also wonder if the fan fiction authors and fan art creators actually bother following them. But it’s nice to see an author trying to find a peaceful compromise with those who would emulate her.