Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Dragon Tale Without Fire

Directed by: Stefen Fangmeier
Starring: Edward Speleers, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Guillory, Robert Carlyle, John Malkovich

Why Harry Potter was so popular and not the other fantasy novels? The answer is simple. Unlike most other fantasy tales, Harry Potter is not based on some far-flung land where everything is different. Harry s world is modern England, and the way the story is told is modern as well. The magic in the tale is just accidental, not something consciously pre-decided!

Therefore, Eragon's Alagaesia would not be embraced by the public unless you try a little too hard, something that Peter Jackson did in The Lord of the Rings.

Copying LOTR would not serve your purpose. That's where the film Eragon fails.

No problem with the Christopher Paolini book though. Though heavily influenced by Tolkien, Paolini's book is a bestseller at best, and automatically needed a screen adaptation. And to make a long story short, Stefen Fangmeier's film is not even a patch on the book. It's sad to see how the screenwriter and the director failed to tap the rich mythology of the book in the film version.

The story had all the possibilities of a fantasy, a Middle-earth like landscape, warriors astride mighty dragons, a viciously cruel king (John Malkovich, underplayed) and an unlikely hero, a farm boy who chances upon a dragon egg and now its his destiny to be the first dragon rider after many years, the last hope of the free people of Alagaesia.

The possibilities were immense, the star cast, Jeremy Irons included, to die for, the landscape magnificent and the CGI dragon, with Rachel Weisz's voice, cute to say the least yet the film falls flat. Something was missing. It s not easy to pinpoint what, probably the hurry to film the film, probably the failure to make the fantasy stand up.

The film looks good. You can watch it once. After that, even Jeremy Irons look dull, and once he s dead, you don t really care what s going on and when it s going to end and how!!

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