When I saw this on the challenge I didn’t even have to think about the answer. One book to film adaption specifically popped straight into the forefront of my mind. When I think back on all the adaptations I’ve nervously committed to seeing over the years, this is the one I was most disappointed by; a book they totally wrecked. I remembered bobbing up and down at the young age of 12 along with several of my relatives also of a similar age. We had all read and loved the book and were so excited to see it transferred to the big screen.
So, does anyone remember this atrocity?
Eragon was an adaptation of Christopher Paolini’s debut novel, the first book in one of my favourite fantasy series that reached its end in 2011 (check here for my reviews). The story follows a young farm boy whose destiny dramatically changes when he finds a mysterious blue stone in a forest, which turns out to be a dragon egg. It’s hatching signifies the beginning of Eragon’s journey as a dragon rider which takes him on many life threatening adventures as he runs from the evil clutches of King Galbatorix.
When reading the books I had very strong images of both the characters and settings in my head. Unfortunately, almost none of them were fulfilled. I saw the wondrous world of Alagaësia as a place of beauty and terror with a medieval-esk tone, but instead all the scenes felt squeaky clean and heavily Hollywoodised (if there is such a word) which was completely unrepresentative of the book. It felt more like a children’s movie aimed at seven years olds. Take the scene at the beginning when Eragon is chatting to his brother on the farm for example, all the clothes he wears look entirely new without a speck of dirt. Eragon is supposed to be a very poor farm boy working hard doing grisly dirty chores most days, so to be presented as a spick and span young teen with heavily stylised blonde hair felt ridiculous and a little insulting to the character.
By far the biggest disappointment was the casting. There were a few where they hit the mark, Jeremy Irons as Brom for example was perfect with his flair for mixing humour and intelligence, yet for some reason I still felt there was something lacking as I failed to connect to his character emotionally which lessened the impact of his dramatic storyline. I also felt the actors for Ajihad and Nasuada (residents of the secret group the Vardan that want to take down the king) were pretty spot on, but they were given so little screen time it is difficult to be sure. Galbatorix kind of worked but came across more as petty than intimidating. The only actor I had praise for was Garrett Hedlund playing Murtagh, the rebellious man who joins Eragon on his quest. He was exactly how I pictured him in the book and carried himself well. It is interesting that most of the minor characters were well done, but the three main characters, plus my favourite side character were completely desecrated. :O
Eragon the protagonist was horrendous!! Every time he was on screen I couldn’t help but wince. It is just my opinion of course, but I thought he was a terrible actor. Every scene he was in felt like an air balloon deflating. Not only was he way too old to play Eragon, he made him sound like a posh school boy!!! He spends 95% of the film pouting like he was posing for the camera rather than acting and I got no emotion off him whatsoever apart from arrogance! His relationship with his own dragon – which is described as an intense bond that binds you as almost one person, fell flat and was the most important aspect of the story. Arya the elf was also a far cry from her book character and didn’t exude any of the strength or attitude she did in the book. My favourite character Angela was the worst shock though, *shudders*. She was played by JOSS STONE. WHHHHHYYYYY?!? Why would you cast a singer with no previous acting experience as my favourite character?! Eesh.
It goes without saying that the film flopped, and they never attempted to adapt the rest of the book series to the big screen.
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Another terrible adaption that springs to mind was The Golden Compass based on Phillip Pullman’s book Northern Lights but that is a whole other blog post. 😉 Still, at least I was prepared for that one to be rubbish, I knew they could never do it justice!
P.S. I also got around to seeing The Silver Linings Playbook not long after I read the novel and I was SO annoyed, it was like watching an entirely different story, especially the ending, I HATE IT WHEN HOLLYWOOD CHANGES AN ENDING. URG.
What did you think of the film Eragon? And were there any book to movie adaptions that completely crushed your dreams and expectations? 🙂
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