Day 4: Book Turned Into a Movie & Completely Desecrated.

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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 movie poster

Look at him! Look at his annoying pouty face, ugh!

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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57 thoughts on “Day 4: Book Turned Into a Movie & Completely Desecrated.

  1. I enjoyed Eragon the book, but never saw the movie. By far the worst movie adaptation, for me, was My Sister’s Keeper. I still get upset just thinking about how they ruined everything.

    • Ariesgrl, that can only be a good thing, trust me. 🙂 The thing is, it’s probably an okay movie if you haven’t read the books, but because the film ruins the book, I can’t stand it!

      Funnily enough I read spoilers for the book the other day (damn it, damn it) and I couldn’t believe how different the ending was and how much the film had changed it. This is what I mean about Hollywood changing ending, it can ruin the whole intended tone of a book making it completely different, agh! *Reader angst.* 😛

  2. I haven’t seen the movie OR read the book, but I won’t lie – seeing a flash here or there of the film on television has put a bad taste in my mouth! I hear great things about the book, though. Such a shame. And of course, I think you know where I stand on the Golden Compass film! Really bad, just really bad *cringes at the thought of “Lyra”* You know, thinking about it, I would have to say that the first two Narnia film adaptations were really good, considering how awful most of these other fantasy adaptations are! At one time I thought they were a bit cheesy but at least little Lucy made me cry (yeah, it’s true, I’m a sucker) and I love Edmund’s evolution! I refuse to see Voyage of the Dawn Treader, though… I can’t do it, just can’t… Great post!

    • Haha you know, it’s probably best for your sanity if you leave it as the flashes, because it’s not a whole lot better if you watch the entire film! While the book is very cliched typical fantasy, there is something about it that really hooked me, the series also has good memories attached as Eragon was the first proper fantasy book I ever read. 🙂 I would basically say, this film adaption is the equivalence of The Golden Compass vs Northern Lights. The two were very similar in terms of awfulness! :S

      I must admit I was never a fan of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe so I wasn’t that keen on the film either, however, the subsequent adaptation I thought were really good! It made me want to read the rest of the books. It’s so tough to transfer fantasy books to the screen. I’m terrible at crying with movies! It doesn’t take much to set me off, LOL.

      Thank you. 😀

  3. I read remember reading the first two books in the Inheritance Cycle and liking them, but it took so long for the third book to come out that by the time it did I had completely lost interest in the series. I also remember seeing the movie and I think that if I had enjoyed the first book as much as I enjoyed Harry Potter I would have felt the same way as you. As it is, I never saw the entire film b/c the dvd I watched it on was defective.

    For me, my desecration is Percy Jackson and The Olympians Book 1 The Lightning Thief. I loathe that film adaptation so much that I try not to remember too much about the film.

    • Yeah, I don’t blame you for that at all, all of us Paolini fans felt like we were waiting endlessly, there was such a massive gap and it was definitely in part due to the author’s decision the make the series four books long rather than three. Haha! Maybe that was fate trying to intervene there. 😉 I can only say that it is a good thing you didn’t end up seeing it all, because it doesn’t get any better as it goes along, LOL.

      I’ve never read any of the Percy Jackson books but I did see the movie and must admit, I was pretty unimpressed!

  4. Never saw (or read) Eragon.
    Three come to mind for me –
    1 – Hitchikers Guide To The Galaxy. No. Just…no.
    2 – Raise The Titanic
    3 – Sahara
    2 & 3 are both based on books by Clive Cussler featuring the same character. They were made over 20 years apart with totally different cast, crew, etc.
    They both were awful interpretations of the books.

    • They turned Hitchhikers into a movie…?! Who knew, I was aware they put it on the radio, but the big screen? Hmm…
      Never heard of Raise the Titanic, but I watched Sahara, although I had no idea it was based around a book! I must admit it didn’t make much of an impression on me as someone who hasn’t read the book.
      Ohh no, poor Cussler! Maybe the next adaption of one of his books will be better. :S

      • I actually enjoyed the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy movie. There were a lot of jokes in the book that don’t translate very well to movie form, but I think overall they did a pretty good job with the movie. It was funny and did a pretty good job of telling the overall story of the book.

        There have been so many different interpretations of the story that it’s difficult to say a single version is truly “canon.” I’m not looking for the quote but I believe that Adams once said that all versions of the story were equally valid as the “true” story.

      • Oooh a difference of opinions, this is very interesting! I’ve never read the book so I can’t comment in any great detail, I think comedy can often come across better on the big screen because of the dramatic pauses and facial expressions, so I think it is intriguing that in this case you found it to be the other way around.

        That’s a great thought and one I bet would be fun to analyse! I suppose each person interprets a story in a different way and therefore wants to present it in a varying way too. 🙂

    • I totally agree, the book while also cliched similarly to the film had so much more to it, Paolini’s vision for his world was much more vivid than the big screen portrayed it.
      The name change really annoyed me to, there was no need! The Golden Compass was so obvious and bleugh, Norther Lights, much more classy and unique. 🙂

  5. Most of Stephen King’s film adaptions are bloody awful.

    In The Stand, almost the entire world is wiped out yet the film had all the drama and suspense of an episode of Thomas the Tank Engine. The Fat Controller was more menacing than the actor who played Randall Flagg.

    Hollywoodised is definitely a word.

    • I read somewhere – probably after they made “The Lawnmower Man” and King sued – that he’ll ask for the cheque and not get involved with the film any more than that.

    • Ohhh dear! Surprisingly, I haven’t seen any, now I’m thinking I should keep it that way. 😛

      Ha ha, that sounds terrible!! I wonder if they’ll ever remake it. End of the world, dystopian and apocalypse type stories are all the rage at the moment.

      That’s an interesting Tony, I’ve heard that Stephen King has been working on and with (I think?) a new TV series called Under the Dome and that it has been a reasonably hit (in the US?) so that may be one to watch out for!

    • OMG, Michael, you are so right. The only exception IMHO was Kubric’s version of The Shining. And really, Kubric wasn’t faithful to the book, which might explain why the movie was stellar. And I say this as a King fan. I simply think the effects in his books are better left to the imagination, as opposed to being shown directly on screen.

      • Aha, I’ve actually seen the Shining! I missed the start but I thought it was pretty good, although I haven’t read the novel so I can’t compare. I’ll take your word for it!

        I feel that way about a lot of science fiction.

      • Agreed on the science fiction comment. Directors who are burdened with creating environments/events from scratch have a much wider margin of error than those tasked with recreating environments/events from our recent past or present.

      • Agreed! I think amazing worlds created by science fiction writers and fantasy to some extent are better off imagined in the head. That being said, there are also some great science fiction and fantasy movies out there. 🙂

      • Shawshank Redemption is, it has to be said, a superb transition.

        The Green Mile is good as well.

        Although I’ve seen The Shining it was so long ago that just about the only thing I can remember is the naked woman in the bathroom. When you’re 14 that kind of scene is… intense.

      • Ohh, I forgot about Shawshank. It is excellent. The Shining is everything that was great about Kubric and Jack Nicholson in his prime.

  6. I have actually heard of Eragon! Go me. To be fair, judging from the poster, the man looks highly irritating. I feel your pain.

    I have read Northern Lights! But haven’t seen the film adaptation. Useful.

    I did re-watch Silver Linings recently and I loved it second time round. I just accepted that it’s veryy loosely based on the book (i.e. not much is the same) and chose to embrace the wonders of Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. Not difficult.

    • Yipppieeee. 🙂 Haha yeah the poster does say it all really, if I wasn’t so young at the time that probably would have been a megga warning sign!

      I don’t think you want to see the film adaption either, I thought it was awful!

      Yeah, I mean I did enjoy it as a film the first time round, but because I watched it so closely after reading a book it was hard to look at it objectively. I think with a little more time I would love it! Jennifer and Bradley, perfect match. 😉

  7. Mmm, Garrett H is so fiiiiiiiiiine. I would sit through any crappy films for 5 minutes of that face. OH and Jeremy Irons! I sat through 3 seasons of the crappy Borgios (sp?) for him. And I never read the books, so actually… I would possibly like the film. 😀

    • Mmmm, mmm, he is indeed! 😀 I think you would be a little disappointed though because while he does play an important role he’s not in much of the movie. :/

      Haha, Irons is pretty cool too!

  8. I haven’t read that book or seen the film. Sorry you were disappointed, Becky.
    I don’t mind film adaptations, they’re always going to be different to the book. For the film Queen of the Damned, though, they combined two books, The Vampire Lestat and Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice. End result wasn’t great. Interview with the Vampire was a beautiful adaptation, and I was hoping to enjoy QOTD as much, but it’s quite campy.

    • Thanks Emma, it did crush my little soul just a tad way back when. I pretty much came out of the cinema frozen in a state of ‘wtf’ (although I would have said it much more politely then :P).

      I loved Interview With a Vampire the film, it was awesome, creep yet funny, yet bizarrely deep at times. I never realised there was another film in the series that they made after that!

      Over the last year I have come to accept cinematic changes more, but when the entire result is a rubbish movie I can’t forgive that.

  9. Eragon was terrible. I never read the book, but it couldn’t be worse than the film.I remember a scene were Luke Skywalker and Ben Kenobi….errr, sorry, Eragon and his wizard mentor…are leaving. It’s hurling it down with rain; two seconds later and twenty feet into their journey, the sun is shining and they aren’t even wet.

    The Golden Compass was pretty bad. I got the impression they weren’t really trying.

    • Well said Tony, well said. That’s true, you really couldn’t beat how rubbish the film adaption was. They didn’t stray from the story too much and decided to just leave a few things out so that wasn’t the issue. The entire film just fell flat.
      Haha! Yep, people have drawn a lot of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings parallels with the story, funnily enough. 😛 Ohhh god that’s terrible! CONTINUITY PEOPLE.

      I agree, it did feel like they didn’t make the effort – although I’m sure they did, it just didn’t come across that way. Now, I would LOVE to see what Peter Jackson would do with that story, it could be truly amazing if he got his hands on it!

    • I loved Northern Light too! You’re right, the film totally ruined the whole concept, and I refuse to watch it again because I want to distance myself from it as much as possible, lol! 🙂

      • Sigh… To be honest the only movie I thought was better than the book was the Lord of the rings.

        And that’s only because Tolkien, can spend five pages describing a tree.

      • HAHA! Well said, I completely agree with you there. 🙂 I also like one or two of the Harry Potter movies more than there corresponding books, but I think that’s about it!

  10. As soon as I saw the title of this post I thought ‘It’s gotta be Eragon’! I hear you, me and my friend rocked up the the movie fangirling ready to see this amazing book we had talked about so much be brought to life, and boy oh boy, we talked about Eragon a lot after that, but it wasn’t for the right reasons 😛 Many hours were spent bitching and analysing everything that was wrong with it, which as you know, was a lot 😛 I basically felt like the characters had the same name, but I was watching a completely different story to what was in the book, and I was pissed off. I am a real stickler for movies sticking to books (I still can’t get over Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire providing next to NO EXPLANATION WHAT SO EVER in the movie as to how Barty Crouch Junior, who by all means should have been in Azkaban, was somehow out of jail and marauding as Mad-Eye Moody like the book did!), but there is rumours that they will be remaking the Eragon movie but as an animated movie. I don’t know what to think of that :\ btw, do you mind if I pinch this awesome 30 Day book challenge you have made? 🙂 Seems like it would be heaps of fun to do! I’d give your blog full credits of course 😉

    • Yes! Great minds think alike. 🙂 It was definitely the first for me, I then had to search through my brain just to check I wasn’t missing a less obvious one. Ohh no, you got really hyped up about it too? It’s so painful when that happens. I don’t think I had considered at that age it was possible they would mess it up, I was still young and inexperienced with movie adaptations. That’s what I and my other relatives who were fans did, we talked angrily non-stop the whole way home! I’ve refused to talk about it since, until now, I was too scared lol. 😛
      An animated movie…..hmm, not sure how I feel about that either, it could be good I guess, it depends who makes it! There are some fantastic animations out there.

      The Harry Potter thing didn’t bother me so much, mostly because Serius has escaped in the last novel so I just figured that he managed to make his way out in a similar fashion (I can’t remember if in the book he says how he actually did it). In fact, I was pretty pleased with all of the HP movies except the last one although I will always prefer the books.

      Of course you can pinch it! It is a ton of fun so far although also quite hard work. I would love to see what your answers to the questions would be. 😀

      • Hahaha it definitely is one of those movies that after you have seen it is better to be never spoken of again 😛 I think it is Disney that plan to make it, so as long as they don’t try and make it into a huge kiddy movie, hopefully it’ll turn out ok and heal our wounded hearts 😛

        I know it was such a little thing, but it is a real stand out in my mind in the HP movies haha 😛 Especially because everyone who I went and saw it with were all asking me ‘How was that guy out of jail?’, to which I would reply: ‘It’s Azkaban, and this is why you should read the books before seeing the movies ;)’ What was it that you didn’t like about the last HP movie? 🙂

        Yay thankyou! 😀 Look forward to a book filled 30 days of fun! 😀

      • Disney?!! Wow, that is unexpected. But I know how you like your Disney, so fingers crossed. 😉 I don’t see it as a Disney film at all, but at least they might be able to get the emotion out of it and they’re usually masters of storytelling. Fingers crossed I guess!

        Hahaa really? I don’t think I noticed it at all when I saw it because I had the book knowledge inside my head I think I just filled in the gaps, lol. 🙂 But I totally understand what you’re talking about because I got little niggles like that in The Hunger Games, for instance the message behind the Mockingjay’s and the Mockingjay pin. I thought the symbolism got lost in the story for those that hadn’t read the books.
        Ohh yes, ALWAYS the books before the movies! 😛

        No problem! 🙂

  11. I haven’t read either Eragon or Golden Compass, so can’t compare, but both the movies did leave me unsatisfied (and the fact that they both flopped so severely in the box office that their sequels were never made probably means most people felt that way).

    My worst book-to-film adaptations are all the Harry Potters from Goblet of Fire onwards – I had the distinct impression that the director and screenwriter hadn’t actually read the books – and Michael Crichton’s Timeline. And then there’s The Da Vinci Code, but in all fairness, they didn’t have all that much to start with in the first place 😉

    • That’s a great way of putting it, unsatisfying sums it up well. You haven’t read Northern Lights/The Golden Compass? Ohh kokkieh, you should definitely read that series, I think you would love it! It has some fantastic concepts, philosophy’s and commentary on religion which makes it very interesting. The film pretty much butchered it so I wouldn’t be put off by that. 🙂

      Ohh really? That’s very interesting, I really enjoyed the majority of the Harry Potter film adaptations, which was surprising to me because I loved the books so much. They do leave quite a lot out though, especially when it gets to the 5th book with the prophecies, it did annoy me that they left all of the Neville stuff out!
      Haha, touche. 😉

      • My main gripe with the HP films is that they seemed like a bunch of scenes thrown together. It’s as if they tried to include as many spectacular special effects as possible while completely ignoring the plot (or in 4’s case, devoting entire scenes to Rita Skeeter who’s not really that integral to the story). They also managed to change an exciting adventure story into a deep, serious drama (I was, for example, disgusted at how they glossed over the battle in the Ministry of Magic at the end of 5, rather showing us scenes of Harry wincing and clutching at his head for several minutes). And don’t get me started on the entire layout of Hogwarts and surrounds changing somewhere between 2 and 4.

        But that’s just me. My wife bought all the dvds and goes on a HP movie binge every few months. I prefer to stick to the books.

      • I will always prefer the books too! It is weird, considering I enjoy the movies so much that I don’t watch them very often, that probably says a little something about them. I do really enjoy them, but after watching I automatically want to read the books rather than move onto the next film film installment!

        Ha, yes Hogwarts did change a lot which I’m almost certain was due to the increasing budget.
        I do agree with you on the battles element, that was an aspect the film I didn’t get on with as much.
        I can tell you feel very passionate about this! I’m sorry to hear you didn’t get on
        with them, it’s always frustrating when the films don’t turn out as you want.

        Haha, there’s nothing wrong with being ‘just you!’ 🙂

  12. Ha ha, I remember your reaction on Twitter when I tweeted that I bought the DVD, LOL. I never read the books, so don’t know anything about the true nature of the characters but there is one thing I am truly, truly certain of: JOSS STONE MUST NEVER, NEVER EVER ACT.NEVER. EVER.

    • Hahaaa I know, LOL! I thought it best to warn you beforehand. 😛 I always wonder what I would think of the film if I hadn’t read the books first. I still don’t think I would be that keen on it but I probably wouldn’t be nearly as horrified as I was!

  13. As soon as I saw the title Eragon came to mind. Granted I only got so far in the book, they changed and rushed pretty much everything. Its no wonder it didn’t get a sequel!

    • Great minds think alike. 🙂 The film did feel very rushed and forced in general, it didn’t seem to have a natural pace.

      I have to say I am extremely glad they didn’t do a sequel!

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