Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Eragon: The book, The film, The horror

There is nothing that fills me with the ranting outrage as much as the holidays, except perhaps, perfectly good books that are made into movies.

I read Eragon a number of years ago, and I was never quite shiny with it being shelved, constantly, in the Children's or Young Adult section. It's a good book, and it being written by a 15 year old doesn't make it any less complex. But publishers do as publishers will.

What I wish they HADN"T done was sign away the movie rights and turn a perfectly good book into whatever the hell THAT was. It was horrible beyond my wildest imaginings. I loved this book, LOVED, and I almost walked out of the movie, the only think that kept me there were the crying 5 year olds to my left and right.

The beginning of the movie was promising. I had hopes, it was pretty, the graphics were good. But I began to doubt when plot points were eradicated for no apparent reason. Alot of the early stuff wasn't like the book, but some of the changes were unnecessary. They sped up the dragon's ageing, totally understandable. But then they changed completely unrelated stuff and added in a whole schtick about people being forced to join the militia, to explain something, that was explained perfectly well in the book.

But after that they just started ommitting things. Some understandable, some not, whole sections of the plot gone. Cities that were described in breathtaking beauty and detail, replaced with some wooden sticks that look like something out of the swiss family robinson. Characters, that had actual character reduced to being just that guy standing there for five minutes. They removed all of this to make a book that's around 500 pages (I don't have my copy so forgive factual innaccuracy) fit into an hour and a half! That's right an hour and a half! And while they didn't have time for character development, actual sets, or plot, they DID have time for cheesy dialog and a romance that very markedly DOESN"T HAPPEN in the book. Ultimately I'm glad it was too short. I couldn't have stood another 5 minutes, much less another half hour

Which brings me to another point entirely, if you aren't going to do a good job, a la Lord of the Rings, then why bother to make the book into a movie at all? Most Americans are literate, and it would do them some good to read a good book instead of saying "oh I'll just watch the movie." My 17 year old cousin has never read Harry Potter because she can just whatch the movie. And no amount of talking is going to convince her that the book contains a world of detail that the movie cannot even imagine.

I'm not saying that books are a better media, or that no movies should be made from books. But why does EVERY good book have to be made into a movie? Some books are just better as books, and making them a movie is spoiling something amazing. So Hollywood, unless you're going to do a good job, STOP IT! You're ruining a people's chance for actual literacy.


Anonymous said...

amen to that.

Anonymous said...