So this week is also an extra special week. No, we are not watching Bulletproof Monk again. Instead we are here to celebrate watching 300 BMT films! It’s a sad day when you can say you are almost to the point where you have an entire year of bad movies under your belt, but we are getting mighty close. We only started the website recently, so you can’t see much of our thoughts on a majority of these films, but trust me we watched them… we certainly did (Jamie says, staring wistfully into the distance). We are sticking to the Stallonian Calendar for this milestone and watching Eragon as the Sci-Fi/Fantasy entry in the one-and-done director cycle. Directed by Stefen Fangmeier, a visual effects artist from ILM that got a chance to direct the film as his first (and last) feature. This one’s got everything: a book it’s based on, a movie that horrified its core fanbase, a failed franchise, and a director’s commentary to listen to in our free time. Perfect as #300. Let’s go!
Eragon (2006) – BMeTric: 62.4
(Look at that beauty. Took a few months to hit 50 and then never looked back. I’m actually shocked it didn’t get any play for the Razzies because I remember this getting hit hard when it came out. Although it did get some play at the last Stinkers Awards (remember those? Weirdly enough neither do I. And it was much more well known than the Razzies for like 20 years). Anyways, the score suggests I should be rolling down the aisle Pompeii style. Do not make such promises BMeTric, my heart can only take so much.)
Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – Orphaned farm boy finds a mysterious egg that hatches the last of an extinct breed of magical dragons. The boy, the dragon, and his world-weary, wise old mentor travel across magical lands to save the oppressed people of his home kingdom from an evil king and his henchman wizard. Scenery is pretty and CGI effects are fine, but the movie is a patchwork quilt of conventions borrowed from other fantasy films and stories (with none of their entertainment value). Based on the first in a series of popular books by Christopher Paolini.
(Oh dear, Leonard. You clearly know this is based on a book series written by a 15-year-old kid. Did you not think the story was going to be a patchwork quilt of conventions borrowed from other fantasy material? Otherwise he seems pretty OK with the film. Things are looking up.)
(Anyone else amped?! Yeah. Dragons bro! Killing it. Can’t wait for the second and third in the Inheritance trilogy. Get to see that sweet Malkovich Con-Air crazy come out. Boom.)
Directors – Stefen Fangmeier – (BMT: Eragon; Notes: Accomplished visual effects artist nominated for three Oscars in the field for Twister, The Perfect Storm, and Master and Commander. Spent most of his career at ILM before leaving to try directing with Eragon. Since then he has sporadically done visual effects work, most recently on future BMT Allegiant.)
Writers – Peter Buchman (screenplay) – (Known For: Jurassic Park III; Che; BMT: Eragon; Notes: Started as a playwright in Seattle and caught a break when one of his plays was purchased by Scorsese, prompting a move to LA. Another script of his caught the eye of Spielberg who hired him for Jurassic Park III.)
Christopher Paolini (novel) – (BMT: Eragon; Notes: Doesn’t talk about the film adaptation much other than to say that he’s grateful it was made and that a film is the vision of the filmmaker and the book the vision of the artist, so both need to be enjoyed separately. Nice outlook.)
Actors – Ed Speleers – (Known For: Howl; A Lonely Place to Die; BMT: Eragon; Plastic; Notes: Now probably best known as a regular on Downton Abbey. Was on the shortlist for John Boyega’s part in Force Awakens.)
Also stars Dungeons and Dragons legend Jeremy Irons
Budget/Gross – $100 million / Domestic: $75,030,163 (Worldwide: $249,488,115)
(Worldwide success, but lackluster domestic haul is probably why it didn’t spawn the franchise that I’m sure the studio wanted. The 29th highest grossing young adult adaptation of all time. The worst wide-release? A vampire movie called Blood and Chocolate… which I don’t remember coming out, but stars Legends of Oz and Evening BMT hall of famer Hugh Dancy (that’s what he’s known for right?).)
Rotten Tomatoes – 16% (20/124): Written by a teenager (and it shows), Eragon presents nothing new to the “hero’s journey” story archetype. In movie terms, this movie looks and sounds like Lord of the Rings and plays out like a bad Star Wars rip-off. The movie spins the tale of a peasant boy who is suddenly entrusted with a dragon and must, with the help of a mentor, train, grow strong, and defeat an evil emperor. The way the critics picture it, the makers of Eragon should soon be expecting an annoyed phone call from George Lucas.
(Right off the bat hitting at the author. In fairness, he did not write the film. Also, harping on something because it “ripped off” Star Wars simply because it has a character who must grow strong and fight an evil-doer is hilarious. Is there any fantasy film or book where that isn’t the plot? Are they also going to be getting annoyed phone calls from Bobby Jordan?)
Poster – Yup … That’s a poster. (C-)
(Let’s see. I kind of like the symmetry. The color scheme is okay (I wish it wasn’t just generally blue and blah), but otherwise, again, uninspired. I think that might be the theme of the day boys and girls. Uninspired. This film feels uninspired. We do continue our streak of bomb fonts though. Look at that, impossible to fake!)
Tagline(s) – You are stronger than you realize. Wiser than you know. What was once your life is now your legend. (D)
Riders Wanted (D+)
As Darkness Falls, The Last Dragon Will Choose Its Rider. (C+)
(I am less than impressed with all of these. The first is two long and, honestly, try and read it and allow your mind to naturally parse that monster … it doesn’t make sense. The second is fun, but is more suited to a fun kids animated film like How to Train Your Dragon. The last is probably the best, it is just uninspired. And “darkness falls” seems a bit misplaced to me, but I can’t really put my finger one it … well, nothing solid in the lot.)
Notes – Many fans of the book were upset at Stefen Fangmeier’s decisions to take out crucial characters and plot lines.
Plans were made to adapt the other books in the series, but they were dropped.
Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart were offered the role of Brom, but turned it down because of their commitment to X-Men: The Last Stand (2006). (and probably because they thought it was going to be terrible …)
Alex Pettyfer was offered the role of Eragon, previous to the casting of Ed Speleers. Pettyfer said he had turned down the role partly because Eragon was filmed in Budapest and he’s afraid of flying. (Nooooooooooo. My sweet sweet Pettyfer. It is only a few days by train to Hungary. Even if he was in the US at the time there is a boat that takes ten days to England. Easy peasy. What a BMT Disaster!).