Eric D. Snider


Movie Review


by Eric D. Snider

Grade: C-

Released: December 15, 2006


Directed by:


If you took all the dragon-centered movies ever made, and counted the good ones on your fingers, I bet you'd still have enough fingers left over to flip off "Eragon" as you walked laughing from the theater.

I haven't read the book, but I know this about it: It was written by a home-schooled, fantasy-obsessed teenager named Christopher Paolini and published when he was 19. And yet somehow -- and this is stunning -- somehow the story turns out to be geeky, simple-minded and shamelessly derivative of "Lord of the Rings" and "Star Wars." Why, it's almost as if ... as if a home-schooled, fantasy-obsessed teenager wrote it!

The LOTR and SW rip-offs in the film are so obvious that a quick Googling shows them to have been mentioned by nearly everyone who has discussed the movie. The parallels are so plain that pointing them out isn't even a matter of opinion. It's like saying the movie is in color.

The story is set in the forested land of Alagaesia, where 17-year-old Eragon (Edward Speleers) discovers a big blue jelly bean that eventually hatches and produces a dragon. There used to be dragons all over the place here, in the old days, ridden by noble knight-warriors who used them to do good and spread peace. But then the evil Galbatorix (a campy John Malkovich) killed them all (kill a rider, his dragon dies too) and yoked the land under his oppressive rule.

So now Eragon has a dragon named Saphira whose thoughts he can hear in the voice of Rachel Weisz and who is loyal to him as her rider. Eragon finds the village crazy person, Brom (Jeremy Irons), who Obi-Wans him with training and backstory, and they set out to join the anti-Galbatorix resistance forces gathering in the mountains. But first Eragon wants to save Arya (Sienna Guillory), a woman with whom he has an unexplained psychic connection and who stole the dragon egg from the king in the first place, from the clutches of the king's villainous henchman Durza (Robert Carlyle).

The book represents the first part of a planned trilogy (part two has been published already), and it shows, sloppily, in the way the film is assembled, with characters and subplots introduced or hinted at and then ignored, presumably to be completed in the next installments. Eragon has a cousin in the first scenes who then disappears for the duration; Eragon was abandoned by his mother years ago, yet that issue is not resolved; a new character shows up late in the game to fight on Eragon's side, but his importance obviously won't be realized until later chapters.

A good movie would deploy these foreshadowy elements more subtly, or meld them in more seamlessly with the central action -- anything to keep them from sticking out like sore thumbs. This movie, adapted by Peter Buchman ("Jurassic Park III") and directed by special-effects technician Stefen Fangmeier, just throws everything in. The result is a head-scratcher of a flick that looks like it had scenes deleted.

I suspect earnest fantasy buffs will be more disappointed in it than the average person, who will only be mildly disappointed. The story has the form of "Lord of the Rings" and "Star Wars" (oh, and Harry Potter), but it lacks the depth and the universal themes of those sagas. Those stories are about fantastical things but have underlying complexities that are down-to-earth and relatable. "Eragon" has no such weight. It's a silly story about a teenager riding a dragon, and absolutely nothing more than that.

Grade: C-

Rated PG, though it has rather a lot of violence for a PG movie -- should be PG-13

1 hr., 44 min.

Stumble It!

This item has 182 comments

  1. Carrie says:

    That opening paragraph is one of the best things I've ever read.

  2. BeeDub says:

    Question for discussion: just how many dragon-centered movies have been made, and of those, which ones are any good?

    I can think of four: Dragonslayer, Dragonheart, Reign of Fire, and Eragon. Oh, and Pete's Dragon.

    I have a soft spot for both Dragonheart (I saw it during my geekiest high school days) and Pete's Dragon (a childhood favorite), but haven't seen any of the others.

  3. Laura Fischer says:

    Well, yeah. I was a home-schooled, fantasy obsessed teenager too. I wrote a novel, started when I was thirteen and finished when I was fourteen. Then I promptly decided it was crap and never sent it to any publishers.

    I'm very bitter about this now. It probably would have sold, and by now I'd be a millionaire and the book would be a movie.

    It was probably less derivative than Eragon, too, though it was very, very derivative.

    Yeah, I'm bitter. I'm saying it again because it's double true.

  4. Unalive says:

    Greatest opening line ever.

  5. Unalive says:

    By the way, and this is really nitpicky -- I'm pretty sure that one kid's last name is spelled "Speleers." Just do you know.

  6. Allegra says:

    there is nothing wrong about deriving things from other stories, but I must admit that i agree that in this case it wasn't that well done, there are times when the classic hero mith goes well and comes off orignal, but most fantasy books are based on the same story. unsuspectiong naive boy doesn't want to be a hero, he is forced to be one, he meets a mentor, usually his family dies, he goes on a quest and somehow does or does not change the world with the chance of a love story in the middle somewhere.

    Eragon follows this pattern t o the letter, but the book is amusing enough. The movie however was.....well.....less amusing.

  7. stephkitten says:

    As a 24 year old, still fantasy obsessed book fanatic, I have to agree with Allegra in that most fantasy books are based on the same general plot lines, but then so are most genres, so that's nothing new. I also agree that Eragon was not a stunning literary work, but it was entertaining enough. The kind of book that you would read when you feel like a little light reading...similar to watching a fluffy romantic comedy when you just want to go "awww, that's nice."

    I also have to say, as a fantasy fan, that I find it slightly objectionable that so many fantasy movies are so makes those of us who like fantasy stuff look silly, since the movies are so silly. I mean, there ARE good fantasy stories out there other than LOTR and Harry Potter, yet there are very few good fantasy movies.

  8. Katie says:

    The book is entertaining, if not rip-offy of LOTR. But the movie...why? Why must they kill perfectly average books with their evilness? WHY?

  9. Scottie H says:

    Don't feel bad, Laura. Paolini's parents are publishers. Just mentioned that in case anyone here thinks that all one has to do is finish any crappy manuscript and it will be snapped up and published and a derivative movie and video game immediately created.

  10. Jamie says:

    How many decent Fantasy movies have been made from books? I can name the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and 2001: A Space Odyssey. The latter succeeded as the screenplay was co-written by Arthur C Clarke as he wrote the book and the film was directed by a man with unique ideas about film. It seems that the idea with movie studios has been that "Hey, this book is popular, let's make a movie." Very rarely does the public receive an effort with as much dedication to the spirit of the piece as they did with LOTR, and even then there are many complaints to be made. What it all boils down to is whether the viewer is entertained by the film and feels they received value for their admission. In this case, it appears that many people enjoyed the time at the cinema, but by no means was Eragon 'great'.

    (Why does the first publication of 2001 use Saturn, the film and all subsequent novels use Jupiter as the loctaion of the last monolith? Did Arthur C Clarke write sequels to the screen play and not his original novel?)

  11. Sean says:

    Laura, there's no statute of limitations on submitting your juvenile fantasy novel to a publisher. The worst they can do is reject it, and you still have a better chance of it getting published than if you just leave it in your dresser drawer and hope that your children find it when you die and fight over the publication rights. Plus, if it does get published now, you'll get the money instead of your bickering children.

  12. joshua says:

    In fairness to Christopher Paolini, the movie is much more simple-minded and sophomoric than the book. The book is remarkably sophisticated and more politically charged (the Varden are trying to control Eragon and various factions are fignting for his loyalty, for instance) than the movie would have you believe, and the LOTR/SW parallels are a lot less obvious.

    "And yet somehow -- and this is stunning -- somehow the story turns out to be geeky, simple-minded and shamelessly derivative of "Lord of the Rings" and "Star Wars." Why, it's almost as if ... as if a home-schooled, fantasy-obsessed teenager wrote it!"

    This is rather unfair, since all the stupid dialogue, shallow characterization, and simple-mindedness came not from the home-schooled kid, but from the script-writers who took everything intelligent and original out of the book and left us with a movie that's mediocre at best. I feel bad for the kid because people will think he's responsible for a completely derivative story.

  13. Melis says:

    I have to agree with Joshua-- the script-writers should be whipped. I read the book and it was entertaining enough, and the movie left out at least a good 80% of the valid content. Paolini wrote a good story, meant to entertain, and the movie folks buggered it all to hell. The acting was LAME. The score entirely too melodramatic, costumes were cheesy, and believe it or not there were supposed to be actual dwarves, fairies, and the urgals were supposed to be horned beasts. It felt like I was watching an after school special. Ask yourself though, is any of this Paolini's fault? Nope, not really.

  14. Luke Davie says:

    "And yet somehow -- and this is stunning -- somehow the story turns out to be geeky, simple-minded and shamelessly derivative of "Lord of the Rings" and "Star Wars." Why, it's almost as if ... as if a home-schooled, fantasy-obsessed teenager wrote it!"

    This proves that the writer of this review is a complete idiot (seriously). How can you psooibly judge his book off the movie makers mistakes?! In the book you will notice NO parallels from LOTR or SW. The story (in the book) is not geeky at all. And since when did not going to those Indoctrination camps (public schools) make you a target for insult.

    All in all, I have never read a worse review, NEVER.

  15. Laura says:

    Ah, thanks for the kind comments, guys. Made me feel better. I was speaking slightly tongue-in-cheek, though. Since then I've written other short stories and novels that I thought were better, and the ones I've sent in have been rejected, so yeah. Whatever.

    I admit I was a little irritated at Eric for using the word "home-schooled" as if it was synonymous with "socially backward" though. Whether or not that was his intent, I read it that way, and it bugged me. Homeschoolers get that a lot, and it's really unfair. (I hope that wasn't what you meant, Eric.)

    I'm still hopeful that I'll get published someday.

    I also agree with Jamie. Why aren't there more good fantasy movies? Bunches are getting made. More should be good. But then, lots of SF movies have been made, and lots are bad and some are good, so hopefully as the library of fantasy movies grows we'll get more good ones.

  16. John Doe says:

    Luke Davie said : "In the book you will notice NO parallels from LOTR or SW." Look at for Eragon. Seems people consistently review it as a knock-off of LOTR and SW. Don't say dumb things that you will later regret.

  17. Lindsey says:

    Now, I just want to know...have you even READ the book? It actually has a great story line, and like Luke Davie said, you notice no parallels from LOTR or SW. Of course they're there, like they are in any fantasy book (especially the good ones). They just don't stand out.

    Don't blame Paolini for the movie makers mistakes.

  18. amy says says:

    Well I just wanted to say that your reveiw was hilarious a little harsh maybe but hilarious none the less. I think that fantasy books that get made into movies should be casted and supervised by the writer , I plan on going into the directing buisness and I belive the writers voice is important ( I wouldn't go over board with them controling the movie I mean I am the director ) and having them as on hand refrences makes a better story since that is basicly what a movie is. I also have alot of respect for writers like you Laura, I could never write an entire story no matter how much my friends begged me to finish I have about 30 unfinished storys crumpled up safely in my bed side table. I loved Christopher Paolini's second book much better than the first it was more matured and better though out and it had some good twists. I hope the second movie is actually watchable and i can't wait to see Garrett Hedlund (Murtagh) on a dragon. He is the only reason I watced the first movie. Oh and Saphira in the book does not have feathers that made me angry that she did in the movie birds have feathers not fire breathing dragons what happens if fire hits the feathers saphira comes out half singed and featherless. Lame! I wanted her to be scaled in saphires like in the book.

  19. Ursa says:

    As a former homeschooler, I am not offended in the least by his comment about the geeky attributes of homeschoolers. Yes, we are that weird. I too wrote a novel that was a blatant rip off of all my favorite books, just as the Paoster did. However, I realized, unlike he did, that it was a crappy piece of self-insertion and gave it the bonfire treatment.

    The book was bad and the movie was worse, partly because of his unoriginal plot, but mostly because no one can truly identify with a character who is supposed to be the author as he wishes he was.

  20. AdamOndi says:

    I was pretty sure that the movie version of Eragon would be boring and juvenile because that is how the book was when I read it. I kept thinking "I wrote something better than this for an 8th grade English assignment." Then I found out that the author wrote it when he was a teenager, and it totally made sense. I was still annoyed and frustrated by the story, but at least I knew why.

    That's right, "Luke Davie," I judged the book off of the author's mistakes. It is sophomoric, geeky, boring, and derivative. The fact that you call public schools "indoctrination camps" shows how much you have been indoctrinated by your homeschooling. How does your head not explode with the sheer amount of irony you spit out?

  21. mommy says:

    I thought the book was good, considering it was written by a teenager. Now just the fact that you need to consider that tells you something. Still those who think they could write something that good, haven't written something that long. At least he had the brains to choose good sources to copy, and to pull together a cohesive story.

    Eric has written negatively about homeschooling before. He either doesn't know many homeschoolers, has met one or two bad homeschoolers, or is just being annoying.

    Homeschools tends to excel from an education standpoint, which is why people keep pulling out the socialization card. I have found most children end up like their parents, socially speaking.

    As for the review...normally I like Eric's reviews Though I don't always agree with him, I can generally tell whether I will like the movie or not.

  22. O'Mallen says:

    Yep, that movie was less than good.

  23. The Joe says:

    Both Luke Davie and Lindsey claimed they couldn't see how the book parallels Star Wars and LOTR. They are completely correct. It doesn't parallel Star Wars and LOTR. No, it completely RIPS OFF Stars Wars and Bone, a little-known graphic novel series by Jeff Smith. One gets the feeling that Paolini didn't think anyone would notice that about two-thirds of the book was stolen ideas from Bone.

    It was a poorly-written book as well. Read the first five pages and tell me that the author doesn't have an over-inflated ego. People were more impressed with a 15-year old voluntarily producing a 400+ page book than they were with the content. Age is not a factor. Mozart was a prodigy and a genius; Paolini was not.

  24. Linny says:

    It's like we let an inexperienced director loose with a load of money and a butcher knife. The film moved by so fast I didn't get attached to the characters at all like I did for the book. Saphira is dieing in full fledge Aslan fashion and I didn't care. Maybe the movie gods will not let this director direct again.

  25. tiassa says:

    The book ripped off just about every major fantasy series out there - not just LotR and Star Wars, but there are elements directly taken from Earthsea, the Belgariad, Pern, and more. I thought the book was awful, and yet I went to see the movie, and frankly I'm surprised it earned a grade as high as it did. I didn't think the story could get worse.

  26. whome says:

    Actually, I thought the book ripped off "Jeremy Thatcher Dragon Hatcher" (Bruce Coville's best book). However, I also thought Paolini writes better than Coville. Upon reading some interviews he gave, I see he has read the book. Shameless steeling of ideas.

    I will say, not many 17 year olds can write as well as this kid. I was very impressed with the book. He does fall into some traps (steeling ideas) in the books, and it's much worse in the sequel, "Eldest" where he gives vent to preaching a philosophy at the readers. The only reason it sold so well was on the relative strength of the first book.

  27. Mel says:

    Ugh, what do you expect from the movie version of a piece of drivel that was only published because the "author's" parents are publishers?

    Every time I see that piece of bull touted as politically charged and sophisitcated I mourn for humanity's intelligence, which is obviously plummeting to sub-zero.

  28. Luke Davie says:

    Yes, I may have over reacted with my comment a little bit =). It just makes me angry when all the movie reviews include Paolini in the bashings. I loved Eragon and Eldest, more than mabey any other fantasy novel. Yes, the movie was a bad star wars ripp off but the book had a very origional feel, of course it still had that poor boy becomes hero story that's so common. But there are only so many story lines you can make.

    And the whole homeschooled thing. I am homeschooled, I went to public school for one year in the 3rd grade. When homeschooling i got a good genuine education. All of my friends go to public schools and neither of us seem "wierd" to the other. Homeschoolers should not be sterieotyped as these geeky, ,simple minded, and shameless people as eric put it.

    And the whole "indoctrination camp". Yes me over reacting again (i should work on my temper) because people using Paolini's homeschooling as if to say "no wonder this is a bad story". I dont realy believe public schools indoctrination camps, though they do like to impose well, beliefs on you sometimes.

    So, my appoligies to Eric, I dont think he is an idiot but i still think he should read the book.

  29. Marie says:

    I'm a little bemused by the idea that it's okay for a book to be bad if it's written by a teenager. Yes, it is - but only if he/she isn't getting published. I refuse to cut Eragon slack just because the writer was young, because - hell, I've read better, more original, more intellectually stimulating fanfic by kids younger than he was. Age is irrelevant, what matters is the quality of the writing.

  30. Sam says:

    Guess what, I've written some fanfiction too. Anyone want to change around the names for me and publish it as "children's literature" and make it into a movie? I'll give you a doughnut.

  31. BeeDub says:

    Yes, it is OK to include Paolini in the bashings of the book (which I have read). This is because he, as the author, was included prominently in the promotion of the novel. Every piece of promotional material for the novel screamed, "Hey, here's a fantasy novel written by a teen! Check it out, why don'tcha!" When the author and the story are so intertwined in the public's mind (by design, not by accident), it is perfectly reasonable to include the author as part of the criticism of the book.

  32. arthal says:

    "(Why does the first publication of 2001 use Saturn, the film and all subsequent novels use Jupiter as the loctaion of the last monolith? Did Arthur C Clarke write sequels to the screen play and not his original novel?)"

    Can't answer the second question, but as to why the film used Jupiter instead of Saturn: Kubrick felt that Saturn's rings were too difficult to portray realistically on screen. He therefore picked an "easier" planet: Jupiter.

  33. Luke Davie says:

    "Yes, it is OK to include Paolini in the bashings of the book (which I have read). This is because he, as the author, was included prominently in the promotion of the novel. Every piece of promotional material"

    excuse me but i said you shouldn't include bashings of paolini in the movie reviews not book reviews. Learn to read. If you have read the book and dont like it i could care less, but dont judge the book from the movie.

  34. BeeDub says:

    "Learn to read."

    Alas. If I didn't know how to read, I would have been spared reading "Eragon."

  35. whea-wix says:

    I really didn't want to do this, but here I go anyway!
    Quote from Luke Davie:
    And the whole homeschooled thing. I am homeschooled, I went to public school for one year in the 3rd grade. When homeschooling i got a good genuine education. All of my friends go to public schools and neither of us seem "wierd" to the other. Homeschoolers should not be sterieotyped as these geeky, ,simple minded, and shameless people as eric put it.
    End Quote

    How it should have been written to be grammarically and indoctrinationally correct: [About] the whole homeschooled thing[:] I am homeschooled[.] I went to [a] public school for one year in the 3rd grade. When [I am] homeschool[ed] [I] [get] a good[,] genuine education. All of my friends go to public schools[,] and [we don't] seem "[weird]" to [each] other. Homeschoolers should not be [stereotyped] as these geeky, [ ] simple[-]minded, and shameless people[I can't translate what this is suppose to mean] [,] as [E]ric put it.

    Again, sorry. I just couldn't stop myself since, you know, I'm part of the problem, not the solution, as a former English indoctrinator.

  36. Luke Davie says:

    Well, It seems you can make out words but they change into totally different words once in you're mind.

    Me: It just makes me angry when all the movie reviews include Paolini in the bashings.

    You: Yes, it is OK to include Paolini in the bashings of the book (which I have read). This is because he, as the author, was included prominently in the promotion of the novel

    It seems that where i said "Movie" you read the word "Book". Now I am having second thoughts as to if you even know if this is a movie review or book review.

  37. AdamOndi says:

    I am always amused when people post a knee-jerk reaction comment, apologize for it later, and then keep on posting rude comments when people respond to what they have said.

    Luke Davie, maybe you should stop digging your hole deeper. Maybe it is time to let this one go. I really doubt that you are going to be able to change anyone's mind about either the book form or movie form of "Eragon." All you are doing is providing more grammatically incorrect and misspelled fodder for other posters to prove their points.

  38. Moffio says:

    I'd venture to guess that this thread is more entertaining than the movie.

  39. Carrie says:

    Wow! This has turned into "Luke Davie is wrong because his grammar is bad". THIS IS AWESOME!!!

  40. card says:

    I was going to type the same thing, Moffio. I've been coming back numerous times to read what everyone is saying because it's hilarious. I love that everyone thinks that they are right or that their point of view is somehow better than someone else's.

  41. Elena says:

    While I agree with your comments on how incredibly derivative Eragon is, I don't quite understand what him being homeschooled has to do with it. Public and private schools have turned out extraordinarily educated and intelligent students--and so has homeschooling. Not all of us are ill-educated, geeky freaks. ;)

  42. John Doe says:

    I like what whea-wix posted, especially since, especially since English indoctrinators teach such lies about grammar. Take an advanced linguistics class and ask "Why do these grammar rules exist?" The answer: "Because this is how people spoke back in the day." Then they have to make up fake rules like "you can't use a double negative, because then it becomes positive." Well, then a triple negative should be good. Seriously, all my cognition and liguistics classes taught me is that grammar people are so anal because the past is better than the present.

    Oh, and all the home-schooled kids I've met have been socially retarded. Now I know this is not a universal truth. But the idea is based on some facts. It's no worse to say "home schooled kids are socially retarded" than to say "all home schooled kids are better educated than public schooled ones."

    And I really should read more than this review if I'm going to post this much about a movie/book I've never read :)

  43. Luke Davie says:

    AdamOndi, how bout instead of criticizing my grammar (though it is the one thing I have always struggled with), why don;t you adress what i said. I am not trying to change anyones mind about the movie or book, i just want to get something straight. You should not jduge paolini's book because some idot movie maker. I really don't care if you do not like the book or movie, but it is totally ilogical to judge one off the other because paolini had nothing to do with the making of the movie.

    And jhon, i have met some very socially retarted public schoolers (drug addicts, party freaks, and plain geeks), those people exist every where.

    I aoppoligize if my grammar was not up to par on this comment.

  44. Mathew V says:

    Alright enough. Every story follows almost the same plot as others. The reason being it's what the readers want. I read both books and thought they were great. Who the hell cares if there are some things the same as the lord of the rings, or star wars. If you like the book you like it you don't whatever it's your opinion. As for the movie that derector needs to be banned from movie making. It was the worst movie based on a book i've ever watched, the idiot even changed how Brom dies. He leaves 3/4 of the book out, and then even changes the final battle at the end. Love the books, hate the movie.

  45. Moss says:

    Anyone notice that the movie had awful grammer too? Somehow I've manadged to block most of that movie from my mind (post traumatic stress?), but I seem ot remember them ripping off the mod squad as well. Also thank you Eragon, now I have some extra material for my english essay on how genre conventions can screw up a text. Or in this case rip-off another text's entire story line and then screw it up.

  46. Luke Davie says:

    Man, I think we went a little further than just commenting the review hehe. I will post one last comment ere and be done with it.

    I think Eric review on the movie was OK, because the movie was bad, but the first few paragraphs are rather unfair. Eric calling paolini's story geeky, without having even read the book has some very flawed logic in it (you should notice it i hope). If you have read the book and think it is bad congradulations, you now have you're own opinion on a book!
    I also do not think he is being fair to homeschoolers, they are normal people who go to a different school. There are wierd, cool, stupid, retarted, and whatever kind of person you can name in public schools and homeschools. There are many many fantasy obsessed public schoolers out there not much different the paolini.

    And lo, my first very angry comment, i got very ticked off because of the first 3 paragraphs and my temper decided i should write that. It was pretty stupid but hey, I wrote it so I have to deal with it.

    And whea-wix, I am guessing you taught English. As i can see from you're post i need step back in grammar and work harder on it. I dont think you are a English indoctrinator either =). Now what i was implying when I did say indoctrination is mostly from elementry school. When i did go to public we had this big save the trees week. You know, all them evil paper makers and developers destroying poor trees. Heck they even made us watch a feature leangth movie about these guys who were cutting down trees for a paper mill or something but they were killing all the poor fairies that lived in the trees. Now don't get me wrong, I think you should care about nature but this was to the extreme, and none of it had anything to do with education. Then there is evolution, please i don't want to get in to this, believe it or not whatever I don't care, but they teach it as fact when last i looked it is a theory. They should not teach anything as hard fact when it is still a theory weather it be true or not. Then there is Pumsy the imaginary friend, they didn't have him in my school but i have read about him, look him up. In the pumsy teachers guide thing they show how pumsy teaches the students songs and crap to feel good about them selves. here is one i got off the pumsy list of songs.

    "I am perfect, I am perfect. You are too, you are too.
    I am enough, I am enough. You are too, you are too."

    I don't think this is widely used but some public schoools do use Pumsy.
    So I am not saying people like math and english professors are imposing wierd stuff on you.
    This shall be my last comment so farewell. I am sorry my bad grammar made you grumpy, I am also sorry (especilly) for my mean first comment.

    I loved the book and hated the movie and hate to see what butchering they will ldo with whats left of the story to Eldest. Some of you may have liked the movie and hated the book though, you have a different tatse for entertainment then me I suppose. Just read and whatch what you enjoy and always try and go easy on the people with bad grammar.

  47. Dene says:

    I don't actually think Eric slammed homeschoolers, at least in this review. He just took the stuff the publicity keeps pushing--the author's bio--and included it all because it, um, that's what makes it funny. If the the bio had presented the author is an honor-society, fantasy-obsessed teenager, he just would have said, "Why, it's almost as if ... as if an honor society fantasy-obsessed teenager wrote it!"

    I admit I can't stand the defenses of his being a teenager etc. That's the point. He's not being slammed because he's a no-talent hack--perhaps he'll be a good writer when he's older and has something to say. Instead he's been given piles of money for a publicity stunt that admits the gimmick is there to make up for the poor quality of the work--he's only a teenager--but look how many words he wrote locked up in his room! Is it really mean to request that publishers at least try to publish something based on quality and not quality if you consider the author's somebody's bright adolescent son?

  48. Carrie says:

    Luke Davie said, "Eric calling paolini's story geeky, without having even read the book has some very flawed logic in it (you should notice it i hope). If you have read the book and think it is bad congradulations, you now have you're own opinion on a book!"

    I don't think it's at all inappropriate to call a fantasy (or a sci-fi) book geeky if one has not read it. Fantasy books ARE geeky. They're usually loaded with made-up worlds, lands, species, and languages. GEEKY! Tolkien MADE UP an ENTIRE language, for crying out loud. I don't have to have read "The Lord of the Rings" (which I have read) to be able to say that it is super geeky. And the people who read it and learn the elven language? TOTAL GEEKS! You people are GEEKS! And a lot of you were HOMESCHOOLED! Go take "Socializing with other people 101".

    I may have gotten carried away there. My point is that fantasy books are geeky. It's understood. Geeky synonymous with fantasy and with sci-fi (which genre also boasts a completely made-up and learned-by-weirdos language).

  49. stephanie says:

    Tolkein actually made some valuable contributions to the study of Old English, while a professor at Oxford. Not to say he wasn't geeky, but at least his language was coherantly constructed and consistent, and pretty much grown from stratch. It didn't involve random apostrophes.

    And I'm sorry, but that evolution thing made me come out of lurking. Yes, elementary school is indoctrinating, though less than junior high. The strong grow out of both, while knowing what their peers have been conditioned to believe. :-) However, one can learn important scientific terminology in a public school (or by having two well-educated scientists for parents, but I digress):
    A fact: Observable, provable, and limited.
    A hypothesis: Possible *explaination* for facts (giraffes reach for high branches, their necks stretch, their offspring inherit stretched necks. OR giraffes with short necks starve in hard times, only the long-necked survive, hence more long-necks, accumulating over time).
    A theory: Generally accepted hypothesis supported by facts. For example, the stretching-neck idea can be experimentally shown not to work, but evolution (on a short-life-span scale, anyway) can be shown to be a viable explanation for the facts we observe.

    An explanation can NEVER be a fact. A theory is as verified as it can get.

  50. Bryce says:

    It's okay to bash the author because the author was used to sell the book and the movie. It's not the story or the characters that sold the book. It's the following marketing ploy: "national bestseller written by a teenager."

    I'll admit that it worked on me, that I bought the book (and even the sequel) and this review is very accurate: it reads like a teenager wrote it. If you read the book you know he not only lifted character types but also blatently stole character NAMES and PLACES. It's like he transplanted his favorite Tolkien material into his own work. I'm still wondering how you don't get sued for that.

    Now, if the publisher had mentioned that the teenager tried to sell the book to every publisher he could and failed (rejected by everyone in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy world), that he later self published the book and only after selling some himself landing a publishing deal - that would be a different/failed marketing ploy.

    A publisher saw a teenager at a writing convention selling a book and said "hey, that's a good news item." Not a good book but a good publicity stunt.

    Teenager writes national best seller. I still blame myself for falling for that.

    It is a rip-off of star wars (both the book and the movie). The book stole the plot, characters and archtypes. The movie makers tried to apply the Lucas model of old story with new special effects. The problem is, we've all seen the story in a dozen different formats and we've all seen the special effects in a dozen different movies: nothing new in either category.

    Add to that some really lame acting and directing that isn't smooth at all and not only is it derivative but just painful to watch. People in my theatre laughed when the sound track was telling them "this is important" -- not the actors or the dialogue or the director, but the sound track.

    The fact that a teenager wrote this junk and later got a book deal out of it is the only thing unique about it.

  51. Andrew D says:

    After reading the review and the subsequent reader commentary, I've come to a single, illuminating conclusion: Eric is funny and makes me laugh.

  52. Laura says:

    Yeah. I have ceased to care. Not that I ever did, really. I've read lots and lots of fanfic, some of it good and some of it bad, and I see no reason to read another one just because a lot of other people have, knowing that I probably will not care for it all that much.

    That is all.

  53. robcan2 says:

    I'll admit that I read the book and enjoyed it. But it was similar to what an earlier poster said in that it was not a great literary work, but some fun light reading. The rip offs didn't bother me that much. I probably won't see the movie unless I rent it on DVD from a RedBox for $1.00 just to see what all the fuss is about.

    As far as the homeschooling thing goes, I am a strong supporter of homeschooling, but the comment Eric made was still funny. Homeschoolers do have the stigma of being socially backward, which is unfortunate, but that is irrelevant, in my opinion. Eric makes comments like that for laughs. Maybe he has strong feelings about homeschooling, and maybe he doesn't. Again, irrelevant. He also once wrote the following:

    "Earlier this month, we had a spell of very odd weather in Salt Lake City. It would be sunny, and then it would rain, and then it would be sunny again, all in the course of a few hours. Traditionally in this part of the country, if it rains, it's gloomy all day. It's consistent and reliable, like a Swiss watch. (Not so much like a Swiss person, of course, as the Swiss are notoriously deceitful and untrustworthy.)"

    Does he really feel that way about Swiss people? Probably not, but it is funny regardless.

    This has been one of the most entertaining threads of comments that I have read on this site. Thanks, everyone.

  54. puchipuri says:

    Most of what I think has already been said, in terms of all the subjects covered in this amusing comment thread (and before anyone says it, no, I don't actually have anything better to laugh at while I wait for work to show up on my desk).

    But while we're offtopic, I would speak from the perspective of someone who has attended public schools, been homeschooled, and even did half a year of home-based schooling (which is some ungodly fusion of the two).

    In reality, it's less a question of the quality of education children recieve in their respective schools, but the /reason/ they were placed in public/homeschool in the first place. The reason I was taken out of public school midway through middle school was for social/emotional reasons-- I could not function in an environment where most children could. With a year and a half to get my act together while having a meager selection of educational material (mostly math and some literature-- I think I forgot history existed in that time period), I then requested to be put back in public school for my freshmen year of highschool and lasted 3.7 years before I dropped out in the spring of my senior year to get my GED so I could attend college without the beaurocratic idiocy that my highschool deemed necessary for my graduation.

    *subtly turns down the violin music* Now, let it be said that one can only assume that most parents homeschooled their children for one reason or another, all of which may be perfectly valid. But I will personally attest to the fact that keeping your children from having social interactions with large groups of people, both friends and enemies, is only putting off the inevitably difficult lessons they'll have to learn when they're kicked out of the nest and made to function in the cruel 'real world' (unless of course these are simply overprotective parents who want their kid in their basement when they're 40 years old).

    tl;dr aside, the fact remains that no matter how adept I may have become at nagivating in the 'real world', I remain, at the core, an awkward geeky social misfit who has educated herself enough to understand that the book 'Eragon' is absolutely childish dribblings of infantile wordcraft. It is the kind of story that one generally keeps hidden amidst other failures of so-called literature to serve as a reminder of how bad a writer you were, and as motivation to improve. It's like everything else an artist does at 15-- something your parents keep to embarass you with when they meet your SO. As a published illustrator at 22, I would sooner rope the noose than allow my work from more than 4 years ago to be seen by the general public.

  55. Craig Checketts says:

    It's interesting that the closest thing to knocking "Muckoo for Mocoa Muffs" off the top of the most commented list is a movie review. I guess some people have some strong feelings on the topic. Of course, i enjoy reading anything written by Eric, since whether it's a movie review or a Snide Remarks column, it'll undoubtedly have some form of wit and/or humor in it.

    But most importantly... we're close to knocking that beforementioned article off the top of the most commented list! Do you know how long I've been waiting for this moment? Keep commenting, everyone!

  56. Renee Dailey says:

    As an avid fantasy reader, I acknowledge wholeheartedly that fantasy books are geeky; as a teenager I could tell even before I knew Paolini was in my age group while reading; and having read Eragon and Eldest, I can honestly say that I can see some Lord of the Rings references (aqctually, being a geek, they're more 'Silmarillion' references); having never possessing the inclination to watch Star Wars because that was too much geek, I can't comment all those parallels (although I did make the mistake of watching the most recent one). I wish badly to see Eragon; if not for the amusingly scathing reviews that make me giggle, then for the simple curiosity of how much they screwed things up. P.S.- I completely agree- there are many retarded, stupid and socially-challenged kids in public schools and homeschoolers- I've met both.

  57. E. M. Pink says:

    Having read the book and it's sequel and seen danger signs, I knew to stay clear of the movie. As you said, the movie probably could have been made better; despite the mediocrity of the book, it did steal effectively and transported or rewrote the stolen material relatively well, and that could have been melded into the movie somehow. Unfortunately...well. Your pain yielded a gem in the form of the first paragraph, at least - or should I say jelly bean...?

  58. Eshen says:

    I actually have read the book, Eragon, and it was fantastic; I was looking forward to the movie.

    And then I saw it.

    I honestly dont think Christopher Paolini knows they made a movie. How could he let them get away with ripping his book to shreds, pissing on it, violating and then burning the remains? It was painful. Really painful. The book itself did lend heavily from LotR and Star Wars, but thats what made it exciting; it was like that, but with dragons. Perhaps I was foolish for going in expecting a Peter Jackson-style sweeping landshot dramatic music awesome CG brilliant acting total fantasy type deal.

    I can never look at Jeremy Irons the same again.

    To be honest, I agree entirely with this review, but you have to give the book credit; it may not be innovative, per se, but its certainly well done and worth reading. This movie is so bad, the only reason anyone should ever watch it is if a) they're feeling masochistic or b) they're making a parody.

  59. Jaxi says:

    Sure the movie was terrible. But i feel urged to say, why must you look for everything that is wrong with the book and the movie? Becasue if you spend all your time looking for everything that is wrong.. you are sure as heck going to find it. But if you are looking for a good story you might have a chance of finding one. I have read the book and must truthfully admitt that it was not skillfuly written, the plot was not original. But you cant read the book looking for puncuation and bad sentences. I am a slight fantasy geek and am very familiar with the elfs and fighters and i do realize that it is a slight rip off. So are all other fantasy books out there. Go ahead and critic the movie cuz that sucked. But dont waste your time criticing the book becasue it is just like every other fantasy book out there and you dont see yourself going and criticing them. After all for the most part you are in no position to critic, Christopher Paloni has written a book and you havent and untill you have I suggest you find other more meaningful pastimes.

    good bye

  60. Jason Martin says:

    OK, so what most of you morons are saying, is that Star Wars is a rip off of Lord of the Rings. I know these movies are so similar, an unsuspecting hero blah blah blah, but seriously, you say Eragon was a rip off off these two movies...well why isn't Star Wars a rip off of Lord of the RIngs? Why isn't Lord of the Rings a rip off of a previous book. Face it, unsuspecting hero = good story. So why don't you come up with something new. Review the movie for the movie, not cause you can recite Tolkien and Lucas.

    As for Eragon, from what I've heard the book was a great story. I havn't read it personally and never will because I hate reading books.

    The movie was poorly done. They needed to take the time to develop the characters, because I really have no idea who they are. I REALLY didn't like that they "cosmic ashtrayed" Saphira from a itty-bitty dragon, into a slightly large dragon in a matter of 2 minutes. It wasn't even just a 2 minute scene, it was literally 2 minutes in the timeline. I also didn't like how Eragon = Farmboy at the beginning, and a mass total of 10 hours of storyline later he is a skilled Dragon Rider and an adept mage. The directors of the movie need shot.

    Add another hour of movie to develop character depth and actual timeline, and it would have been a good flick.

    Flame me please, I like it :)

  61. andi says:

    Basically, I started reading the first book and quite honestly could not muster enough strength to get through it. Boring, sloppy, useless, and not at all original in any way; but other than that, hey, what else can you say? You know, the previews for the movie were impressive and they convinced me that there may be some slight hope that it could be a lot better than the book, for everyone's sake, but i ended up leaving the theater asking my dad: "What the hell was that?" Because i really honestly don't know what that was. It was a complete waste of my time and the only thing I found amusing at all was laughing and making fun of it during the film. I didn't hear anyone else laughing at the the whole stupidity of the movie like we did; what is wrong with those people?? I'm trying to think of something to complain about with certain parts of the movie but it's impossible because everything about it was a disaster. And we saw it on my dad's birthday; what a great opportunity to create loving and wholesome memories! And the worst part about it was that going to the movie was my idea! I apologize from the bottom of my heart; it was truely one of the worst mistakes I have ever made!

  62. Katie says:

    Being a teenager, I thought the book was a little like something that I would have written for my English class. Maybe it wasn't particarly well written, but it was entertaining none the less, and I read it as well as Eldest.

    But the movie...the movie was horrible. Absolutely horrible. I took my little sister and she was scarred for life. I could go on for hours, but it boils down to this: the movie was bad. Okay. Why, all of the sudden, has it become a homeschooling vs. public schooling battle? Social retards are social retards, no matter what your schooling. It's just a personal thing.

  63. kevith says:

    I agree with Jaxi. Eric is in no position to criticize since he is neither a writer nor a movie critic.

  64. Nicholas D. says:

    Following Kevith's line of reasoning, Jaxi nor Kevith have any right to criticize Eric since they are not Eric.

    By the way, Eric is both a writer and a movie critic since he A) writes and B) has had movie reviews published.

    To Jason: Star Wars isn't a rip off of Lord of the Rings. Star Wars just stole from Akira Kurosawa.

  65. BeeDub says:

    The lesson here: if you're going to rip something off, make it something the general public doesn't know much about. Then, they won't call you on it, or at least won't care. (John Q. Public: "Akira who?")

  66. SeeYouNextWednesday says:

    My 2 cents.. The "written by a teen" marketing ploy was probably directed AT teen readers particularly, as well as to separate it from the oceans of other fantasy work sitting on the shelves of the bookstore. I think anyone reading this book (I have not) who enjoys and is well-read in fantasy should take into account that it's not being promoted as the next LOTR or Eathsea. It may also inspire some more kids to read and write, which is not a bad thing (providing they use a spellchecker!). Regarding originality.. the hero themes are cliche because they are stitched into the fabric of our societies.. Tolkien admits to using Beowulf as a reference, and Lucas used the books of Joseph Campbell for Star Wars.. where it becomes plagarism or ripping off is hard to define when you're dealing with story elements that are so old. I suppose what made LOTR and Star Wars so successful is that the authors creatively retold the same stories..which what has happened through the history of story-telling.

  67. kevith says:


    Is that the sound it makes when something goes right by you?

  68. Kayla says:

    How can you insult Christopher Paolini and his creativity at such a young age when you, a big "writer" and "movie critic" apparently cannot take some time to even READ the book before bashing it because the movie may have been bad. Age has nothing to do with the lameness of the movie. I'm 16 and I (unlike many teenagers) love to read. I loved Lord of the Rings. Yeah, the MOVIES. However, the books were very boring and long. Eragon was amazing even with its 497 pages not to mention the few extra pages of pronunciation and language translations...3 different languages at that. I'd like to see your books that (according to Nicholas D. comment number 64) you "wrote". The book has action, romance, drama, and everything else you could possibly imagine. A little bit of everything for everyone. Not just for home-schooled, fantasy obsessed teenagers. But not that you would know. Nope. You haven’t even read the book and you're scrutinizing it because it seems to be similar to L.O.T.R. and Star Wars. SO WHAT! They're not even that similar. LOTR doesn’t have dragons. Does Eragon have a ring he has to destroy? Uhm, not that im aware of. And how in hell is Eragon like Star Wars? It's not even close. So quit trying to make witty remarks. It's not working. You're just making yourself look like an [swear word]. Get over yourself and the red the book. Then make all the accusations that you want.

  69. Andrew D says:

    I also agree with Jaxi. I am very familiar with the elfs and fighters myself, and think Eric is in no position to critic becasue he hasn't written a book.

  70. KickButtBooks says:

    First, to #3, Laur Fischer: would LOVE to read some of your stuff! Got a link?

    I thought the movie was GREAT! All these negative reviews honestly surprised me. Yes, it was a bit disappointing to me that there was a lot left out according to the book, Solumbum for one. But you can't put everything in or you would have had a 6 hour movie! And you can't say that Christopher Paolini copied his ideas from Tolkien or Lucas. That would be like saying Ann Rice copied Bram Stoker because he wrote about vampires FIRST! Sheeesh! Don't you people realize that there hasn't been an original thought out there in centuries, hence the reason "retro" is so popular. We just keep re-using and re-making the same 'ol crap. This book was about a boy and his Dragon, NOT about the return of the King or the return of the Jedi..... So lay off Eragon. It was a fabulous book, written by a talented then 15 year old and the movie, for the most part, was equally as entertaining.

  71. Eric D. Snider says:

    OK, I can't take this anymore, this whole "'Eragon' doesn't rip off 'Star Wars,' so quit saying it does!" business. No one is saying that because SW and Eragon both feature classic Hero's Journeys, that means one is a copy of the other. Obviously, as has been pointed out, there are archetypes and patterns that have been followed by thousands of writers for thousands of years. Writing a new story that uses a Hero's Journey doesn't make you an imitator of "Star Wars" any more than writing a song in the key of C-minor makes you a plagiarist of Beethoven's 5th. So if that's all "Eragon" were doing that was similar to "Star Wars," it would indeed be unfair to call it a rip-off.

    But that's not what "Eragon" does. Here's what happens in the movie version of "Eragon." A petulant young man without parents lives with his uncle on a remote farm. The boy finds an object belonging to the imperial ruler, and the ruler sends soldiers to the farm to retrieve it, killing the uncle in the process. The boy then meets with an old man whom the locals consider crazy, and he explains the boy's destiny, training him in the ways of an ancient art that is no longer practiced but which was once a powerful means of keeping peace in the world. The old man himself was once a practitioner, and in fact so was the imperial ruler; they were friends, even. But the ruler suffered a great personal loss and turned to the dark side, becoming evil and standing by as nearly everyone who practiced the art was killed. It is now up to the young man to be trained in these ways so he can do battle with the imperial ruler and defeat his evil empire.

    You will note that the above paragraph doubles, word for word, as a description of "Star Wars." If it doesn't remind you of "Star Wars" in every particular, then the only possible conclusion is that you have never seen "Star Wars."

    If the book version of "Eragon" differs from the description I just gave, then the filmmakers have done it a disservice by altering it to resemble "Star Wars" even further. But considering how many book reviews cited the "Star Wars" similarities, I suspect the book and the movie are pretty close, at least in the basic structure that I just described. And it is for that reason that I feel comfortable describing "Eragon" (the book) as a "Star Wars" rip-off even though I haven't read it: I'm criticizing the plot, which one can glean without reading the book.

    Regarding the argument that since I have never published a book, that means I have no business criticizing Paolini: If we adhere to that reasoning, then you can't criticize my movie-reviewing skills until you yourself have become a movie critic. But that's stupid, obviously, and so is the idea that not being a published novelist means you can't criticize other people's novels. What, non-novelists are only allowed to like books, never dislike them? What kind of sense does that make?

    In summary, "Eragon" is a bad movie, home-schooled kids are weird, and people from Alabama talk funny. Love, Eric.

  72. keerstah says:

    Wow. I'm so glad I just read all of this. You make me very happy Eric. And so do you, people of Alabama.

  73. John Doe says:

    These comments are just as funny as the review. May they continue forever! I love that Eric is putting people in their place. Too bad people will continue to be stupid and in denial. I love the classic argument: you aren't an actor/writer/singer/loser so you can't judge whether one is any good or not. Do these people live in a cave? Or do they live in the land of hypocrisy where it's ok to criticize a movie critic while they are not a movie critic, all the while telling the critic he can't criticize other things?

    And to further fan the flames: anyone who's read this book, have you read the stories about Pern by Anne McCaffrey? Pretty sure you'd see some rip-offs there too. He's doing what I did as a kid. Just make up a story throwing together elements of every other story you've ever read. It's not an archetype when you steal the pretty much everything and just change a few parts to make the story seem unique. Dragon rider's of Pern with a psychic link to their dragons was basically made by Anne McCaffrey.

  74. Kayla says:


    no one was criticizing your "movie reviewing skills"... we're criticizing you for criticizing the book when you havent even read it. seriously, if you read it and still hate it then ill take back everything i said. its like saying you hate ice cream when you've never tried it. everyone likes ice cream. except for those few lactose intolerant. actually i wouldnt be surpised if you were. as for mr. john doe's comment, all movies and authors get thier ideas from somewhere. im pretty sure christopher paolini didnt one day just decide, "oh, i think ill write about dragons and how they communicate with a psychic link to their riders. yeah thats sounds original".

  75. Eric D. Snider says:

    Kayla: And as I said in my last post -- you read it, right? -- one doesn't have to read a book to know its storyline, and the storyline is what I was criticizing. I never said I hated the book; I said it ripped off its storyline from "Star Wars" and "Lord of the Rings." I don't need to have read the book to know that, unless the book has an entirely different plot from the movie.

    Do you stand by your original statement that "Eragon" is "not even close" to being like "Star Wars"? Is the book at all different from the description I gave of the movie's plot in my last post?

  76. Katie says:

    "everyone likes ice cream. except for those few lactose intolerant."

    Well, what if I don't like ice cream? I'm not lactose intolerant. It's just a personal thing; some people like ice cream (or certain story lines), and some people don't. The end.

  77. Exile says:

    I love that review. Funny as funny gets, and spot on. Well done, Mr. Snider.

  78. Vas says:

    I would like to say that I support Eric Snider's review of both the book and the movie (regaurdless of the fact that Snider has not read the book). I have read both books, and seen the movie.

    As far as my oppinion on the book goes, I read it because my parents shoved in my hands and said, "I think you may like this" So I blindly ran through the book with my brain wave activity level riding at an all time low. (No joke, the only mental activity that I had while reading them was to reword almost every sentance without realizing it.) I got to the end of each book to find myself totally and completly unaffected by it's content. (Surprise surprise) I scanned back over the book and noticed a few things wrong but then moved on (Because I had finally got my hands on the rest of the Enders Shadow Series [Orson Scott Card]) I left the book alone for quite a while till someone mentioned the similarities between the two books and the Star Wars story and for a moment I hesitated to accept this. then I looked at it again and found that this was absolutly true, (Eragon:Luke Brom:Obi Wan Saphira:R2D2 and C3PO Light Saber:Zaroc Magic:Force Ayra&Murtag: Slightly modefied versions of Han and Leia, Morzan:DarthVadar/Murtagh Galbatorix:Emperor Palpatine Oromis:Yoda and a few others, a lot of this can also be done with LOTR) I then began to find my own fault with this book (and it's writer) because I am also a writer (but then again My dreams will have to be postponed because I am going on a two year mission for my church.)

    But now I get to go see the movie sporting as much black as I could find in my wardrobe (Rooting for Shrukien) and trecked off with my family to the movie (Which I had already given low expectations of, 1 Don't screw with the original motives of the characters 2. Spend at least enough time to see each city. and 3. don't take things out of sequence. [oh yeah and 4. don't mess Angela's character up.])

    I sit down and wait through fifteen minutes of previews then finally the movie begins with a smattering of blue clouds and a narrarator giving an overwinded intro to the movie. Things went down from the point that the narrarator said something to the effect of "Tonight a Boy goes out hunting for food for his family,"

    This line being said when the main character already has his bow and a quiver of arrows over his shoulders, What Else Would He Be Doing? (Oh I am just going out to pick posies in the feild in the dead of night, these weapons are here just incase something nasty jumps me and tries to shank me.) ;-( The next thing that dissappointed me is that when an explosion occoures right in front of our main character leaving in it's place a big blue jelly bean, the actor gives no indication that there is a thought that this object could be potentially dangerous, goes right up to the thing, (barely hesitantly) grasps it with both hands and Blows on it.. What living breathing being picks up a potentially dangerous thing and blows on it. (oh look a big fuzzy sleeping terantuala, lets pick it up and... *Screeming*)

    The movie proceeded and fullfilled none of my expectations, and left me rather dissappointed.

    For those of you who say that it was the script writers that messed up the movie, I have two things to say.
    One.. They should have made the one book into perhaps three movies to make it even decent enough to follow.
    Two... Paolini himself... Had a hand in the making of the movie and actually gave his own good remarks on it.

    If I ever make a movie off of a book that I write and I butcher it this badly.. I will stick a fork in my Eye.


  79. Binky says:

    The books were poo.

    But good on ol’ Paolini for making a buck. I heart commercialism!

    And as to the home-school issue: Home-school + Isolation / Powdered Milk = Future Manifesto Writer.

    (Aww…but I really do have a soft spot for the home-schooled masses. Heck, I probably shoulda been home-schooled myself—seeming how I most likely corrupted a few nice public school kids back in the day with my massive quantities of weird.)

  80. Kayla says:

    i wish i was mean enough to write you a nasty comment so you could put it under "angry letters". but i think you get how pissed off i am at you, your reviews and yeah mostly you. you're the worst movie critic ive "met". i think im finished here.

  81. figment_of_my_own_imagination says:

    LOL!! Wow!! To Mr Eric Snider: Thank you! Thank you for being a human being with a brain, as opposed to a sheep in a flock of afore mentioned animal. I hate it when one sheep walks off a cliff; the herd instinct requires the entire herd to follow, oblivious to danger. (No, really. it's happened. sheep are stupid).

    I, like many other unfortunates, was handed the blue brick as a gift, because my mom thought it looked like something I'd like. I read it. I kinda enjoyed it. (blushing). Then, I reread it. Then I saw the movie. Then, in my anger at the world, the USA, the UN, the United Nations, and God for allowing such atrocities to continue, I found the most beautiful website ever.

    After reading said website, I realized that I was NOT alone! I am not the only one who was disgusted by Paolini's blatant abuse of Tolkien (LOTR), Herbert (Dune), Pern (McCaffrey), Lucas (Star Wars)...the list goes on. (and on and on and on and...ahem).

    Contrary to some comments made...stories CAN be orgininal. While many novels follow the "Hero Cycle," it is still possible to have ORIGINAL ideas, ORIGINAL (not to mention developed) characters, etc.

    I find myself dangerously close to ranting. *sigh* Inhale.....ah.....exhale...

    I admit, I found Paolini somewhat entertaining. But, at best, it is fan fiction. The more I read it,the more I am convinced it is BAD fan faction. I LOVE fan fiction. I write fan fiction. Fan fiction, however, can be well written. Paolini, sadly, fails to develop his characters. (Personally, I was annoyed with Eragon by the end of both books. One should not be irritated with one's hero). He uses "purple prose." (See: Instead of paying tribute to great, awesome, amazing, excellent and good fantasy authors, he steals and slaughters their ideas.

    Also...he BEGAN writing "Eragon" at 15. He FINISHED at 19. He was not some cute wittle teenage boy genius. He was 19. As a writer of fan fiction...Well, I have MANY stories I began writing as young as 13, most of which I never finished. If I were to pick one up and complete it today, I can only PRAY no one would call me a child genius [if by some freak accident my parents owned a publishing company- I mean,[ if it got published.

    Also - I have been homeschooled. I went to public school for two years. I finished out highschool in private school. I can say, many, many homeschoolers have a lack in social skills. This does not mean we are retarded. (lol!). I know some, though admittedly the minority, who do not suffer from this particular malady.

    This board made me laugh until I was afraid I would wake someone up...on the other side of the planet. Thank you all!!

  82. Laura says:

    Oh. Lord, I hope you're finished. I hope you're all finished.

    Geez, I was homeschooled, and I'll be the first to admit that homeschoolers are weird, if you really want to use that word. I find it condescending, but not untrue. Of course, I could just say that public schoolers are poorly educated, and that too would be condescending, but not untrue. On the whole, guys! On the whole!

    The homeschool movement is evolving, too. More and more kids who come out of that are cool, well-adjusted, and all-around fun to be with. It does not necessarily equal complete isolation, either. I did plenty of things other people all through my schooling, usually every day--I just happened to do my schoolwork on my own, with no one to bother me. On the other hand, I've also met a handful of homeschoolers who are terribly, terribly backward and very uncool. They were few and far between, though, while I've met many, many public schoolers who make me gag on sight.

    I never read Eragon because I heard many, many people say that it was basically Star Wars with different names and in a fantasy setting, and I have no interest in reading someone's creative writing exercise. But that's what taking a story you love and putting in a different setting with different names is: an exercise. It's not literature. It will help you become a better writer in the future, but it's the kind of thing you lock up in a box in a closet and refuse to show to anyone, not market and market and sell and sell. I would be ashamed.

    For the person who showed interest in my horrible, terrible, no good, very bad, rip-off first novel, you can click on my name. At the top of the page is a list of my stuff, and in that list is a link that says "First novel" with the caveat "very, very bad." It has self-insertion and derivations of LotR and C. S. Lewis and far too many adjectives and all kinds of other horrible, horrible wriitng mistakes. Unfortunately, I cannot remove it from the internet and burn it in effigy, because I've forgotten the password (and old e-mail address) for the site where it's posted and angelfire doesn't believe that it actually is mine.

    And yes, Eric has every right to criticize both movies and books, whether he writes them himself or not. I've written quite a few (unpublished) novels, but if I hadn't, I could still tell you what is crap and what is good. I don't write music, but I can tell you what is a horrible rip-off of everything good and should be destroyed for the sacrilege it is. (Britney Spears, for instance.)

    I really didn't want to write all of this, but you made me, you silly people. I hope you don't write anything else here, unless it's to agree with me that my first novel is very, very, very bad.

  83. I am me says:

    Eric, is there any reason why you think homeschoolers are wierd? It sounds as if you are jealous because the amateur 15 year old homeschooler is rolling in tons of money after his first book while you, the veteran all purpose writer, is stuck this sad little web site...

  84. bCurt says:

    Kayla: "i wish i was mean enough to write you a nasty comment so you could put it under "angry letters". but i think you get how pissed off i am at you, your reviews and yeah mostly you. you're the worst movie critic ive "met". i think im finished here."

    Translation: I have no way to counter your comments because they are totally right, Eric, and I hate you for it!

  85. Vas says:

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha..... Those last four comments.. Hahahahaha... I love them..

    Ahem.. "I am me" first take a look at this...

    then take a look at Eric's Bio in the About eric page on this site (go to the top and click on the about Eric tab.)

    I ask, "Why would Eric ever be jealous about a kid who wrote an extreemly dirivative novel, and got it published by his sycophant parents." I can't see any reason why he would be jealous. I would rather strangle myself than be in the possision of Paolini.

    bCurt, Right On... lol..


  86. I am me says:

    ummm.... that anti shurtugal site basicly said they are mad because Paolini is getting praise and we are not but our writing is better ( they think so any way). that is jealousy.

  87. Vas says:

    "I am me" I am a writer and I can fully say that I am not jealous of a man who wrote an extreemly derivative driven, wish fulfinllement, novel, (with all the finger prints of a novice). There is nothing to be jealous of because he has no tallent. The only reason he ever got published is because His Parents published it, then Knopf got a hold of it and used the "Here is a book that was written by a 15 year old, he must be a genius" shpeil as an advertizing gimick to get his book sold.

    What is there to be jealous of? Jealous that he has no tallent? Jealous that he cheated in the publication process? Instead of Jealousy this is Confusion, even slight annoyance. But if you really want to continue on this Debate then I would be happy to discuss it over a faster medium of communication. Maybe IM.

  88. L.A. says:

    If Eragon had been written first, LOTR and SW would have been characterized as lame rip-offs of Eragon.

    Just saying...

  89. I am me says:

    You think he has no talent, yet other people do. In my opinion he is a good writer who wrote a good book while you say he wrote a crappy one. I fail to see the problem you have with his "cheating". He felt like writing a book so he wrote one. His parents, who are publishers, liked it and published it. Next thing you know it is a very popular best selling book. The kid wrote the book because he wanted to. He was not trying to pass you're "good writers test" along the way, he just wrote what he wanted to and ended up famous along the way. I dare say If his book had gone no where you would have no care in bashing him. But since he has become a famous writer people like you feel the urge to criticize him because he made it to the top without writing what you think is a good book. I see that as being jelaous, jelaous that he is being praised as a great writer because of work you think is crap. Of course I do not think you are jelous of his writing as you have made clear. But what do I know, mabey you are not realy jelous and you just like to bash any writer who you think is not worthy of the title... or just confused as you said.

    Also, I am not in anyway trying to say that it is a good book as a fact. Weather or not a book is good is up to each reader.

  90. Mel says:

    Heh, I kind of liked being a geeky, weird homeschooler. It served me well in college, and geekiness is rather an asset in science. Also, I got to sleep in a lot. It's very weird seeing "geeky" thrown around like a bad word here; I'm so used to it as a compliment in my circles (perhaps we are using different definitions of 'geeky'?).

    That said, I may just wait for video, especially after cringing on Jeremy Irons' behalf through Dungeons & Dragons.

  91. Vas says:

    Fortunes and praise seem to be easy to come by in this day and age. I see no reason to be jealous of someone who has them. I see a reason to be jealous of a person who has tallent, skill, experience, or wisdom. People like, Orson Scott Card, Turtle Island, Barrage, And lots of other professionals. Paolini is not a professional and I do not envy him nor his ill begotten fortunes one bit.

    My goal has been fulfilled, I have expressed my oppinions that I do not think that his book should just be blindly regaurded as "Good Literature". You admit that I am not jealous. Now please, What would make you think that Eric would be jealous. Why don't you just E-Mail him and ask him if he is jealous.

    As I mentioned I would much rather hold debate elsewhere.


  92. Lowdogg says:

    These comments have been so entertaining to read. Thank you everyone.

  93. Karmacoma says:

    I had great fun reading all the comments... But I must say that I feel bad for you Eric. It's the dumbest thing when people hate you just because you write your own opinion of something. Especially when that's what you're supposed to do for living.
    I love to read movie reviews, ALL movie reviews, not only those which I happen to agree with. And if I disagree I certainly won't criticise the CRITIC for CRITICIZING something I like...

    But I really hope that someone as talented as Jeremy Irons would end up in better movies from now on..?..

  94. Rita says:

    I have really enjoyed reading these comments because of what a heated discussion it has become. Some feel that home-schoolers have been bashed, the author, the movie, etc. I won't comment on all the different threads that are weaved, but something has always bothered me. There is something that can be said about the validity of the author.

    I am me wrote: "In my opinion he is a good writer who wrote a good book while you say he wrote a crappy one. I fail to see the problem you have with his "cheating". He felt like writing a book so he wrote one. His parents, who are publishers, liked it and published it."

    There's a word for that it's called Nepotism. I am rather skeptical that ANY 19 year old could become a national best seller without the help of others (i.e. parents). This can be proven with the lack of other 19 year old national best sellers.

    So there is something to be said for Nepotism. Now, if only my parents were that famous.

  95. Rob B says:

    I was never homeschooled, and I am a social retard. Now get off my lawn.

    I am impressed that a 15-19 year old could write a book like Eragon. Yes, I've read that book and the sequel Eldest. Does he rip off other stories? Absolutely, especially after reading Eric's summary of the plot and seeing that, oh, wow, it is just like Star Wars (Eric, you definitely nailed the plot, by the way). But are the books entertaining? Yeah, they are, and, IMHO, worth publishing. Great literary works? Hardly.

    The movie was absolutely horrible. My wife brought home the books from the "liberry" and I purposely did not read them until after I saw the movie. Good thing I didn't or I would have REALLY walked out of the movie feeling ripped off. At least having not read the book(s) I could get SOME entertainment value out of a bad movie.

  96. Kithbird says:

    I've not seen the movie, but Christopher Paolini's work is depressingly bad, and whatever SW and LOTR rip offs the movie contained have a solid base in the original. Bad writing and stilted dialogue certainly aren't limited to those who adapted it....

    Oh, but I should give Chris credit where it's due: some of the awfulness in the books is indeed original. Don't forget the preachy, vegetarian elves who wear *snerk* leather.

    Mommy said: "At least he had the brains to choose good sources to copy." *uncontrollable giggles* You've made my day. But while I'm recovering, let me clarify something. AUTHORS are ARTISTS. ARTISTS are by definition CREATIVE. It logically follows that if you are not CREATIVE then you are not an ARTIST, and therefore also not an AUTHOR. REHASHING worthier fantasy novels DOES NOT EQUAL CREATIVITY. So where does this leave Paolini?

    Homeschoolers... goddamn, no comment. But contrary to common belief, we geeky sorts do tend to survive public school, and we've the more social skills and intelligence for it. I speak as a proud survivor of a large, urban public school system here. If I've been indoctrinated and forced to smoke pot, well, nobody told me anything about it!

  97. I am me says:

    "AUTHORS are ARTISTS. ARTISTS are by definition CREATIVE. It logically follows that if you are not CREATIVE then you are not an ARTIST, and therefore also not an AUTHOR. REHASHING worthier fantasy novels DOES NOT EQUAL CREATIVITY. So where does this leave Paolini?"

    Actually an author is the creator of something. Paolini created Eragon and therefor is the author of it no matter how much it pains you. And it "leaves" him with a best selling fantasy novel that he wrote while being homeschooled. =)

  98. Lawrence says:

    Funniest part about the negative comments? They're nearly word-for-word copies of all of the angry letters written about the "Snide Remarks" columns.

    There are a lot of fallacies being thrown around here (bandwagon and appeal to weath, to name a few). They make for weak arguments.

    As for whether the movie/book/whatever is enjoyable or not, that's subjective. Nobody can tell you that you didn't enjoy it. But for clearly stealing ideas from established sources, it's not a good book.

  99. Justin says:

    While i don't understand why it has anything to do with wether or not Eragon is a good book or movie. I was part of a homeschool program and found that most kids who are homeschooled are generally homeschooled because for some reason they can't handle public school. Thats not to say that these kids were less intelligent but there were alot of "diffrent" Kids.

  100. M says:

    there is NOTHING that saved this movie from being a complete waist of time. the only thing that could have done that was arya taking off her shirt, and that didnt happen--leaving this movie to be a mad collage of the events from the (retarded) book + scenes and tweaks the director thought he'd add that only gave the movie a more distinctive resemblance to [swear word]. the movie made me want to [swear word] die. if i had paid to see this movie i probebly would have hung myself when i got home. the book [is bad in a way that contains a swear word], but standing next to the rediculous film version gave me new found respect for paolinis writing. i hope that director dies from a tragic illness. thanx.

  101. mommy says:

    Actually artists frequently copy a classic. Many art classes teach this way. Ol art schools would teach this way...patterning their students after the masters. True creativity is frequently what happens when you copy a own personality is reflected clearly and something new is learned about that which you copy from. Think of how many crucifixion paintings there are...each says something about the author and the crucifixion.

    I am still not saying This young man is a master by ANY MEANS. No one here is sying he is a child prodigy. I am grateful he stole from good sources...I didn't get bored and stop reading...that does say something.

    as for the movie...I have better things to do with my time-clean the bathroom, sort laundry, type comments on random know...I'm jsut toobusy

  102. jack says:

    the movie its is good for what it is but representation of the book was not perfect while it did leave out large amounts of the story their were stuning animations briliant acting a satisfing story and the end left it open for a sequel conclusion a ****ing awesome film

  103. J Anderson says:

    As much as I dislike Eragon, i do have to admire those of you who fight for a lost cause. You guys are real Picketts.

    The book was mediocre, and it was not terribly original. I started Eldest, but i quit at the second chapter or so. Granted, i had just finished The Two Towers, so my standards were pretty high, but the pacing was awful. I mean, this guy spends an entire chapter looking at dead bodies and stuff...

    Sorry about my grammar, i am an IMer, so i prefer quick typing over grammar on the internet.

  104. Jaxi says:

    In my first and only review i stated that eric snider or anyone else here was in no position to critic since he has never written a book. I am sorry about that because Eric Has probably written enough reviews to create somthing a compilation large enough to be a book. However i did not mean to critic eric. What i basically was suggesting is that all we are doing in the zone is fighting an endless battle over weather the book is at all enjoyable, or why people like it, or why christopher paloni would write a book that is such a copy cat.

    Why do we like those super human movies. X-man, Fantastic Four, Superman, batman, spiderman, Skyhigh? If you can answer that than you have the answer to all the things your dicussing. None of those are original yet i would almost bet money most people here have seen at least 3 of those.

    Also going back to my first paragraph, bassed on what i said i was not in a position to make a critic either because i have not written and published a book either. WE need to be more open to other opinions. Sure it is great that we believe in what we fight for but first make sure that you and your opponet arn't unknowingly fighting for the same thing. Cuz if you take a look at some of these that is exactly what is going on.

  105. Ray says:

    Looking for original? Read 'The Golden Compass', 'The Subtle Knife' and 'The Amber Spyglass'.

  106. Lowdogg says:

    Please everyone, from now on, the word is "Critique."

  107. Ender says:

    Our opinion towards a movie often stems from our feelings towards the book. If you dislike the book, the movie will already be feeling your wrath. If you loved the book, then you will hold higher expectations for the movie. It's a lose-lose situation either way.

    Myself, I did not enjoy Paolini's work, so I viewed Eragon with a mixture of boredom and irritation. I found the plot awkward and characters dull, with too much emphasis placed on the special effects. From my eyes, this branded it a poor movie. There is no universal mandate for what defines a good movie, so my opinion carries the same weight as that of anyone else.

    When reading the books, I too was struck by the numerous material taken from other sources. This occurs often in literature. Dan Simmons' Hyperion takes its basic plot directly from the Canterbury Tales, but the story, world and characters are created and developed by the author himself. Eragon revolves around its cliches.

    I am me: Your entire argument seems to revolve around his financial success. I could scam senior citizens out of their homes and become fantastically wealthy, that doesn't mean it's anything to brag about.

    Jaxi: I imagine the reason we like the superhman stories is because while the main story is similar, the characters can change. The sole survivor of an alien race and a demonic assassin are different enough that we can enjoy both without feeling cheated.

  108. Burnard says:

    I'd have to disagree with Jaxi's argumant that we're in no position to critique Paolini on the basis that none of us have writen a book. That's like saying we can't complain that something doesn't taste nice just because we're not chefs, or that we can't say a movie is bad because we're not directors. Do you get my drift?

    Also as far as originality goes, the problem isn't so much that the books are so unoriginal but it's the fact that he does so little with everything. I'm probably not sounding very clear... I mean... with those movies you picked out, yes they're not the most original creations in the world but they all feel unique in their own ways, and you'd certainly never accuse them of plagerism or anything. But with Eragon, it's all been done before. The book has no distinct personality- it feels like a cheap knock off of LOTR. And he didn't even make an effort to make his storyline different from Star Wars (in peticualar read the scene in Eldest where Eragon learns the identity of his true father). And so many people have picked up on it, so there's no use in pretending that the fact the storylines are so simular is a co-incidence.

    Anyway I'm going off the point now. Rant over.

  109. Jessica Gomez says:

    I hated the trailor, so i didn't see the movie. I am a huge fan of the book, it is really good. They made SOOOOOOOO many mistakes when making the film I couldn't submit myself to such crap.

  110. Lotus says:

    I've never seen anyone write a review so harshly about Eragon. I'm glad someone has decided to stand into the spotlight, and show everyone.

  111. kyle says:

    dude! wft! alright, i know the movie sucked compared to the book, but then all movies suck compared to the book. why was it so bad? well personally i think the director doesn't know a movie screen from a hole in the ground... he cut out main sections of the book and it had a great impact on the movie as a whole. i don't think that you should insult christopher paolini though! he was 19 when he published his book, even younger when he wrote it. can you say that you have written a better novel? at that age? alright then! yes, this movie can be compared to star wars and lord of the rings but, as some one already stated, every single fantasy book/movie is about someone who does something amazing at a young age and eventually saves the world. if you could give me three books or movies that don't follow that exact storyline from fantasy, i will give you money! give the dang kid a break, both his parents were writers so ohbviously he was subconciously pressuered into writing a book. it hit it big and all you do is say how crappy it is. well let me tell you, it's not every day that a 19 year old person published a book that becomes world famous and has a movie made of it (crappy compaired to the book or not) so why trash him? why trash his book if you've never read it. it is one of the best stories i have ever read and i salut paolini for his accomplishments.

  112. Lowdogg says:

    I would like to salut eric snider for being brave enough to critic paolini like it is hard 2 see so many movies and then write complet sentences for each of them people don't understand that art criticism is as old as art and artists in the marketplac are prepared to be criticed like yeah

  113. robcan2 says:

    lowdogg ur shift key musta ben stuck when u tiped i in ur post

  114. card says:

    You two are so funny!

    I wrote a "book" when I was in 3rd grade. I'm starting to think that if it had been published, I would have people defending it. I missed my chance.

  115. ChocolateStu says:

    Can I just say, the most interesting thing (to me) in reading these comments, is the abundant lack of good spelling and grammar - especially among the angry comments. I'm no English major or anything, but I have to admit that it cracks me up that those who are the angriest about this review are the ones who can barely type. My husband and I adore Eric's work, we're huge fans. Although, I have to admit, the column about the colonic left me feeling a little ill. Personally, I've read the books, and I liked them okay. I'm not in any rush to go back and re-read them any time soon, but like Momma Snider said, he was smart enough to rip off GOOD sources. The movie, on the other hand, looked disappointing from the start, and Eric's review just convinced me of what I had already suspected - that it's not worth paying money to see. Since for most people, that's the reason for reading a review (to find out if it's worth paying money for), I would say it served its purpose perfectly. It told me what I needed to know. Job well done. Eric, you rock my socks off.

  116. The commentator of the shadows says:

    Can I just say, the most interesting thing (to me) in reading these comments, is the abundant lack of good spelling and grammar - especially among the angry comments. I'm no English major or anything, but I have to admit that it cracks me up that those who are the angriest about this review are the ones who can barely type.

    hmmm, funny that. I won't insult those who actually like Eragon, film or book...maybe a little, but not much.
    Frankly, lots of you are saying that you saw no paralells between Eragon and other books. This disturbs me quite a lot. I'm assuming you've all seen or read Star Wars and Lord of the Rings? What about David Eddings?
    From what you are all saying (not all, only the ones mentioned above), you have either not seen or read any of these works (highly unlikely) or you simple do not have any relative valuing ability, also very very very highly unlikely.
    Truthfully, I really don't want to go through all of the similarities between these works, because it would cramp my fingers. So instead, I will refer you to a site who is most informative. If you have any objections, there is a hatemail page. In a mildly suspicious coincidence, the whole concept of "poor grammar and spelling from the people who seem to like Eragon" applies to most of the hatemail recieved at AS, which also prove to be erractic and imbecilic.Funny that.
    Anyway, getting back to what I was originally saying, the book and the movie were completely dreadful. The movie a lot more so than the book, but the book was never a standout in the brilliance department. I think that the reviewer has been completely fair in this case, if not capturing it in a nutshell. I applaud the efforst of the reviewer, Mr Eric Snider, and encourage him not to get too depressed about all these poorly spelt reviews.
    Also, just because I feel like saying this, this movie has been in one small way a godsend. It has finally revealed Christopher Paolini for the pathetic, plaigairising (which I'm not sure is a word, but I'm not a dictionary) liar he is, who only scored a lucky break courtesy of his parents and publishers seeing a marketing chance. Oh, but I will say Mr Palencar is an excellent cover artist, and that his talent was wasted on a book such as this (since it was only the cover art that attracted my eye to Eragon in the first place!). I wish him better luck in the future. The same regards go to Mr Snider. My feelings towards Mr Paolini, the so called "writing child prodigy and next Tolkien" are known.

  117. Robert says:

    A young man who has grown up on a farm suddenly finds himself pulled into a conflict between a band of rebels and an evil empire when he returns to the farm he has always called home and finds it destroyed and his uncle dead. Guided by an old man who is clearly more than he seems, the young man learns to wield remarkable powers. He learns the tradition of a once-noble order of warriors who guarded the lands with sword and spell, that was betrayed and hunted down nearly to the last by one of its own. On his way to reach the rebels, he rescues a princess held prisoner by the powerful henchman of the empire's evil ruler. Unfortunately, the old man is killed by the evil ruler's henchman in an effort to allow the young man to escape. Together the young man and the princess make their way to the rebels, unwittingly leading imperial forces to the location of the rebel's hidden base. When the imperial force attacks, however, the rebels defeat them largely through the young man's use of his newfound abilities.

    Nope. No SW parallels at all.

  118. Ticia says:

    And, for anyone out there who is wondering if that novel you wrote when you were in high school is any good, here's a great test to take. Keep in mind, this is *humor.*

  119. john Doe says:

    While the rinkworks site just listed is funny, it makes me agree with our "Eragon rocks" group in the sense that this quiz applies to every story I've ever read (mostly fantasy). Every story I think of answers yes to many of those questions. While some are fair because they are asking "are you totally cliched and ripping off other, better stories" I can't imagine a story passing this quiz. But it is fun to read it and realize that Harry Potter fails this quiz almost as bad as Eragon does, yet rational people who can spell will defend the greatness of the HP stories 'til their dying day.

  120. AdamOndi says:

    It is amazing to me that this argument is still going on almost a month later. And disturbing.

  121. Commentator of the shadows says:

    does that say something to you?

  122. Super Deadly Ham Attack says:

    Group hug.

    I was homeschooled, mostly because I have a case of SAD (Social Anxiety Disorder). How pissed am I that seasonal affection disorder or whatever also has the acronym SAD? Very. Graaaaaaaahhhh!!

    Home schooling, in my case, actually meant taking college classes (my father is a college professor) at an all girl's college during my high school years. I am a male. I leave the ensuing havock up to the reader's imagination.

  123. The commentator of the shadows says:

    Has the making of a novel!

    *light bulb floats suddenly around head*

    Thankyou, random death Ham!

  124. Ann says:

    L.A. says, "If Eragon had been written first, LOTR and SW would have been characterized as lame rip-offs of Eragon."

    If Lord of the Rings hadn't been written before Eragon, then Christopher Paolini wouldn't have had anything to rip off, because Tolkien pretty much invented the modern idea of fantasy.

    Just saying.

  125. Ricardo Nunes says:

    The people who writes reviews should, at least, read the book. The book is excelent, the movie is not. Telling that the writer of Eragon is a silly boy who likes Lord of the Rings and Star Wars is an offense. Who wrote this review is in fact a silly "boy", very unprofessional.

  126. Commentator of the Shadows says:

    well, he is a rather silly boy who likes Star Wars and LOTR.

    Point out exactly where he isn't, please, I would like to know.

  127. Katie says:

    "The book is excelent, the movie is not...who wrote this review is in fact a silly "boy", very unprofessional."

    He who is without blame...

  128. Chocolate Stu says:

    Once again, the well-supported "irrational anger = poor grammar and spelling" theory proves true.

  129. Andrew says:

    Maybe it's time all you Eragon fans try something other then a LOTR rip-off. Aren't we all tired of elves anyway? Here's two very good fantasy books that I guaranty don't have any elves or dragons in them:



    THE BARTIMAEUS TRILOGY by Jonathan Stroud

  130. Commentator of the Shadows says:

    If we're taking that tack, I would reccomend the Old Kingdom trilogy by Garth Nix and anything by Isobelle Carmody. No elves involved, I swear in the nonsensical "ancient language".

    Oh, and by the by, because I have been told this before, just because I do not like Eragon, it certainly doesn't mean I have "bad taste" in literature and no one should not check these books out just because I dislike one they happen to enjoy.

  131. John Fahey says:

    One very good trilogy that does involve dragons is the Temerare series by Nancy Novik. It's set in the Napoleonic Wars and Dragons act like an arial cavalry. So, look up His Majesty's Dragon by Novik. (Assuming that's how she spells her name.)

  132. Dave says:

    Christopher Paolini (or however you spell it) had the misfortune of having his self-indulgent, immature, unbridled Narcissism published and spread about like manure upon humanity.

    And i say good for him! What a stud! I have absolutely nothing but respect and admiration for him, not because I think he has any creative talent, but because I'm happy for anyone who does what they enjoy doing and gets paid tractorfulls of money for it! Thats everyones dream right? Do what you love and get rich for it, sounds good to me! I'm sure he's not cryin himself to sleep for all the negative reviews he gets, I'm sure he really doesnt care.

    So to all the die-hard Paolini worshippers, stop defending the tripe already. He definately doesnt give a rodent's posterior what critics OR fans say about him. Its clear your not defending HIM, so much as you're defending your own hurt pride.

    Incidently, I waited to see the movie till it came to the dollar theatre....I want my dollar back.... and the wasted 2 hours.... and my will to live.... Pee-YOU-stinky stink, I'm bothered Eric didnt give it a lower grade.

  133. Asher says:

    Well guess the movie was Ok. But if it was judged by the way they stuck to the book ,1-10 I would give it a -1000. You hardly even got the first part right. And it was so short. A baby could of directed better.I bet you would of done a lot better with a different directer. The actors are great ,it's just the way it was planed out.Well theres one thing for sure... the director didn't make it to the top of the list this time.

  134. Lynette says:

    What in the world is the director thinking. I hope he's half way to England by now. The movie was terrible. I'll give you the good and bad about the movie. The good news is that is had good efects,good chosen actors.Thats mostly it. The bad news is that It was so fricken short,they skiped like a billion parts and It didn't make sence in parts. I think that anyone in the world could of done better.

  135. Casey says:

    I'm only 15 years old, and I love Eragon and Eldest, along with LOTR and Harry Potter. I read Eragon in the 7th grade and Eldest in the 8th grade, they were wonderfully written books. But, when I saw the movie, I was really disappointed. The movie was a mess, bad acting in some parts, and the script-writers totally twisted the plot around. I can think of several things they screwed up:Roran(Eragon's cousin)was never going into the army,Saphira was not born with her name(Eragon let her choose from a variety of names in the book),Arya was not supposed to flirt with Eragon(she is not terribly interested at all in the book),they killed Brom off in a half-hour which gave the sense that he didn't play a big part(in the book he played a huge part).All in all, they just did a horrible job on the movie. My advice is to see the movie first,then read the books because then you won't be so let down. I was so desperately hoping the movie would be good because the book was good,but it was just such a disaster.Yes, Eragon does have the mystical/fantasy air as LOTR,SW,and HP,but it is a bit different.I'm very excited about the 3rd and final book of Eragon and know that it will be excellent!It's really no surprise though, the director made Jurassic Park III which we all know was a mess and was no where near as good as the first two, he also did a bad job on Eragon.....

  136. John Doe says:

    Let me guess the third book: Eragon's dad throws the Emperor down a shaft and Eragon escapes from the death star with his redeemed father's dead body in tow ;)

    Sorry, I guess I spoiled it for some of you who haven't figured out this is an exact Star Wars rip-off, only in Middle-Earth instead of space.

  137. anonymous says:

    why can't you just agree that you have different opinions? and quit arguing whether it matters if Paolini was home-schooled or put in public school. honestly, all these comments are pathetic. its just a movie. we all agree the directors screwed it up. if you think Paolini is a terrible writer, good for you. if you worship him, thats fantastic. whether you think the book is horse manure or the next bible you're entitled to your opinion, as well as Eric. so leave him alone, yeah?

  138. crager says:

    It was painfully obvious from the moment they announced the actors to the first viewing of the trailer that this movie was going to suck. However, other than the magnificent LOTR trilogy, when has a movie based on a book ever been half as decent as the book. Such is the case with this movie. Also, I have read many comments alluding to the fact that many elements of the story have been ripped-off from such epics as SW. While there are a few instances scattered throughout the story, I don't know how someone could even use these two movies in the same sentence.

  139. Randwolfe says:

    The horrible review I just read, directly after watching Eragon, made me feel, well...... God Damned Pissed Off. What does it take to please some people. I think the review was just an ego adventure. Eragon was a fine movie, not a fantastic or epic movie, but a very good one. And so maybe I have bad taste, but my gauge of a movie is whether I forget about the outside world when I'm watching it. And though a little shorter than I'd like, I was swept up in it for 102 minutes. And feel good about the positive storyline for a change. And its nice to have dragons and humans relating, instead of being natural adversaries. I never did like the evil dragon archetype. Judging by the ending of Eragon, though, any sequel will feature the evil dragon of the King. And who knows, maybe a sequel will be even better.

  140. Randwolfe says:

    Man, I've never seen such snobbery. In case it didn't occur to anyone, Star Wars was stolen from everything that came before it too. The story is universal. Good forces against the evil forces, a hero, a villian, and lots of action. Wake up and give credit where credit is due. Eragon was a good movie. Just that.

  141. Randwolfe says:

    My last word... To compare Eragon to a classic like Lord of the Rings, is right away a completely unbalanced thing. Look, everything is derivitive. There are few new ideas, its just how you arrange the scenes and write the dialogue. But since many were comparing great stories like Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, etc. I will just say that out of the majority of decent books and movies, J.R.R. Tolkein is the only one who was a true genius and very original, yet many of his ideas came directly from myths and fables, even the Bible. So a fun little story like Eragon, well done, good effects, left me feeling good.

  142. Lowdogg says:

    This feller Randwolfe is pretty darn amusing:

    "And feel good about the positive storyline for a change. And its nice to have dragons and humans relating, instead of being natural adversaries. I never did like the evil dragon archetype."

    Social Justice for the put-upon dragon- Fight the Power!

  143. John Doe says:

    Crager and Randwolfe prove to me that Eragon fans can't read. Again, Eragon isn't a pseudo rip-off of Star Wars, it's an EXACT rip-off. Everyone I have talked to about Eragon has agreed. All I need to say is the hero=luke, old hermit=Obi-wan, Yoda is in part 2, etc. See Eric's comment (#71) and tell me that you can do that with any story that that you say Star Wars ripped off. You can't, but you're too dumb to admit it. Also see:

    Then tell me that Eragon isn't an exact rip-off of Star Wars, just with the names changed and some weaker plot devices.

  144. SludgeHammer says:

    Its not bad enough idiots like Randwolfe exist, they have to vehemently defend why being a complete idiot should be acceptable. So thank you Randwolfe, for it is because of viewers like you that crap fills our movie theatres.

  145. Amp says:

    Can something be a "natural adversary" if it's mythical?

    I, for one, would like to see a movie dispel the stereotype that unicorns and princesses have a natural affinity, since not all unicorns love princesses. Some have even been known to impale princesses with their horn.

  146. Commentator of the Shadows says:

    Thats my kind of unicorn!

  147. Jennifer Brown says:

    !!!!! I am not anything but a critic myself. I love to watch movies. I hav 342 movies myself. I critis every movie I watch becuase I love movies. I thought Eragon would be a cheap knock off. If you think about it, IT WAS A GREAT MOVIE!!!!! For a young guy to write this he did a good job. Quit hating on everyone who makes something of themselves. He did good and the movie was pretty well a hit. So all I can say is shut up. I bought the movie after i watched it. I am greatly enthused about the next one coming out. I hope it is a good as the first. Who the hell cares if it was similiar to others. It took ideas from every where and made the its own. It was refreshing to see new actors and new things. If you think about it, this movie was made in the period that Lord of the Rings was made around. So, why would it not be similiar. Duh guys. Quit hating and grow up. If you don't like it then you don't like it. There is no reason to acuse them of coping. They didn't. Plots were similiar, yeah but who the hell cares. It was a good read and a better movie.


  148. John Doe says:

    Jennifer, you make me lament that children are so dumb and cannot read. Look at my challenge on post number 143. Take the challenge. If you can give me one movie that is similar to Star Wars before Star Wars was made that is like Eragon is to Star Wars, I will salute you.

    Also, LoTR was made in the 50's. Unless you are saying Paoloser is over 50 years old, then Eragon was not made around the same time as LoTR. Not only can you not read, but your math sucks. Don't stay in school, it's people like you who bring the entire school GPA down and dumb down the curriculum.

  149. Bickmo says:

    My Eragon formula:

    Hating the 1st book + skipping the sequels = I will not lift a finger to watch this movie

  150. Dave the Slave says:

    not good enough Bickmo; to sit back and do nothing to watch this movie is dangerously close to being in the trog-family. You must vehemently hate the author, movie, fans, one-pawed family farm-dogs who happened to curl up and die behind the theatre as this movie was playing, etc.
    Rather than not lift a finger to watch this movie, you need to saw your own arm off to AVOID watching this movie......

    I'm a dork! :-)

  151. Bickmo says:

    I sawed my arm off. Now what do I do?

  152. tonygt19 says:

    The best thing about "Eragon" the movie was the horse that Jeremy Irons as the Brom character rode. It was a drop dead gorgeous jet black Friesian gelding who looked better and out acted any of the primates and CG characters in the movie! I'll only see the sequel if that horse returns in a more prominent role. By the way that dragon had a head that looked like a cross between a skink and a gecko, neither of which inspires trepidation or awe.

  153. Eragon blows says:

    Books sucked.
    Movies suck.
    See a pattern?

    PS. BEST opening line ever

  154. Kim says:

    WOW! It’s very interesting how a movie review became a debate about the sanity of home schooled children. Do I believe that Paolini being home schooled had anything to do with his book being mildly entertaining… No. Does the fact that he was 15 when he wrote the book make it a literary work of art… No. Should we hold Paolini as responsible for the train wreck that was his book as we do the hack director and scrip-writers… Most defiantly YES! I find it quite interesting that so few of you are will to blame Paolini for the utter disappointment Eragon the movie was. The fact is that this book was his baby, his creation. He spent the better part of his teen age years working on this book and to allow it to become. . . There is no word befitting that movie. The fact that Paolini calls himself an author not only disgraces himself but those who have spent their entire life’s tiring to publish their true works of art. As a writer it pains my soul to see his book become such an abomination. As the author he should have put his foot down and said “NO” you will not turn this into a movie based on my book. Look at authors such as J.K. Rowling. She understood that for time restraints something’s had to be left out and small details had to be changed but the charter development was not damaged. The ability to bond with charters was not rushed . Her integrity was not damaged by the film that was released. Yes some hard core Potter fans were irritated by the changes though not so much that they felt cheated by what they just paid for. Paolini disgusts me as an author. The only thing that keeps me reading his 2ed book is that his basic concept has intrigued me.

  155. Commentator of the shadows says:

    I also agree, the Freisian was the best part of the movie. What I would give to own one of those...

  156. d says:

    "Into the win or die!" *barfs*

  157. katey says:

    I LOVE THE THE FIRST PARAGRAPH! thats just what i was doing on the way out

  158. Kuroneko says:

    That opening paragraph was simply lovely. ^_^ And I'm just glad to see someone else that: a) dislikes Eragon and b) also thought that thing was totally a jellybean. Thank you.

  159. sara says:

    So, Eric, if you EVER read this entire list, I really just have a very brief comment of my own to add: READ THE BOOK before you even think of including it as part of a review, it just makes you look stupid otherwise. However, you ARE right about pretty much everything you said so I guess you got away with it... this time:)

  160. Lotus says:

    It's a shame that society today has been corrupting the content of brilliant books. Which, I totally agree with Sara: Read the book, Eric. It is 90% better than the movie, and is not twisted or bent in any way.

  161. aaron says:

    Sara and Lotus are wrong. I've read the book, and won't ever see the movie, and Eric's statements about the book (which don't require having read the book to justify, by the way) are 100% accurate. The book was crap, the basic elements of the book that appeared in the movie are crap, and anyone who sees the movie can criticize them without looking stupid. Crap crap crap.

    The opening paragraph of this review: brilliant
    Pauloini's book: crap

  162. Connie C. says:

    Matthew V. Got it right. Loved the book, hated the movie! The screen writer must have read a different book than I did. Not only did they not get Borm's death right, they did not get anything else right. They also left out characters that are important to the story line of Eragon and Eldest. Aaron if your are going to knock an author, at least learn his name first.

  163. rae costin says:

    Seems I have come to what might be a very old page. Watched this movie with my kids today. Came to one conclusion. without even reading it, it smells like a McCaffery/Pern knock-off!! I think I read these 2 decades ago. Don't remeber them very well since I have read 100's of books since, but have the impression that there is not much, if any, original thought. Anybody who would compare this work to Rowling (the stat's speak for themselves), whom I have also not read, is a much less than a sophisticated reader. Being written by one so young is an accomplishment, but nothing more. Does not fall into the realm of literary genuis.

  164. OMAllen says:

    Oh yeah. This movie sucked.

  165. joaopft says:

    As a side comment: Goethe published Werther when he was only 24, to become one of the most celebrated novels of all time.

  166. card says:

    That's a pretty good side comment. It had NOTHING to do with this movie review!

  167. Warren Peace says:

    book sucked, movie sucked, and homeschoolers suck.

    Tha is all.

  168. Jeremy says:

    I agree with you entirely if I had only watched the movie. But I read the book 3 times. I also read Eldest 3 times. Loved them both so much that I actually downloaded the audiobooks and listened to them both twice. I know that may sound a little desperate or geeky, but I'm almost 30 years old and have never been a geeky fantasy obsessed teenager. I do like medieval and magical stories though. Role playing video games too. If I would have been alone at the movies, I would've walked out in the first 10 minutes. No joke. It was that bad. The storyline did not even come close to the book. They changed everything to Hollywoodize it. I know most of the younger people in America loved the movie, but I don't understand it. I feel sorry for this latest generation.

  169. Lauren says:

    I loved the books. Yeah they are somewhat like other fantasy novels but if you think about it most Genras connect in someway.

    The movie was horrible though! they totally ruined it. I think he should have taken control and told them to fix it. The acting was bad and it wasn't anything like the book. I went to see it with a friend and we got yelled at several times for talking. Normally we wouldn't talk and just enjoy the movie but this was a REALLY bad movie. We would have left if we wern't hoping that it would get better

  170. Vivienne says:

    I hated the book.

    Do people not have any other fantasy creature to write about other than elves, dwarves and dragons?

    Notice that there is an ancient language - that is absolutely fine, good on you if you make a language. An ancient language of the elves, however, arouses suspicion.

    There are so many parallels to what I believe to be the king of stories - The Lord of the Rings, a better book you'll never find - such as the language, most of the place names, some of the dialogue, the way the elves are portrayed ect ect.

    The movie was even worse. was a cut-up load of shed. The scenes switched too much, the acting was terrible with the exception of the "village crazy man (good description!)", and the thing was made like the directors and cast hadn't actually bothered to read the book.

    If the characters had not had those names I wouldn't have known it was the same story.

  171. John Doe says:

    I've finally seen the movie! I had help from rifftrax (google it) to help me get through it. I must say that Jeremy Irons was way too good for this movie.

    Otherwise, I have never seen such an overpowered character in all my days of reading sci-fi or fantasy. He can do magic without training! He's an expert with a bow. He masters swordsmanship in no time flat. And he has a dragon. In what, a week, he goes from being a farm boy to a master of everything and leader of an army of strangers. What the heck movie?

    I will say the plot stolen from Star Wars is not as obvious as others lead me to believe. You actually have to think about it (and read the books). The movie did look a lot like LoTR.

    Not a horrible movie, but it has huge problems.

  172. Jenn says:

    What great comments!! They're almost more entertaining than the review!!!

    I do have to say I wasn't all that impressed with the books. I read the first one & thought it was okay, but couldn't make it past the first four chapters in "Eldest". I can only say one good thing about the keeps my nephews quiet for two hours, which is always worth any price!!!

  173. Lulu says:

    Luke Davie received a 'genuine' education when he was home schooled? It is a pity that it didn't include spelling...

  174. spiceybiscuit says:

    I agree with some of the comments; the books where actually very good. The second book knocked off Half Blood Prince from the number one spot when it came out (that was what, 5 years ago?) The movie, HORRIBLE. I think I flipped it the bird at the end credits, but didn't waste my 10 bucks at the movies; it was on HBO and after a day of day drinking. Needless to say, it didn't help my hanger over (or night over? what does one get when they day drink and are hung over at night?). Screen writers should be shot. How do they re-write and script and then pat themselves on the back and say "good job!" Seriously, do any of them have any sense of what a good movie would be? Anyone? "tap tap", is this thing on?

  175. sam says:

    okay just so you know the eragon books are actually really good and the movie was pretty much the baseline plot of the movie with a bunch of made up crap that didnt follow the book whatsoever. the series is one of my favorites but the directors and screen writers always think they know what the audiences will like but apparently from the reviews they do not know a thing about what these audiences want which is to see a really good book come to life on a movie screen which is not what this movie did. The harry potter movies are pretty darn closes to the books and people love them and im sick and tired of movies like eragon wasting everyones time and money because when they first go to the theater all they want to see is their favorite book on a movie screen

  176. Jennifer says:

    I just don't understand why a "rock" needs a purpose. The movie remindes me of lord of the rings. I was unimpressed with both the movie and the book. It wasn't worth the time it took to read it for me. For the people who didn't read the book the movie may have been more pleasing.

  177. Melody says:

    I have to agree, the movie sucked, but those who have read the book properly would know that it is a great book with great description and, Christopher Paolini, the writer, has an exellent imagination and should be proud of the book he wrote. I adore fantasy and his book is the best I've read in a long time!

  178. ichigo says:

    Paolini's book is genius. The writer of this review is a complete idiot. He hasn't read the book and yet he is already critizing the book without a second thought. The movie, just so you know has barely anything to do with the book and if you think otherwise, you need to read the book again until you actually get it. GOT IT?

  179. Felix says:

    Hahaha I'm home-schooled and I thought Eric's comments were hilarious. And I'm not being sarcastic. You rule, Eric. Why can't people just forget the insult and enjoy the humor?

    I don't care if you insult me, as long as it's funny :)

    'Eragon' wasn't the best book I've ever read, the second and third are better.

  180. Aglovale says:

    Wonderful review Eric, and eye-wateringly amazing that 95% of those defending the movie/film/frankenstein have misunderstood the concept of HYPERBOLE FOR THE PURPOSES OF COMEDIC ENTERTAINMENT. As a side note, i have read the aforementioned books and while they are perhaps not as excruciatingly bad as some comments may suggest, the widley held view that they're no great shakes is pretty dead on. Also, as a geeky obsessive compulsive i would like to counter the claim that L.A. (#88) says:

    "If Eragon had been written first, LOTR and SW would have been characterized as lame rip-offs of Eragon"

    This argument is nullified by the fact that creating a a mythology and language requires time and care, something Tolkien evidently understood, as his lore spanned decades of work. Paolini however hastily (albeit competently) assembles his lore from previous texts. My personal belief is that if Tolkien had come after Paolini, he would have looked at the Eragon books and thought: "i think i'll take my primary influences from sources like Beowolf and Norse mythology instead, actually."

    Now i've realised how out of date this posting is...
    Ah well, consider it a late gesture of solidarity from a socially impaired public-schooler.
    Keep up the good work Mr. Snider!

  181. MisaMisaEK says:

    You have no idea how aggravating this is for me! Here I am, researching for a college paper,hoping that some smart-well-known-critic will prove my point and burst me to an A+ and I'm greeted by the same fate twice...! I read the review, and I read the review a second and a third time; To Eric D Snider, how dare you be so bias of Paolini's work? First off, the guy was 15 when he started writing it so cut him slack for it since for a 15 year he pretty much had a strange outlook on the world to come up with war strategies and dictatorships (but perhaps he learned that in History, no?). The fact that the guy lived in Montana is a reason you should forgive him for being "fantasy-obsessed". He was probably bored out of his mind there!

    Anywho, I feel that, although the book was in fact epic, that's probably why it was a best seller (although sometimes best sellers are bought by fan obsessed kids; i.e Twilight). The movie, I concur, was TERRIBLE, and any fan of the novel could point out even the slightest differences: it was that bad. I completely understand that you're a critic, and I won't disrespect you for what you are. However, I do feel that this review was totally inappropriate seeing as though this was a MOVIE review and not a BOOK review. It's unfair to the author's creditability to make such SNIDE remarks. If you're going to be a critic,at least be fair about.

    But other than that, you were pretty much right on about the movie. -Distasteful-

  182. Tally Hill says:

    ok i just wanna say that you guys are really unfair...have you read the series at all? Eragon was ok, but enough to keep you interested, Eldest was awesome and BRISINGR was the best read of that year!!!! the movie was pretty bad bu that doesnt mean you gotta job the book based off the movie

Subscription Center

Eric D. Snider's "Snide Remarks"

This is to join the mailing list for Eric's weekly humor column, "Snide Remarks." For more information, go here.


Eric D. Snider's "In the Dark"

This is to join the mailing list for Eric's weekly movie-review e-zine. For more information on it, go here.

This site created and maintained by Jeff J. Snider | Diamond Clarity Chart