March 5, 2007

Eragon or Hero Gone?

I have not read Christopher Paolini’s "Eragon". However, we did watch the movie yesterday. I don’t know how similar the book is to the movie (the synopsis on Wikipedia seems to suggest that there might be major alterations to the story) but as soon as the movie started, I had but one thought – "This sounds a lot like an adaptation of ‘Star Wars‘" :)

That was my impression on seeing the first five minutes of the movie and the rest of the movie did nothing to dispel this impression. A world ruled by benevolent dragon riders and all of the dragon riders being killed by one of their own who then became the despotic dictator of the world? Years later, a young princess stealing a valuable object belonging to the dictator/king and running off to hide? When she’s caught, she sends off the valuable item elsewhere? The item ends up in the hands of a young farm boy who lives in the boondocks with his uncle? Any of this starting to sound familiar? :p

Having not managed to get my book sold at all, you might ask "Who are you to talk?" I might even be accused of jealousy. I’m not jealous of Christopher Paolini. He made it and the more power to him. Given that he was fifteen when he wrote this, you can actually understand the inspirations and the sources behind the story. Of course, according to another Wikipedia entry which lists no source, Paolini has said that his inspiration wasn’t "Star Wars" but Joseph Campbell’s "Hero’s Journey", which has been credited by George Lucas as his own inspiration for "Star Wars". Looking at the number of similarities between the "Star Wars" storyline and "Eragon", I find that a little tough to swallow, but whatever, dude :) We are not talking about Paolini and his source of inspiration.

What I do find fascinating is the complete lack of originality on the part of Hollywood. Why would they take a story which so obviously is "Star Wars" on dragons and create a movie out of it? Did they think the success of the book would guarantee the success of the movie? Are we so bankrupt of ideas today that we think just taking any successful book series and creating movies out of them is the way to go? Or is it just that every Hollywood studio wants a series of their own that they could milk for several years? It all seems so silly if you look at it logically but then again, logic seems to be in even shorter supply than ideas in the world of today ….

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