When Books Become Films

Last night I popped in the latest arrival from Netfix, the movie adaptation of Christopher Paulini's Eragon. I was so excited - a chance to lose myself in a great epic fantasy, like Lord of the Rings which I could read or watch a thousand times and never find boring. And since Eragon has been compared to LOTR many times (though mostly with the word "pilfer" somewhere in the sentence), I was expecting great things.

My husband and I like to predict whether a film will be any good during the opening credits. Actually, it's mostly my husband who likes to do this, and I like to say, "Just watch the movie!" and then to gloat (in a mature way, of course) when a flick he said would be awful is actually good. Especially if it was my pick and not his.

But this time I couldn't help but join in the prediction game. When a film opens with a tawny-headed Hobbit frolicking in the woodlands it's quaint and endearing. But the tawny Ed Speleers, the 17-year-old slightly petulant, thoroughly milk-toast Eragon? Not so much.

By the arrival of the dragon egg, Stephen and I were cracking jokes, "No! Take the red pill the red one! Don't take the blue pill!" (Sorry, forgive my Honey I Shrunk the Kids meets The Matrixmoment there.)

Once the rubbery baby dragon started devouring rats, we were switching to our one clear television channel to see when 20/20 would be finished with the un-viewable segment on some man who murdered his children but kept the love of his wife. So for another half-hour we flipped. The dragon is telepathic! switch The woman forgave him. switch The evil king is John Malkovich! switch Creepy music and, "Mania and depression can be a murderous combination..." switch Is that a dragon or a giant rubber chicken that's been painted blue? switch So call your doctor about Galbatorix. May cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and incandescent glowing of the eyeballs. Oh, good, the segment's over.

Usually I like to read a book before I watch a movie. I saw Lemony Snicket first (and loved it) but found it was just too close to the books for me to read them - too redundant. I was so disappointed; they're such smart and funny books. But here, regardless of how different the book may be, I no longer feel compelled to read it, and given it's door-stop proportions, this is about two week's reading I may now spend on other things. Bonus for me!