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Eragon (2006)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
How disappointing, 1 January 2007

An already-written, very good coming of age story with an epic journey, epic battles, amazing characters, and a dragon. A DRAGON. How could something that potentially incredible be turned into a steaming hot mess? I don't know, but they managed to do it.

Having read (and loved) the book, I knew much of the detail would have to be condensed. However, "condensed" doesn't have to mean "hacked into a bloody, incoherent mess," as was done here. There is no sense of time passage, no smooth storyline, no character development (hint to filmmakers everywhere: when major characters loved by the hero get hurt or die, the viewer should feel SOMETHING). Unlike a previous reviewer, I found the cinematography quite lacking; the vistas are bleak and uninspiring, and one shot in particular, a sort of made-for-TV-movie zoom in to Brom's face, is very distracting. The effects were all right, nothing to write home about. The screenplay veered away from the excellent source material and was completely uninspired, full of pointless one-liners and focusing on the Hollywood bad-movie tradition of the supervillain menacing his main henchman, who in turn menaces his sub-henchmen, who in turn ... I dunno, go home and kick their dogs—the movie version of incompetent middle management.

But worst of all (and encompassing all of the above) was the direction. When Jeremy Irons comes off as cheesy and melodramatic, and Djimon Hounsou is wooden and unaffecting, the director obviously hasn't a clue what he is doing. (I am giving John Malkovich's scenery-chewing King Galbatorix a pass because—well, because it is always fun to watch John Malkovich chew scenery.)

… Hmm. I popped back to the main page to see who directed it. Now I see the problem. Stefen Fangmeier. The director of … nothing. This was his directorial debut. Whose bright idea was it to take a huge epic story and place it in the inexperienced hands of someone who has never before directed a movie? And—I almost can't believe I'm seeing this—have him work from a screenplay written by someone whose only other credit is Jurassic Park III? Who was the editor, I wonder? Curious George? This could have been so much better. Poor, poor Christopher Paolini.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
My workplace needs this video, 16 August 2005

I can't begin to calculate the time that would be saved if every working adult in the world, ESPECIALLY execs, watched this video and applied its simple tactics. In fact, I just submitted a suggestion to our company's suggestion box that we should all watch it.

When to arrive to meetings, when to start meetings, when to stop meetings, what to talk about in meetings--heck, even whether to have them or not--it's all covered here to very educational and mildly entertaining effect. Plus, come on, who doesn't need more John Cleese in their lives?

I wonder how hard it would be to dig up a copy ...

11 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
Well, THAT'S 90 minutes of my life I'll never get back., 24 July 2005

I'm not a movie snob. I swear. If a movie succeeds in what it is attempting, that's fine—even if it's just attempting to be a pleasant, cliché-ridden diversion for kids.

But this movie doesn't work on any level. Ice Cube as Nick is the best thing in this movie, and he is barely tolerable. The kids' mom is a nonentity. The two kids either can't act or were at the mercy of a wretched director. Having seen the little girl who played Lindsey, Aleisha Allen, in the infinitely better School of Rock, I suspect it is the latter.

The basic plot is workable, if unoriginal. Divorced mom and dad, kids want them to get back together, new potential boyfriend for the mom, and a road trip thrown in for good measure. Played right, it would have been sweet and funny. In this movie, it's stupid and painful. As a previous reviewer mentioned, by the time the kids find out the truth about their dad, they've spent so much of the movie being mean-spirited little brats that it's hard to feel bad for them. These over-the-top kid-on-adult violent antics worked in Home Alone (which was liberally, ahem, borrowed from) because there the kid was basically good, and the "enemies" were bad guys. In Are We There Yet?, the adult victim is essentially a nice guy, and the kids—not so much.

The emotional switches of this movie don't ring true, either. Nick goes from (understandably) severely NOT liking these kids to loving them in the blink of an eye. Same weird switch at the end for the mom, as she goes from liking Nick to mistrusting him to loving him in the space of a few minutes.

A few more things (yes, I'm being nitpicky, but this movie deserves it ... plus, it's the only joy I'll get out of watching the darn thing): when Lindsey sings, the plot device to get her on stage is so incredibly transparent and tacked-on that you can see a bunch of guys sitting around a table going, "Hey, Aleisha Allen can sing. Can we write a scene into this movie where she sings?" Also, logically, I have to ask myself, WHERE DID THE BACKUP MUSIC COME FROM??? One more question. Why is it that the CGI for the Satchel Paige bobblehead was so good—that and Ice Cube are why I gave this movie even two stars—and yet the the attack deer looks like a piñata? If, after reading this review, you still decide to see the movie—well, don't blame me if you want to rip out your own eyeballs before it's half over. You've been warned.

I have to go lie down now.

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Admit it, it's a guilty pleasure., 29 October 2003

Okay, YES, this movie was a train wreck. That's the whole point; who can drive past a train wreck without looking? The plot is SUPPOSED to be farcical, the acting is NOT supposed to be realistic, and we are SUPPOSED to be weirded out by the whole thing.

I admit, I don't own this movie and probably never will. But if I'm flipping channels and I see it, I can't not watch it.