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RiffTrax Discussion => Individual RiffTrax Discussion => Eragon => Topic started by: Just Some Guy on May 11, 2007, 06:31:12 PM

Title: Why Eragon is NOTHING like ____________
Post by: Just Some Guy on May 11, 2007, 06:31:12 PM
To anyone familiar with popular fantasy works published in the past 50 years are quite aware that Eragon borrowed liberally from many, many sources.  A friend once told me "Good writers create; great writers steal," but I think he overlooked the fact that incredibly crappy writers steal a lot from as many different sources as possible.  So, what "homages" did you notice in the movie?

Just to cover the most obvious source, there is Jackon's film version of The Lord of the Rings.  I'd like to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that things were borrowed from the novel (and I'll give the original author credit and recognize that they have at least read some fantasy rather than just watching the popular movies) but so much of the film is clearly taken directly from Jackson's film.  Certain scenes and effects especially stand out like the "not Balrog".

The telepathic dragon riders are taken from Anne McCaffrey's Dragon Riders of Pern series.  No threadfall for them to fight, though.
Title: Re: Why Eragon is NOTHING like ____________
Post by: RobtheBarbarian on May 11, 2007, 08:06:14 PM
I noticed a lot of Dragonheart-like moments, but that might have been unavoidable what with the material.

What the whole movie reminded me most of was a bad game of D&D. You know, new characters literally dropping out of the sky, unoriginal evil wizard overlords, fruity impractical clothes and armor (though that's common to most sword and sorcery movies)... all it needed was the voice of the DM playing over the movie like a narrator, saying things like "Make a will save ... ok, your character is struck down by a spell the evil wizard put on you while you were in prison."
Title: Re: Why Eragon is NOTHING like ____________
Post by: Hobbit on May 11, 2007, 08:27:36 PM
The book's much better, but it still borrows a lot.  The world, like most any fantasy worlds, is Tolkeinesque, as Tolkein invented modern fantasy, and the plot, at least of the first book, is very much Star Wars, just in a different setting.

Think about it.  A long time ago in a galaxy fantasy world far, far away, there were these guys known as Jedi dragon riders who used the force dragons and magic to be the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic whatever they had before now.  Then, an ambitious young Jedi rider named Anakin Galbatorix decided that the others were holding him back and, in a quest to gain power, overthrew the old order and hunted down and killed nearly all of the other Jedi knights riders, then started his evil galactic empire.  Flash forward a bit.  Princess Leia Aria is carrying the Rebellion's Varden's last hope, the stolen Death Star plans dragon egg on her starship horse when she is ambushed by agents of the Empire and is forced to send it away on an escape pod with magic into the middle of nowhere, where it is stumbled upon by a young boy named Luke Eragon, who is a poor farm boy who lives with his uncle, since his parents are both gone.  Before long, stormtroopers not orcs come looking for the droidsagon and kill Luke's Eragon's uncle to find them.  Then, the wisened old sage, who was once a Jedi rider himself, takes the boy on a journey to deliver the plans dragon to the rebels on Alderaan Varden in the mountains.  Along the way, they run into a jack-of-all-trades loner scoundrel guy, who helps them save Princess Leia Aria, killing Obi-Brom Kenobi in the process.  Then, when they go find the rebels on Yavin Varden in the mountains, only to find that they have led the Empire there.  Then, an epic battle ensues, in which Luke Eragon must use the force magic and his dragon to defeat the Emporer's ultimate weapon, the Death Star a shade by hitting a small, thermal exhaust port, right below the main port his heart.  The rebels Varden win, and we go on to the sequel, because the Empire's still alive and well.
Title: Re: Why Eragon is NOTHING like ____________
Post by: mantis in my pantis on May 11, 2007, 08:31:08 PM
 :clap: :clap: :clap: Jawohl!
Title: Re: Why Eragon is NOTHING like ____________
Post by: Principal_Skin-trade on May 12, 2007, 12:39:19 PM
I think this movie reminds me more of Quest for the delta knights.... but funny thing is I thought that movie was godawful... whilst I thought eragon was simply... mediocre.
Title: Re: Why Eragon is NOTHING like ____________
Post by: Indomitus on May 12, 2007, 04:18:05 PM
Great shot, Hobbit, that was one in a million!   :clap:
Title: Re: Why Eragon is NOTHING like ____________
Post by: Principal_Skin-trade on May 12, 2007, 06:06:30 PM
Great shot, Hobbit, that was one in a million!   :clap:
The ring will be with you... always.
Title: Re: Why Eragon is NOTHING like ____________
Post by: Tyrant on May 13, 2007, 11:45:58 AM

  Hobbit, I've decided you're the most brilliant person on this forum.  ;D

  I've always wondered if it's possible to write anything without copying from something else to some level. People who are accused of ripping off are usually just the ones who didn't cover it up as good as others. It'd be interesting if someone were raised in an environment with absolutely no media stimulation at all to see if they could come up with something truly original.
Title: Re: Why Eragon is NOTHING like ____________
Post by: Bartender on May 13, 2007, 04:11:17 PM
I am actually an Anti-Shurtugal member, or Anti. So I am well versed in all of Eragon's flaws.

One thing that I laugh at is the Dwarves and Elves. Dwarves and Elves of Eragonland (Alawhatsit) hate eachother, why? Wha, wha, wha, wha 'cause they're Dwarves and Elves. Tolkien (who started this trend) at least explained WHY they hated eachother. It was because the Dwarves of the first age stole a Silmaril from the Elves of the First Age. In Eragon? No reason.  Just 'cause.

Eragon has the exact same magic system as Earthsea. It has a VERY similar dragon system to Pern. It's set in Middle-Earth. And it shares a lot of plot with SW.
Title: Re: Why Eragon is NOTHING like ____________
Post by: Rude on May 13, 2007, 07:30:16 PM
Quote from: Tyrant
It'd be interesting if someone were raised in an environment with absolutely no media stimulation at all to see if they could come up with something truly original.

Didn't Joseph Campbell cover that topic in The Power Of Myth?... Or maybe that was Josef Mengele and his experiments.
Hmmm....

-Rude
Title: Re: Why Eragon is NOTHING like ____________
Post by: Hobbit on May 13, 2007, 08:21:48 PM
I am actually an Anti-Shurtugal member, or Anti. So I am well versed in all of Eragon's flaws.

One thing that I laugh at is the Dwarves and Elves. Dwarves and Elves of Eragonland (Alawhatsit) hate eachother, why? Wha, wha, wha, wha 'cause they're Dwarves and Elves. Tolkien (who started this trend) at least explained WHY they hated eachother. It was because the Dwarves of the first age stole a Silmaril from the Elves of the First Age. In Eragon? No reason.  Just 'cause.

Eragon has the exact same magic system as Earthsea. It has a VERY similar dragon system to Pern. It's set in Middle-Earth. And it shares a lot of plot with SW.

Yeah, but that wasn't explained in "The Lord of the Rings," and the author of Eragon has yet to write the functional equivalent of "The Silmarillion."

As for the rest of it, I'll excuse him because a) he was only 15 when he wrote the first one and b) at least he's stealing from the best.
Title: Re: Why Eragon is NOTHING like ____________
Post by: Just Some Guy on May 13, 2007, 08:26:36 PM
I am actually an Anti-Shurtugal member, or Anti. So I am well versed in all of Eragon's flaws.

One thing that I laugh at is the Dwarves and Elves. Dwarves and Elves of Eragonland (Alawhatsit) hate eachother, why? Wha, wha, wha, wha 'cause they're Dwarves and Elves. Tolkien (who started this trend) at least explained WHY they hated eachother. It was because the Dwarves of the first age stole a Silmaril from the Elves of the First Age. In Eragon? No reason.  Just 'cause.

Eragon has the exact same magic system as Earthsea. It has a VERY similar dragon system to Pern. It's set in Middle-Earth. And it shares a lot of plot with SW.

Yeah, but that wasn't explained in "The Lord of the Rings," and the author of Eragon has yet to write the functional equivalent of "The Silmarillion."

As for the rest of it, I'll excuse him because a) he was only 15 when he wrote the first one and b) at least he's stealing from the best.

Even discounting the Silmarillion, the reason Tolkien had elves and dwarves hate each other was not because another, better author said that elves and dwarves hate each other.
Title: Re: Why Eragon is NOTHING like ____________
Post by: Hobbit on May 14, 2007, 12:11:11 AM
Even discounting the Silmarillion, the reason Tolkien had elves and dwarves hate each other was not because another, better author said that elves and dwarves hate each other.

I wouldn't be too sure (except for the better part, because I doubt there's a better fantasy author).  Tolkein and his pal C.S. Lewis both based all of their fantasy creatures off of creatures from ancient myths.  In fact, Tolkein and Lewis had many 'heated discussions' over the fact that Lewis mixed multiple mythologies in the same setting.  Narnia contained both naiads (water spirits) and dryads (tree spirits) which, despite their similar names, come from completely different mythology sets.  It had ettins (Norse) and centaur (Greek).  Tolkein believed in a 'pure' mythology.
Title: Re: Why Eragon is NOTHING like ____________
Post by: Just Some Guy on May 14, 2007, 01:32:17 AM
I wouldn't be too sure (except for the better part, because I doubt there's a better fantasy author).
While I'm not a scholar of Norse mythology, Tolkien's major source that he worked his mythos from, I don't recall anything about elves and dwarves hating each other in them.  In fact, I can't think of any time off the top of my head where they interacted.  The enmity between the two races is a modern creation of Tolkien.
Title: Re: Why Eragon is NOTHING like ____________
Post by: MarkAndrew on May 15, 2007, 03:19:05 PM
Well, the Rheingold has some groundwork for the whole Elf/Dwarf hate...though that was over a theft as well.

Title: Re: Why Eragon is NOTHING like ____________
Post by: Just Some Guy on May 15, 2007, 05:39:35 PM
I'm most familiar with the opera there, but I thought that was between the dwarves and gods rather than elves.
Title: Re: Why Eragon is NOTHING like ____________
Post by: Fuzzy Necromancer on May 19, 2007, 10:12:11 PM
It's easy to write stuff that's not terribly derivative.

First, scrap the pointless humanoid races, and make your own set. Elves are hippy angel-folk. Dwarves are short scottsmen. You don't need them.

I say, start by making humans seem alien instead of turning human archetypes into inhuman folk. Humans are taller than most races, and HUMANS are inherently magical (Why do you think you need a HUMAN sacrifice as opposed to a dwarf sacrifice or a goat sacrifice and HUMAN blood?), or at least more-so than most species. They're omnivorous. They have the weird hair-not hair thing. Humans are always the plucky heroes, always finding magic swords or becoming wizards.

Let's extrapolate this further. See the human race from the outside. Take everything you've learned about them, and exaggerate it. Get the seventh-hand account tall tale.

Humans are huge. Seven or nine feet tall at least. Humans will eat anything: plant, animal, dead, living, sentient or non, even their own species. They'll try eating rocks, fermented sour milk, droppings, anything. Humans can shoot lightning and move objects with their minds. Every human has a magic power and a fairy relative. Humans will have sex with and concieve children with any species.

Then, make up your races.

...anyone wanna try?
Title: Re: Why Eragon is NOTHING like ____________
Post by: mrbasehart on May 20, 2007, 06:19:58 AM
One thing about the commentary that made me pause was the guy's accusation of Eragon borrowing from the Matrix.  Is there really that much? 'cause I really didn't see much. 
Title: Re: Why Eragon is NOTHING like ____________
Post by: Sideswipe on May 20, 2007, 11:29:43 AM
Yeah, theres not really a lot of Matrix in this movie.  Except Brom's Matrix-esque jump/kill sword move. 
Title: Re: Why Eragon is NOTHING like ____________
Post by: Fuzzy Necromancer on May 20, 2007, 11:14:28 PM
I think that The Matrix has just tapped into so many collective nodes of action movie ness, it's hard not to make some links to it when somebody does an improbable fight move or slow motion attack (both of which are genre staples).
Title: Re: Why Eragon is NOTHING like ____________
Post by: RobtheBarbarian on May 20, 2007, 11:20:06 PM
The only connection I see to the Matrix is the whole "hidden city nestled in a valley, where the remnants of the Good Guys hide from the overlord" thing.
Title: Re: Why Eragon is NOTHING like ____________
Post by: Sideswipe on May 21, 2007, 04:51:27 AM
The only connection I see to the Matrix is the whole "hidden city nestled in a valley, where the remnants of the Good Guys hide from the overlord" thing.

I agree with Hobbit on this point.  It seems more like some sort of hidden rebel base than a last bastion of human civilization to me.
Title: Re: Why Eragon is NOTHING like ____________
Post by: Indomitus on May 21, 2007, 06:45:51 AM
Actually, the biggest connection to Matrix is stylistic.  Matrix changed how action movies are made, and how they look, and Eragon followed that with a number of incredibly improbable fight scenes.
The connections don't have to be in the narrative itself.
Title: Re: Why Eragon is NOTHING like ____________
Post by: Nunyerbiz on May 21, 2007, 07:05:47 AM
Personally, I'm shocked that a lesser author and/or movie would borrow from more successful authors and/or movies in an attempt to make a quick buck. I don't think that's ever happened before.

OF COURSE IT'S DERIVATIVE SLOP!!! Why is anybody wasting their countdown to carpal tunnel syndrome by bothering to type about it?!?

Nobody would have cared if the movie was the worth the DVD it was burned on... being a "rip off" artist never draws much ire if you're good at it.

Damn... now my wrists are starting to hurt... freakin wasted character typing!
Title: Re: Why Eragon is NOTHING like ____________
Post by: Fuzzy Necromancer on May 21, 2007, 09:41:33 AM
Alright then. It's a bad copy of a bad copy.

There is, however, a lot of stuff that gets praise for being, original, unheard of, dynamic. "Labyrinth" is a good example of this, as is Neil Gaiman's "Neverwhere".  Creativity is not dead.
Title: Re: Why Eragon is NOTHING like ____________
Post by: Nunyerbiz on May 21, 2007, 10:24:02 AM
Oh, don't get me wrong... I wasn't trying to say that creativity is dead and we should all just accept it. I'm just saying that it was pretty obvious from the get-go that Eragon was going to be shamelessly derived from better works. It just reeked from it the moment I saw the first TV spot.
Title: Re: Why Eragon is NOTHING like ____________
Post by: Fuzzy Necromancer on May 21, 2007, 02:38:49 PM
Ah yes, well, that is true. However, it was still more mediocre and derivative than I would have predicted.
Title: Re: Why Eragon is NOTHING like ____________
Post by: Principal_Skin-trade on May 22, 2007, 01:27:41 PM
You know that part where Eragon comes home to find his UNCLE dead and he is told by his dragon not to go home because it's "too dangerous",  that is not at all like that scene in Star Wars where Luke goes home to find his UNCLE and aunt dead and was just told by a wise man that it is "too dangerous".
Title: Re: Why Eragon is NOTHING like ____________
Post by: Wild Eep on May 30, 2007, 09:15:08 PM
I don't mind a good retelling of an old story. 

But this is utter crap.