Movie and pho

Went to see “Eragon” last night. It was exactly what I expected: Standard fantasy adventure tale with pretty boys and emaciated girls. The landscape and CGs were terrific, by themselves worth the price of admission. It must have been filmed in New Zealand; I have a friend there and must go impose upon him one day, just to see the country.

They are, of course, capitalizing on the success of “Lord of the Rings.” Evidently, Eragon is part of a fantasy series, too, because this movie ended on a very obvious wait-for-the-next-installment note. Jeremy Irons was, as always, quite good, and John Malkovich did a wretched job. He may be a good actor, but slopping it out because you don’t have The Big Central Part or are just too lazy to do it properly really torques me. Have some respect for your audience.

I loved the dragon. They made the baby dragon adorably cute (not easy to do, with talons and spikes and things) and did a really nice job with her.

Pho afterwards, at a place near the theater, was yummy. I hadn’t been to this place before; it’s more “family” than the other pho place in town (a TV in the wall for the owners’ little guys to watch and little people running around all over the place) and they speak less English. But good food. The littlest guy had a massive case of pinkeye, which was a little disturbing in a restaurant, but I didn’t see that until I was paying. And interestingly, they had a little shrine set up at the back, with little offerings of food and drink set out in front of it. That makes me curious, but I didn’t ask.

I love the name of the restaurant: Pho Ly. ‘Nuff said. 😀

Posted by wordsmith

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The Vietnamese place I used to go to had a large shrine with a Buddha and a picture of the Virgin Mary above it on the wall. It used to confuse me alot. No food, though.

But I *said* it was exactly what I *expected*. I didn’t have high expectations. 🙂

Well…

I really dislike movies that are teasers for the sequel. I feel cheated. Anna’s a bit too kind about the CG work. Though the director comes to his job from being an effects supervisor, it’s clear that they spent too much money on Irons and Malkovitch and the dragon effects (which were quite good) so that some of the other effects weren’t any better than in, say, Ray Harryhausen’s Jason and the Argonauts, 40 years ago.

Anna’s dead right about Malkovitch. He was phoning in his performance. He can do insanely sinister as well or better than anyone since Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino and possibly since Robert Mitchum or George C. Scott, but all he did here was shout and growl a bit. In fairness, it looks like the sequel will actually be his movie as this one was Jeremy Irons’ and Robert Carlyle’s, but his snippets in Eragon do not bode well.

As much as I like Rachel Weisz, I think that there are voices that would have conveyed the strength and wisdom of the dragon better. Vanessa Redgrave and Helen Mirren immediately spring to mind, but that’s a minor point and, clearly, the producers wanted a “sexy” dragon.

But the thing that bothered me most was the obvious filler. The country in which the movie was filmed is beautiful, but when Peter Jackson sweeps over a landscape in his Lord of the Rings movies, it is always to show the extent of a battle, an army or to bring focus to another group of adventurers in the story. Here it was just travelogue. Pretty scenery to ride through or fly over for the sake of pretty scenery. After 2 or 3 shots like that we get it. The place is pretty, wild and pretty. O.k. So show me something. Advance the narrative somehow. Fangmeier never does.

I think the reason that his scenery is just filler is that he’s not as good a director as he is an effects supervisor and has a thin script. Eragon is about 30 to 60 minutes too long because they decided to get at least 2 movies out of barely enough script for one.

Finally, Sienna Guillory’s warrior maiden is pretty enough but implausible. This woman has not eaten a decent meal since she was 11 years old. She’s 31 but, in some shots toward the end, looks older than Maggie Smith. She might replace Kate Moss as the poster child for anorexia nervosa. In consequence of her obvious malnourishment, I just couldn’t believe that she could lift a sword let alone fight Malkovitch’s army. And as a sex object, she might please the necrophiliacs but she’d be sexier if she put on about 20 pounds.

But the Pho was fine.

Rob

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