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The Book of Na'Lon

or rather, Inane Ramblings of an Expatriot

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One part effects and three parts tosh
Well, well, well. That's 99 minutes of my life I could have spent better.

The Marquis and I just watched Eragon on DVD. I had borrowed the film from a colleague who is one of those strange half-muggles that are fairly common these days: people who are into Harry Potter and the LotR movies, and are convinced that these are high art. The are an uncritical sort of fans. Don't get me wrong - I do not look down on these people - the opposite rather - I envy them a little and I am chuffed that fantasy has entered the mainstream a little... The fact that my colleague was a half-muggle alone should have warned me. As should the fact that she said the film could have been great.


It had Jeremy Irons and John Malkovich and Robert Carlyle and a few dishy young actors: a cheekboney elf-girl and a couple of bit parts (one of which should have been more than a bit part if they'd stuck to the story). It also had Alun Armstrong whose performances in New Tricks I enjoy... It had beautiful landscapes. It had a dragon with some insanely cute scenes.

Pity it didn't have a script. Never again shall I scoff at Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh's adaptation of LotR. It is high art in comparison.

The Marquis' comment that sums it up really was: "I'm not drunk enough to watch this movie."

All that said... I enjoyed reading the book, derivative though it was in places (it was also rather 'written by a seventeen year old') - Let's just say I felt very unsophisticated for liking the book. Even so, I might reread it and I'd certainly like to read Eldest now. Maybe I am also turning into a half-muggle. Or a quarter-muggle.

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I quite enjoyed the book, and Eldest as well, though it isn't the most original story. :-) I realised it was actually a long time since I'd read any heroic fantasy (apart from LotR, of course). Unfortunately I think Marcus still has my copy (at least, I can't find it in any of the piles of semi-new books).

Actually, while I'm filling up your journal, I was wondering if you would be interested in Stargate/LotR etc vids as well as the DVDs? I could bring the laptop - which would probably be easier than trying to get them to play on an unfamiliar machine - and show off my shiny new toy (not so hidden secret motive :-D) Still, we've only got a limited time this weekend, so I don't want to take up too much of it with non-essentials.

*breathes sigh of relief at realising that she will not be outcast from lj for admitting to quite enjoying Eragon...*

I think one of my colleagues is going to lend me Eldest.

As for your other question - I emailed about it.

I'd assumed the book would be tosh, but if I see it in the library I might give it a go at some point. The film sounds like one to save until I'm allowed beer again!

Beer won't cut it. This is more of a whisky kind of deal...

Is it as bad as the D&D movie? Mr Viala's comment on that was, "A film without any merit, except that it has an end."

I don't know, not having seen D&D... ;-)

One merit is that you can get a smug sense of satisfaction at seeing one of our more pretentious acTORs making a fool of himself!

Yes, when I pointed at [insert acTOR of repute] and said, "What's he doing in this?", Mr Viala replied, "Getting paid."

Why are there only four* good fantasy films?

Go into a bookshop, and you'll find as many good fantasy novels as SF. Go to the movies, and there are plenty of good SF films, but almost no (in fact four*) good fantasy films.

When I say 'fantasy', I mean with wizards and swords and a quasi-mediaeval setting, so Star Wars doesn't count (even if it has the first two).

* Fellowship of the Ring, Two Towers, Return of the King and of course Excalibur.

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What's not to like? All star cast, bizarrely-accented Merlin, lots of mist and a sex scene in full plate!

Are you suggesting that there are only three good fantasy films?

Actually, I'd forgotten about 'The Thirteenth Warrior'.

"a cheekboney elf-girl"

That'll be Sienna Guillory, someone I've only ever come across in person, never on screen. She was eating in the green room of the Theatre Royal in Plymouth (she was in some play there) once while I was out there to help out with the audit. The audit manager pointed her out to me. This was a few years ago - she looked rather less elfin then.

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