Spoilers for Book and Movie
I was iffy on the book. The beginning left me wanting to drop the book and pick up something more interesting, but once things started happening I wanted to know more. So over all I liked the book enough to be anticipating the movie and desperately wanting to watch it.
However, when they cut out major bits about how Eragon's uncle died, why Roran went away, when Brom got to town, when the egg hatched and the fact that Eragon seemed to know nothing about the kingdom of which he lived... that annoyed me. Oh and lets not forget that Sapphira flew into the sky as a small dragon and turned into a large one in about a minute of Eragon's time! That was just insane. I mean movies always protray the passage of time why not go that route?
Okay so I could have dealt with that... but then Brom and Eragon's flight from the Evil King's men??? From the beginning Brom tells Eragon what they are doing and talks about the Varden. Brom was secretive in the book... teaching Eragon things he needed to know while only telling him he had to keep him safe. Then, of course, the order or events started blending together.
In the book, Eragon uses magic and then meets the fortune teller. But in the movie they reorder it and put it in the same town. Eragon and Brom were supposed to find a ransacked town with Urgals. Eragon saves himself by using magic and then they come to another town (this one could be cut out) before getting to a city where Angela gives a fortune.
They also cut out Solebom (sp?) the Were-cat. The were-cat wasn't a huge importance to the story but he was the reason Angela gave the free fortune. In cat form, Eragon was able to talk with him in his mind which is rare. Solebom took a liking to Eragon and in turn Angela read his fortune... also telling him something about a woman with the same name as his mother.
It was after this that Brom died and Murtaugh came to his rescue. Murtaugh and Eragon buried Brom and Arya wasn't even there. Also, Eragon had been dreaming about Arya in a cell, not walking in a forest, not sending the stone/egg to the Spine. He just saw her in pain.
When Eragon finally goes after Arya, he finds her unconcious and carries her out while Murtaugh fights off Durza and his men. In the book, Murtaugh shoots Durza in the head and then Sapphira comes through the roof and takes them away. But in the movie, they reorder this to concide with Brom's death. Arya is also fully awake and helping with Brom.
In the book, Eragon tries to connect his mind with Arya's and she attacks him and then tells him she has been poisoned. She is in a self-induced coma to keep herself alive for as long as possible. She shows Eragon how to get to the Varden and Sapphira carries her the entire way. Now, in the movie some of this was protrayed like Sapphira carrying Arya but the coma was tossed aside.
Also, Eragon needs more information about where the Varden are and Murtaugh is the one to provide it in the book. Murtaugh also tells him that he won't go to the Varden. He'll help Eragon but he can't go to the Varden. Murtaugh and Eragon then flee towards the desert, cross it, and head through huge mountains Sapphira can't fly over to find the entrance to the Vardan's secret hideout. In the movie, they just end up there with Urgals on their tale that will bring about a battle between the Evil King and the Varden.
In the book, Eragon and Murtaugh have no choice but to go into the Varden lair where their minds are to be searched to make sure they are allies. Murtaugh refuses and then they discover who he is and lock him up. Eragon and Sapphira have several days after arriving to rest, train, and grow accustom to the Varden while Arya heals.
Eragon also finds out during this time that Solebom and Sapphira became friends at the Varden's hideout and Solebom leads Eragon to Angela who warns him about the Twins. The Twins were cut out of the movie which is wrong because in the book they seem bad even though they work for the Varden. Angela helps Eragon stand up to the Twins and fights in the battle.
Murtaugh is let out to fight when the Urgal's come because they need the hands and he is told he will be killed if he betrays them. In the movie, Murtaugh frees himself.
Also in the movie there is a great battle between Durza and Eragon, while Eragon rides Sapphira and Durza rides a dark magic beast. Something of the kind does happen in the book but in the end Eragon and Durza are in the halls of the Varden, Sapphira is in the Dragon Keep and Durza is just about to kill Eragon when Sapphira flies down with Arya on her back destracting Durza long enough for Eragon to pierce him through the heart!
Why change the dramatics of the book? The battle in the book was awesome and completely managable from a movie perspective.
Something else that bothered me is that when Sapphira first talked to Eragon. First off, she didn't until Eragon figured out they could, though I could see changing that. But in the beginning, Eragon put out names for his dragon to chose from. Eragon gave all boys names because he had no idea she was a she. When he figures it out he says Sapphira and she leaps on the name... wanting it as her own. We are also told later by Brom that his dragon was also named Sapphira. All of this was snipped out of the movie along with the fact that the first Rider was named Eragon! These things are important!
I can't say I hate the movie. It was entertaining and I adored seeing Sapphira as a baby dragon. I also adored the part where Eragon tries to feed her milk as she goes after a rat. "So much for our rat problem." This was enjoyable. The movie was enjoyable but it was so far from the book that fans of the series are likely to reject the movie. I wonder how much say Christopher has in the movie making... by the looks of it... none.
In the end, the movie only seemed like a really big trailer for the next movie... setting up everything neatly to introduce the Evil King's dragon. Sad because if they had changed less it could have been spectacular.