Review - Eragon


Edward Speelers in Eragon

It's a big blue egg: Ed Speelers in Eragon

 

 

Here be dragons. Dungeons and Dragons, to be more specific. Because that’s what this British Lord of the Rings knock-off most resembles. The 2000 film also heavily featured Jeremy Irons, who moved heaven and earth to save it but could not ultimately fight the sheer dead weight of the script and its deadly fantasy game holdovers. Something similar is going on here, with Irons once again mustering all his considerable charisma to try and float a sodden barque, a tale of a fine-limbed young farm lad (Edward Speelers) who has somehow sprung noble from the poor lumpen volk, his nice-boy accent setting him off against the ooh-aarghs of fellow proles and a token of his specialness. He finds a dragon’s egg – for what is “Eragon” if not “dragon” with a typo? – a discovery that sets him off on a journey. For he has been chosen to save his land etc and rid it of evil etc etc. Every Skywalkerish figure needs his Ben Kenobi. Enter Irons, working like a man might to save a drowning child. Enter also Rachel Weisz as the voice of the dragon (cajoling, caring, a tough-love mother). And enter John Malkovich in a have-cape-will-swish turn that’s also worth five of your minutes.

Based on the trilogy (yes, there are more – shudder) of fantasy novels by Christopher Paolini, Eragon feels like what it is – the regurgitated fantasy reading of a lively 15-year-old (which Paolini was when he started on the series) brought to life by a mercenary production that’s determined to cut any corner, and directed by a visual effects man (Stefen Fangmeier – a not inappropriate name) who seems better versed in the looks of TV than the big-budget movie. The singer Joss Stone turns up as a fortune teller, briefly. Not because she brings anything to the role, but because she brings another demographic to the film. And having done her job, she is dispensed with. If art is all about hiding the artifice, Eragon has a long and mythic quest in front of it. Not only can you see the actors acting and hear the script changing gears, you can see the marketing levers being pulled – and that’s really bad. But ultimately it’s the gulf between the film’s ambitions and its execution, its unwillingness to cut its jerkin according to its cloth that marks Eragon out as a dud. You can make a sword-and-sorcery film for nothing, but not like this one has been made. And with that, incanting up his wizard’s sleeve, your humble reviewer was gone.

 

 

Eragon – Buy it/watch it at Amazon

 

 

© Steve Morrissey 2006

 

 

 

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Eragon
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imdb poster Eragon
Eragon
Run time: 104 min
Rating: 5.1
Genres: Action | Adventure | Family
Director: Stefen Fangmeier
Writers: Peter Buchman, Christopher Paolini
Stars: Ed Speleers, Sienna Guillory, Jeremy Irons
Trivia: In his homeland of Alagaesia, a farm boy happens upon a dragon’s egg — a discovery that leads him on a predestined journey where he realized he’s the one person who can defend his home against an evil king.
Storyline The Kingdom of Alagaesia is ruled by the evil King Galbatorix, a former dragon rider that betrayed his mates and his people in his quest for power. When the orphan farm boy Eragon finds a blue stone sent by Princess Arya, he sooner realizes that it is a dragon egg. When the dragon Saphira is born, Eragon meets his mentor Brom, and becomes the dragon rider foreseen in an ancient prophecy that would set his people free from the tyrant Galbatorix. Eragon meets the rebels Varden and together they fight against the evil sorcerer Durza and the army of Galbatorix in a journey for freedom. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Plot Keywords: dragon, dragon rider, king, kingdom, egg
Box Office Budget: $100,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend: £1,317,687 (UK) (15 December 2006)
Gross: $75,030,163 (USA) (6 April 2007)