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Review: Eragon (2006)

Eragon (2006)

Directed by: Stefen Fangmeier

Premise: A fantasy film in which a farm boy (Ed Speleers) starts on a journey to become a Dragon Rider while he is pursued by the armies of an evil king (John Malkovich).

What Works: Eragon has some interesting villains. Malkovich’s turn as King Galbatorix is a great deal of fun to watch, as is his henchman Durza (Robert Carlyle), who looks like he belongs as the front man of a black metal band.

What Doesn’t: Eragon is very clumsy in its storytelling. The exposition in told very ineffectively, relying on narration rather than visuals, and this leaves a lot of the texture of the world unexplored. The editing is noticeably sloppy both within scenes and between them. The story jerks the audience from one end of the fantasyland to another with little sense of purpose. Where the protagonists of The Lord of the Rings had a clear end goal in mind that sustained the story, Eragon meanders along from one sequence to the next with little progression in character or conflict. Most of the supporting characters in the film are cardboard cut outs of characters from other sword and sorcery films and they are all flat and undeveloped. Brom (Jeremy Irons), Eragon’s mentor, does not have much to do. He is eliminated from the story too quickly and without any sense of cost or weight to Eragon’s journey. The weakest element of Eragon, however, is the relationship between the title character and Saphira (voice of Rachel Weisz), his dragon. While the story sets up some interesting dilemmas, Eragon is simply not that interesting to watch because he goes through little character change and with no apparent cost. As a character, Saphira probably worked better on the page, but translated to film, a mind reading dragon comes off very silly. Together, the two are a bland combination.

Bottom Line: Eragon is a mediocre fantasy film. The picture rehashes a lot of characters and scenarios that were done better in Star Wars, the Harry Potter films, Dragonheart, and Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings.

Episode: #123 (December, 24, 2006)