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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
PG
Cast
Jeremy Irons
John Malkovich
Ed Speleers
Djimon Hounsou.
Directors
Stefen Fangmeier.
Screenwriters
Christopher Paolini
Peter Buchman
Lawrence Konner
Mark Rosenthal.
Running Time
104 minutes

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Eragon
Jeremy Irons and dragons, this may not go well...


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Plot
Young farmer Eragon (Speleers) finds a dragon’s egg, and teams up with the newborn dragon, Saphira (Weisz), a former Dragon Rider (Irons) and a hot female Elf (Guillory) to tackle an evil king (Malkovich).


Review
Eragon
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The next time a dragon movie script lands in Jeremy Irons’ lap, he should throw the goddamn thing out the window because, after this lifeless monster and the risible Dungeons & Dragons, it’s clear that winged beasts and he don’t mix. And yet he’s still the best thing in Eragon, which may have something to do with having the good sense to check out early.
 
If you think that’s a spoiler, it really isn’t, because Eragon is a derivative and damp re-spin of all those old fantasy epics that owe a debt to Joseph Campbell’s The Hero Of A Thousand Faces. It often feels like a cheap Vegas Star Wars tribute act, albeit with a dragon playing the Millennium Falcon. Want a wet-blanket blond farmboy hero? You got it. Hell, he even has a disposable uncle and a sunset to mope at. How about a wise old wizard who sets our hero on the path to power before pegging it? Yep, that’s here too. A feisty princess who gets imprisoned early on and has to be rescued? Take a wild guess.
 
It’s easy to lay all the blame at the door of Christopher Paolini, who wrote the source novel when he was 15 — and it shows. But it’s director Stefen Fangmeier who’s the real culprit. A former ILM FX supervisor, his first directing job betrays his origins, as he shows more interest in the CG dragon, Saphira (a passable, but not photo-real achievement) than he does in conjuring a fresh take on fantasy. This is the sort of movie where you know the villain (John Malkovich) is evil because he broods on his throne in a dark, cavernous room. Plot holes abound, and it’s moribund visually; if it weren’t for the number of sweeping shots of blokes barrelling along on horseback, the movie would be 18 minutes long.
 
As for Fangmeier’s treatment of his non-CG actors, they’re hung out to dry with type-this-shit-but-you-can’t-say-it dialogue like, “Taste the blood of your dragon!” Malkovich became a parody of himself long ago, but it’s hard not to feel a shiver of pity for Robert Carlyle, who seems to be fighting the urge to sack his agent through every soul-crushing scene. As for Edward Speleers, the Brit newcomer in the title role, he’s game enough, but sadly also pretty gormless, his blank stare multi-tasking furiously as it brings us barely discernible variations on happy, sad and heroic.
 
Ultimately, with a human hero it’s impossible to invest in and a CG dragon that doesn’t invite awe (it doesn’t help that Rachel Weisz phones in her turn as Saphira’s voice), Eragon just doesn’t catch fire. Kids may love it, and it may do big business, but let’s hope not, because that may be the only thing that can stop the sequel from spreading a dark and terrible shadow over this once proud and prosperous land.


Verdict
Technically competent, but essentially a fantasy movie that mistakes industrial light for magic. As dragon movies go, Dragonslayer, Reign Of Fire and even Dragonheart can rest easy.


Reviewed by Chris Hewitt

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Eragon
Empire Star Rating

RE: Trite and tired

I did go to the flicks to see this, and did not expect anything more than a decently enjoyable movie.  I personally like some of the crappier fantasy fare, the idle escapism and all that.  Dragon films are usually the better ones.  (Dragonheart is actually one of the better fantasy films of the '90's - so why that dig at it there?) What I got from Eragon was exactly what I expected, it was entertaining, and thoroughly enjoyable every moment Jeremy Irons was on screen.  ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dracovir at 11:30, 07 January 2008 | Report This Post


RE:

I read the book when i was 13 and it will always hold a place in my heart. I was disappointed (though i am always disappointed by book to screen translations) by the film but i hope that it will gain a cult  following in a few years to come. ... More

Posted by dr_finklestein at 22:55, 05 March 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Great film

Were you watching the same film is I did? I judged this film both according to the book, which I have read, and the standard which Peter Jackson has established with the LOTR and King Kong (Kong seems so small next to Rings). Eragon was a filmaking disaster and a terrible esxperience. Please someone stop Eldest from being turned into a movie. Murdering one book is bad enough! RLHaylor ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by DrachirFilm at 22:59, 22 January 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Empire has never been more wrong. Ever.

L: Anglachel ke LOTR movies, a disaster for people who have read the books. I wonder Why people bash this movie, but adore the disaster PJ did LOTR. XDDD. #990000] ote] Im a massive LOTR nerd and although the movies will never be as good as the books, they are in no way a disaster. ... More

Posted by TheManWithNoShame at 23:27, 09 January 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Empire has never been more wrong. Ever.

There is no way that Eragon was that bad. Glad I didn't check the review before seeing it.   It's a decent story, got a convincing and menacing villain and leads on nicely to presumably parts 2 and 3. The obvious complaint is the sometimes horrifically cringeworthy dialogue with Eragon and the dragon, which, granted, is at points almost embarrassing. That aside though, good stuff in general - a decent way to spend around 2 hours.   7/10. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Paul2j at 22:53, 09 January 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Empire has never been more wrong. Ever.

ke LOTR movies, a disaster for people who have read the books. I wonder Why people bash this movie, but adore the disaster PJ did LOTR. XDDD. I haven´t read the book , that´s why I can say the movie is not that bad. I have seen worst movies based on books and everybody loves them, and wins awards and all that. So, this is not an excuse. Eragorn, I love the female dragon and the final battle with Robert Carlyle. I guess some peope had problem with the female dragon, I wonder... More

Posted by Anglachel at 00:09, 09 January 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Great film

o see this film for free and imo it was still a rip off. The effects were mediocre, the acting (especially from ed speelers and the elf woman) was fucking awful, the main cast comprised of well-past-their-prime actors combined with people who should never have become actors, the script could have been written by monkeys at typewriters (and they didn't produce shakespeare), the story was incoherent and the whole thing looked and felt incredibly cheap. On the plus side, the ba... More

Posted by Alice Ayres at 13:39, 04 January 2007 | Report This Post


RE: This movie is worth seeing just for John Malkovich

Sorry, forgot to rate it. 2 stars ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Winspurd at 20:03, 28 December 2006 | Report This Post


RE: This movie is worth seeing just for John Malkovich

Just come back in from seeing Eragon and unfortunately was disappointed.  Alot of this came from having read the book first.  While I understand the constraints imposed by a book to film translations, and the loss of detail this inevitably involves, there were changes to the structure which hamstrung the film.  The rapid, in the space of a cloud, growth of Saphira meant that the time that Eragon spends developing a relationship with her in the book is lost.  Even if this was... More

Posted by Winspurd at 20:02, 28 December 2006 | Report This Post


RE: This movie is worth seeing just for John Malkovich

Ok, I'll admit. This was no way in the same league as LOTR. But come on, 1 star !!! Half the people on this site are making comments and reviews without even seeing it. Whats the point in that! I took my 12 yr old son and his friend to see it and they both loved it. I myself 34, thought it was good fun. The final cut has been a bit savage. Obviously a longer cut will be coming on DVD. But all in all its not that bad. Worth more than 1 star!! ... More

Posted by sjc310173 at 13:11, 27 December 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Eragon

OK...not great but not 1 star! Cme on Chris ur review was way too harsh! I might actually go out on a limb and say that i enjoyed eragon! roll on the sequel! Seen better...but ive definatley seen worse! I havent read the book but i have never read the Harry Potter books and HATE (Passionatley) the films! God just thinking about them makes me snor! Give Eragon a chance ppl! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by chaskins_2004 at 13:42, 24 December 2006 | Report This Post


Eragon

L: a_new_power I think I'm blind my eyes won't open, all the colours of the world seem to have disappeared and a hideous site seems to linger in me, a dragon… and a boy, who have such evil words of cringe-ness, with a wizard type thing guy, and a josh stone lady trying to tell the future (best acting in it by the way) no really it was. All the ranting aside, this was an awfully awful movie. It's so bad, that it makes van helsing seem well thought out. I mean why do these people do it... More

Posted by sanchia at 12:54, 23 December 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Idiocy of Reviewer

I think I'm blind my eyes won't open, all the colours of the world seem to have disappeared and a hideous site seems to linger in me, a dragon… and a boy, who have such evil words of cringe-ness, with a wizard type thing guy, and a josh stone lady trying to tell the future (best acting in it by the way) no really it was. All the ranting aside, this was an awfully awful movie. It's so bad, that it makes van helsing seem well thought out. I mean why do these people do it to us, and why do w... More

Posted by a_new_power at 18:21, 21 December 2006 | Report This Post


RE: THE BALANCED REVIEW

eally looking forward to seeing this film but all of a sudden the reviews have not been so good.   Anyone seen it and let me know what you think.   Sorry I got lost in the system and just not get back onto the forum but all seems to be well now.phew.........ave tried so many times  -  well persistance sometimens ... More

Posted by Anne Hedley at 23:16, 18 December 2006 | Report This Post


RE: My word...

]Powder Blue Dragon? Not sure that works entirely... ]  ]Actually didn't mind this at all. Relatively easy to watch & good to see John Malkovich in a role with a bit of menace again. Easy on the eye & the brain, I've certainly spent worse time at the cinema this year. Much worse... ... More

Posted by felix sore foot at 22:32, 18 December 2006 | Report This Post


RE: My word...

L: kumar Blimey, i didnt expect it to be this crap! im not watching it then! i thought it would get 3 stars and match x3 in terms of quality, but it takest he biscuit! 1 star, what a joke! umar! You must be the first person to use the term X3 and quality in the same sentence! ... More

Posted by damn im good! at 16:24, 18 December 2006 | Report This Post


RE: My word...

Blimey, i didnt expect it to be this crap! im not watching it then! i thought it would get 3 stars and match x3 in terms of quality, but it takest he biscuit!   1 star, what a joke! ... More

Posted by kumar at 16:11, 18 December 2006 | Report This Post


RE: My word...

on a plane was funny because its flaws, and crappy bad guys, steriotypical bad guy etc. but that was really all meant. Eragon actually went and made a funnier film while trying to make an epic. Dont think i laughed as much during this as i did in Borat. (you get me now? :) p; Snakes on a plane didn't take itself seriously which is why I loved the film. I think i'm following you now ... More

Posted by Joedini at 21:24, 17 December 2006 | Report This Post


RE: THE BALANCED REVIEW

L: joemanji Good point. Given the fact that Eragon rips off the plot of Star Wars, and that /b] has a stll things SW related, I'm surprised they didn't give /i] 4 stars. hting03.gif]ote]   Spumkfest - never heard that one before! p; ... More

Posted by KnightofZyryab at 18:33, 17 December 2006 | Report This Post


RE: THE BALANCED REVIEW

Good point. Given the fact that Eragon rips off the plot of Star Wars, and that /b] has a spunkfest over all things SW related, I'm surprised they didn't give /i] 4 stars. hting03.gif] ... More

Posted by joemanji at 13:40, 17 December 2006 | Report This Post


RE: THE BALANCED REVIEW

L: Chris Hewitt As positive as you are that it received five stars, Norton, I am even more positive that it received four. In fact, I am the positivest.  review Attack Of The Clones with 5 stars... ... More

Posted by Carlito Brigante at 13:06, 17 December 2006 | Report This Post


RE: The Balanced Review

L: Sleepy It was given 4/5 if I remember correctly - mainly for the battle scenes I think. Actually, it was the wonderful chemistry between Affleck and Beckinsale that won them over.  As for the Eragon review, well done. It's always a pleasure to read an out-and-out bashing of a film that truly deserves it. The Irons/Dungeons and Dragons angle was a bit too obvious though. ... More

Posted by Jasper at 11:50, 17 December 2006 | Report This Post


RE: waste of money

Maybe your 'wise' friend could show you where the 'Shift' button is. ... More

Posted by LydiaPPhillips at 01:10, 17 December 2006 | Report This Post


RE: What a pile of dragon poo.

lm has the same effect as snakes on a plane, the only difference being that soap meant to be rubbish p; Huh? ... More

Posted by Joedini at 11:39, 16 December 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Good

I watched it this afternoon and was pleasantly surprised that it was better than I had expected.  There were some harsh edits, some cringy CGI, although Sapphira up close was pretty good. Being a fan of the book, I was disheartened at how much had been left out.  As for the casting, Malkovitch was completely over the top, Joss Stone was just wrong and Ed Speelers was much better than anticipated.  His plummy English accent felt out of place a few times, but I thought he portrayed... More

Posted by Pinkvelvet at 23:54, 15 December 2006 | Report This Post


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