Reviewed by: Susan Quirk
Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Year of Release:
December 15, 2006 (wide)
“You are stronger than you realize. Wiser than you know. What was once your life is now your legend.”
A boy might get a little bored growing up in a small farm village, but when a giant blue dragon wants to be your best friend, things change in a hurry. Eragon (Edward Speelers) is a seventeen year old boy with his life pretty well mapped out, plowing potatoes during harvest time being the highlight of the year. Fate has another plan when he discovers he is the “chosen” heir of the dying legacy of dragon riders who have been all but eliminated by the former dragon rider and present dictator, Galbatorix (John Malkovich).
When Eragon’s stepfather is murdered and his home destroyed by Galbatorix’ evil henchmen, the creepy crawly ra’zac, Eragon flees for his life with his mentor, Brom (Jeremy Irons). Eragon and Brom make haste to join alliance with the Varden, an army of lone holdouts, to fight against Galbatorix’ evil empire who live in a hidden city carved out of an enormous hole in a mountain. Along the way, Eragon, gets in tune with his dragon, Saphira, learns ancient magic, rescues Ayra.
The film, based on the bestselling book written by fifteen year old Christopher Paolini, sticks pretty much to the plot, which looks a little too much like “Star Wars” in a “Lord of the Rings” setting. As in the book, the film likewise divulges about as much character development as a fifteen year old boy would be interested in, and which probably isn’t enough for the average viewer.
The book definitely delves into a world of magical forces, blurring the line of good and evil magic. Although the evil minions of Galbatorix are credited with being processed by demons, a fortuneteller using enchanted dragon claws to tell Eragon’s future is accomplished with an ambiguous motive. It is unclear if her use of magic is for good or evil. Does this mean that the magic Eragon possesses and the magic employed by the evil foes emanates from the same source? This is very troubling from the Christian point of view, and as the target audience of “Eragon” is children, parents need to be wary of numerous displays of magic, potions, and spells being cast.
The movie was violent with plenty of scary creatures that would terrify younger children, but would not phase older teens. There was no profanity or sexuality.
Positive elements include Eragon’s mindful heeding of his “higher” calling which comes at great sacrifice. Brom acts heroically on several occasions and Arya is a strong female role model, displaying perseverance and aura of nobility in her service for good.
Although the special effects in Eragon were wonderful, the movie remained flat in its delivery. The screenplay and dialogue were weak, and the costuming and makeup haphazard and inconsistent, failing to establish the era or atmosphere properly. Attending me to this screening was my fourteen year old son who was aghast and offended by Eragon’s armor for battle which was adorned with something akin to sequins, instead of leather and chain mail. Boys take these issues seriously, and I too was surprised by what seemed a careless oversight in the battle armor research department!
“It is better to ask forgiveness than permission” was the inside joke between Eragon and Brom as they bonded in the goal to defeat the oppression of evil. “Eragon” may need to ask the audiences’ forgiveness after viewing this awkward and unsatisfying film.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None