Director Stefen Fangmeier’s stylistic adaptation of novelist Christopher Paolini’s tale of Eragon, the tale of a young farmer boy who discovers he is destined for greatness as a Dragon Rider is a refreshing look at the bond humankind has with the dragon realm. At the start of our tale, Eragon discovers what appears to be a blue stone in the forest during a hunt mysteriously transported by a young maiden.

Young Eragon contemplates that this find will bring untold prosperity to his family. However, unbeknownst to him this blue stone is actually a dragon egg in need of its rider. When it hatches, Eragon is thrust forth into a world he could only dream of. He carries the mark of a Dragon Rider, the legendary knights of the sky who rode astride their winged counterparts.

The time of the Dragon Rider has long since been forgotten until when one of their own in a quest for ultimate power, laid to waste his comrades and their dragons to eventually rise to power as king. Meet our antagonist- Galbatorix played by John Malkovich, whose trenchant demeanor fits well in the dismal surroundings of his throne room coated in shades of crimson. Along with his demonic henchman/sorceror Durza played by Robert Carlyle, (who really does a splendid job in scaring the pants off us), both servant and master will stop at nothing to keep the Varden from having hope that Eragon will become the harbinger for change and salvation.

Reminiscent of both “Lord of the Rings” and “Star Wars”, the antediluvian struggle of good and evil is revealed to us at the very start of our journey as well as the major players. Where the struggle commences is a land is called, Alagaesia and under the tutelage of a plucky, former Rider named, Brom (played by Jeremy Irons), Eragon quickly learns the ways and the latent powers a Dragon Rider can wield when becoming one with his Dragon, Saphira (voiced by Rachel Weisz).

Saphira starts out as a cute, inquisitive dragon and we witness the bond established between them. However, within a matter of minutes, the dragon is now almost an adult and can fly (can’t breathe fire yet…still a kid by dragon standards). What is interesting is the bond the rider has with its dragon. Once bonded as one in a mythical symbiotic relationship, the rider can see as the dragon sees, feel what it feels (and vice versa) and communicate by mental telepathy (I hate talking Dragons).

The plot here is simple, Eragon is the sole hope for his homeland against the vile and maniacal Galbatorix. Eragon must reach a band of rebels comprised of several races including both Human and Elf called, The Varden. Being that Eragon’s life is above all else more important than anyone else’s, Brom lectures Eragon concerning being wise and not making brash decisions (when he ventures out boldly to rescue the young maiden, Arya who was the very person who delivered the dragon egg to him via magical means).

Along the way, Eragon is trailed by a mysterious character who seeks revenge against the king’s men who killed his family (much like Eragon’s uncle Garrow who met a quick demise within minutes). Not enough backstory to make us care when he is eventually imprisoned, but nevertheless we follow along anyway with the twists and turns. The nature of the novel is vast and the test of transferring it to the big screen is to utilize plot moving events while condensing the Eragon
universe. What appears on screen is a mixture of both bland action and bland performances.

Unfortunately, the film seems so rushed that before we take hold into understanding why this occurred or a subtle endearing nuance within the story, its too late and we are off in another direction. What does seem to capture the attention is Saphira and her aerials which take the viewer on back of the dragon and you feel as if you are truly a rider.

The best moments in the film are toward the end but once again as we try to grow with the characters within the story, by the time we’ve vested interest by dentifying with them…the film is over and hints to sequel.
Rating: B


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Tobe R. Roberts

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