Being a fan of dragons and in the middle of writing a story about one, I was very excited when I first saw the trailer for Eragon. When I my dad took me to the cinema a few weeks ago I had mixed feelings because of the very poor reviews it got. Neither of us had read the book, but we came out of the cinema smiling. It was fun, entertaining and was well worth it.
For those of you who have not seen the film or read the book, the story itself is Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope but retold as a fantasy adventure rather than sci-fi. It's about a 17 year old boy called Eragon who finds a polished stone in the nearby forest. After desperate attempts to sell it he finds out that the stone is really an egg when he sees a young dragon hatch from it. Eragon eventually finds out that he is one of the legendary dragon riders after meeting Brom, who used to be a dragon rider himself. Eragon learns that he will have to move on and become a dragon rider and to stop the evil King Galbatorix from ruling the land.
However, it is not the classic that it should have been which is the shame as the film has a lot of potential. The reason it is not a classic is because of one thing: the screenplay. Absolute rubbish!
The dialogue is indeed poor, with lines like "there is nothing left for you to fear, my king" and "this royalty will be punishable by death". The acting is a mixture of good and bad. The best performer in the film has to be Rachel Weisz as the voice of Saphira but she's only a voice over. The best 'acting' performance IMO is Jeremy Irons as Brom, although Ed Speleers wasn't too bad as Eragon, considering that it is the first time he has ever acted in anything. However, the worst actor in the movie has to be John Malkovich as King Galbatorix. His performance was very poor in this movie. The pace of the film is also a bit too fast in places. I also hear that most of the book is missing from the film, but let's be positive about that. Scenes from the book will always be axed when it is adapted into a film.
However, there are some really great things about this film. For one thing, this film WILL leave you breathless! The special effects, created by the legendary studio Industrial Light and Magic, are the greatest effects I have ever seen in a long time. Although still not quite Jurassic Park standard, the CGI is VERY convincing. As for Saphira... she is GORGEOUS! She is without a doubt the best looking dragon I have ever seen in a film! I almost wanted to jump into the screen and ride on her! Of course that is not possible, but the dragon flight scenes made up for it. Whenever Saphira flew, she flew so fast that my stomach began to churn! If you have seen the trailers do not be put off by the fact that she has feathers for wings, as she still looks and acts like a dragon in the actual film. It is worth seeing the movie just to see her.
But it's not just the special effects that make up for the poor screenplay. There's also some very good set design here, and the soundtrack really fits in with the action.
Overall it is not a classic, but is not worth the poor reviews it is getting. I found it gripping, exciting and stimulating right through to the end. The screenplay sucks (hence the 4 star rating) but in the end the film entertains you, which is what you want a film to do and the reason why you watch films in the first place.
IMO this is the best dragon film ever made, and far better than Dragonheart (which is a terrible film). I recommended this to anyone who is a dragon fanatic like me!
Special effects: 10/10
Entertainment value: 8/10