on 29 March 2008
Having read the books beforehand, and really liking them, I advise that you do not watch this film - it will destroy the books.
The story moves too fast and overall the whole experience of the film was pretty mediocre. The acting wasn't bad, the Eragon actor carried off the character from the book pretty well but certain scenes (for example Saphira growing up, the relationship between Brom and Eragon) were dealt with in a few minutes, depicting many, many pages in the books and so after reading the books the entire film seems very rushed.
The open ending made it possible for a sequel - of which I very much doubt will happen as the majority of people who watched 'Eragon' did so on the basis of hearing good reviews/reading the books.
From Lord of the Rings' adaptation into a very succesful film series, we all do know that decent book to film adaptations can be made - but Eragon is really not a good example of that. At all.
On a good note, younger audiences do and will enjoy the film (I have proof) and it is for this reason that i ahve rated the film a 2 star intead of a 1 star rating.
My advice, Read the books, Enjoy the books and send the film to a young child, or a unwitting stranger.
"Eragon" wants to be "Lord of the Rings." It really, really wants to be. In a pinch, it'll settle for "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe" with a dash of Harry Potter.
But those hoping for a spectacular PG-rated epic shouldn't hold their breaths, because the adaptation of Christopher Paolini's bestseller is a massive bellyflop. The direction is stilted and plodding, the acting is on par with tree stumps, and the whole thing is uninspired -- it never moves beyond "quick cash-in."
A young woman is being chased through the woods by a band of evil soldiers, trying to recapture a bright blue stone she stole from evil King Galbatorix (John Malkovich), but she magics it away. It's found in the woods by a young farm boy, Eragon (Edward Speleers), who unsuccessfully tries to trade it for food. But the stone turns out to be a dragon's egg.
When his home and uncle are destroyed, Eragon escapes with his now-grown dragon Saphira (Rachael Weisz) and a mysterious stranger named Brom (Jeremy Irons), who knows a lot about the Dragon Riders. Now Eragon and Saphira may be the only hope for the land, not to mention the captive elf princess he's dreaming about, and whom he has to rescue from the evil king.
Dragons, damsels in distress, magic spells, an evil king and his evil wizard, and a Young Hero in the Luke Skywalker mold... well, "Eragon" had a lot of obstacles in front of it from the start. It sounds like the love child of "Star Wars" and "Lord of the Rings"... except it's infinitely more clumsy than either of those movies.
And the director doesn't help -- Stefan Fangmeier is horribly crude and clumsy in his directing, with a style that manages to be both stilted and choppy. The scripting is even worse. Expect the most pompous, cliched fantasyspeak imaginable ("It is your fate to be a Dragon Rider. The Varden need a Rider if they are to defeat Durza and the king." "I didn't ask for any of this!" "But you were chosen, nevertheless!"). In fact, it's harder to find good dialogue than bad ("I suffer without my stone. Do not prolong my suffering!").
It's not surprising, since Fangmeier has never even directed a short film before. His only prior movie work has been for visual effects, which might explain why the CGI for Saphira the dragon is so beautifully detailed and fluid. Wonderful work there. But not enough to make you forget the rest of the movie.
Speleers looks like a deer in the headlights, while Sienna Guillory has all the elegance and magic of hobbit feet, and Malkovich is given the most 2-D villain role of the 21st century. The supporting actors give the only solid performances, miscast as they are -- Weisz gives a wonderfully nuanced performance, while Irons is solid as the mentor figure.
"Eragon" has the occasional good performance or moment of excellence -- usually from Weisz as Saphira. But the rest of the time, it's an amateurish example of how NOT to make a fantasy movie.
on 27 January 2008
I bought this DVD in spite of the reviews and actually I like it! I've watched it many times and still like it. If you want to spend some time in a world of Dragons and their riders then buy it and make your own mind up. Maybe this film has been compared with the likes of the Lord of the Rings unfairly as I definately would NOT show any of those films to my young kids, but I would be able to let them watch this one without worry of them having nightmares. Watch it and make you own mind up...
on 11 January 2007
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
on 18 September 2013
I'll be completely honest here, when I bought the DVD, I was (and still am) a major fan of the books, to the extent that they are my favorite fantasy novels to date. But the film is a complete let down to anyone who remotely likes the books.
I must admit that the casting held great promise: Jeremy Irons as Brom was a good choice; he filled the role very well and remains how I picture the grim former-rider. Throw in the special effects and the animations for Saphira, then the film did have some good features. But unfortunately, that is where they end for me.
The character development was severely lacking. Paolini went to great lengths to make sure his characters were believable; their drives, motivations and passions all covered. Yet how exactly has anyone changed by the end of the film? Eragon still remains (in my opinion) an boyish wanna-be action hero, instead of transforming from a farm boy that keeps asking questions, to a self assured young man with a heavy destiny. Needless to say that the other characters are also found lacking, and their personalities greatly differ from the entrapping nature of Paolini's world.
Speaking of characters, they simply cannot make a sequel because that would require needing characters and races that the film simply ignored. The dwarves: major players in Eragon's life, and the Battle of Fathern Dur,get only a passing mention by Galbatorix, (who only appears in the last book, adding to the sense of mystery around him), and are no way mentioned or named when Eragon arrives at Fathern Dur. Even Orik- foster brother to Eragon, and later the KING OF THE DWARVES- is not mentioned. Nor are other major plot players, such as Solembum, Katrina, Joed, Hrothgar, The Cripple Who is Whole to name but a few. Without these people, the world is simply a much darker place.
The plot seemed to focus too much on Brom forcing Eragon to join the Varden, and a completely made up romance where Arya seems to be pursuing Eragon and not the other way around. Not only is this a complete contradiction of everything Paolini established about the world, characters and future plot development of the story, but it takes the attention away from what matters- a boy and the deep connection with his soul-bound dragon. Saphira and Eragon only speak to each other deeply very breifly, and even then, Eragon is named as the predominant player in their relationship, and not the equal standing that makes their story so amazing to read.
At the end of the day, don't get this is you have any like for the books. You will only find yourself shouting at frustration at the many flaws and holes of the film of an amazing book. Read the book for a much better experience and understanding of Paolini's breathtaking Alegasia. But, if its simply a film of fantasy you are after, you could well do worse, but the experience is much thinner than that which it could be.
Hoping for a remake soon. It does a massive injustice to an amazing story.
on 22 June 2011
So with the fourth and final book in the Inheritance Series nearly upon us, I think it's obvious that the film is shocking compared to the books, but still if you are a fan of Christopher Paolini's work like I am, the film is regardless amongst your favourites albeit purely on sentimental value.
I had hoped after all of the mental imagery used in the books, that the director and screen play in general could mirror some of this and we would finally see some of the fantastic sights for real, but it was not to be. Most of it was rushed, cut down, or even cut from the film entirely. The film has so much potential, and it doesn't surprise me that there won't be a film of Eldest, the sequel, because the same director would ruin that as well.
It must be said, however, that whilst there are many many negatives to this film, the special effects are brilliant. Saphira the dragon, voiced by Rachel Weisz, was visually impeccable and if we didn't think dragons were legends of myth, she could have been real with the realistic movements of her body when in flight. Jeremy Irons as Brom was very good too, although I think he could have been helped out with a better script to relate to the book character, but John Malkovic disappointed me as the evil king Galbatorix. Again, he is a fantastic actor but was let down with his script and scenes, and therefore failed to make an impression. I really don't think Ed Speleers was ready for a role of this magnitude either for his first acting role, obviously when the character in the book is only 16 it's hard to find an actor of around that age with any kind of experience, but he really wasn't suited.
I hope to god that another film company and director sees the potential in the Inheritance Series to make them into successful films, because they could be exceptional with the right casting, scripting and screenplay, and could easily match the LotR and Harry Potter films for popularity, especially given the enormous size of the Eragon fanbase. If not, then its a massive waste!
on 16 May 2008
shame the sequel will not happen. watched this with my 7 year old and loved it. good effects, good baddies. great wee film.
Based on the first novel in Christopher Paolini's popular INHERITANCE trilogy, ERAGON is a fantastical adventure in a vein similar to that of the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy and THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA. A classic story of a quest driven by destiny and set in a land where elves, magicians, and humans live side by side, the battle between good and evil, innocence and cynicism, is taken up once again. John Malkovitch camps it up as the evil King Galbatorix, a former guardian of peace who long ago went over to the dark side. He now rules over a land from which dragons have all but disappeared, until humble farm boy Eragon (newcomer Edward Speelers) happens upon a mysterious blue object that turns out to be a dragon egg. Eragon befriends the charming dragon cub, Saphira (voiced with aplomb by Rachel Weisz), and becomes her rider, designating him as the principal warrior in the fight against evil. Jeremy Irons steals the show as the wise and mysterious old man who becomes Eragon's mentor, guiding him through the tasks of saving a princess (Sienna Guillory) battling an evil sorcerer (Robert Carlyle, TRAINSPOTTING), and fending off hordes of the hideous Urgals. All of this will strike the seasoned fantasy viewer as familiar territory, but the formula is given life by veterans Malkovitch and Irons, as well as the young Speelers. The film was shot mostly in Hungary, whose breathtaking landscape combines to great effect with excellent cinematography. The special effects, created by LORD OF THE RINGS' Digital Magic and STAR WARS' Industrial Light and Magic, more than live up to the precedent set by those films, while the dragon is film's true star.
I know this did not do brilliantly at the cinema,however
I watched it with an open mind,i liked it,wasn't to sure
about the telepathic voice of the dragon though.
The action was pretty good,the special effects were
good and in that vain, the dragon look was a visual
treat. (We have had talking dragons in many movies
down the years)
The Story tells of 'Eregon's' journey to fulfill his destiny
after finding the mysterious egg in the forest.
I've watched it on DVD since and again enjoyed it, i
first saw it at the cinema.
I think they really should have cast the lead-role
with perhaps a stronger character, sadly 'Ed Speleers'
wasn't equal to the role.
It did have a few high-rollers among the cast-list such as
'Jeremy Irons' 'Robert Carlyle' and 'John Malcovich'
I'd really hoped they continued to make and release the
2nd and 3rd in the trilogy, sadly like many other promising
beginnings it was never to be.
Would have made a great Fantasy -Series.
I believe this film is worth watching. enjoy.
on 22 November 2007
I read Eragon in about a week. I simply LOVED it. I was hoping that hollywwod wouldn't mess up this masterpiece as it usally does. The book has aprox. 700 pages, if half of those had got in it would be better. Parts involing a few CHAPTERS where missed out (like when eragon travelles through the desert). It was good as a film but comparing it to the book it's NOT good. Better rent it if you want to watch it.