in 2001 we got the two biggest film franchises of the new century. Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter proved the appetite was there for fantasy films. And so everyone was trying to get the next major franchise, snapping up young adult fantasy novels. One of those was Christopher Paolini’s Eragon.
Eragon is a young farm boy in a land that used to be protected by the Dragon Riders. The dragons were wiped out, but there is a prophesy of an egg yet to hatch. Eragon discovers the egg and upon hatching the baby dragon hatches. He and his dragon Saphira find themselves hunted by the evil King Galbatorix, who desires Saphira for himself. Or he wants to destroy her. Whatever is necessary to keep his power. With the evil Wizard Durza, he has kept the princess Arya prisoner.
Eragon is trained by the secretive Brom as they prepare to take on Galbatorix and his minions.
While the books were modestly popular, this did not translate into success for the film. And frankly, it is not much different from Dragonheart ten years earlier. The film fails at offering all it’s twists. Brom’s secret is pretty obvious, so it is not a surprise when it is revealed.
The film also takes poor shortcuts. The Dragon seems to grow to adulthood in a matter of days. The effects are decent enough, but the film makes the choice of allowing us to hear the psychic connection between Eragon and Saphira…and it just does not work as effectively as simply having the dragon speak as they did with Dragonheart.
Eragon just never feels like anything beyond a want to be fantasy epic. And it really feels like a direct to video knockoff, in spite of a cast that includes Rachel Weisz, John Malkovich and Jeremy Irons.