Runtime: 103 minutes
Director: Stefen Fangmeier
Starring: Ed Speleers, Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich
MPAA Rating: PG
Final Score: 6.5/10
In a kingdom ravaged by darkness and tyranny, one small ray of hope emerges when Eragon finds a mysterious blue “stone” that turns out to be the last dragon’s egg in existence. From the moment the egg hatches, the fates of Eragon and the dragon Saphira are forever entwined, as they join forces to battle the evil King Galbatorix.
There’s nothing wrong with the story. It’s a coming of age story so we must see the hero grow into his powers. But the movie is not long enough to do this well and have ample time to tell the rest of the story. We are thrown from place to place quickly, and most of the time is spent on the road. No place is visited long enough to feel its importance. They just feel like backdrops to the plot. With as little time as we spend at each place, it doesn’t leave much room for the training either. The timeline is so compact that what should be months of training feels like a few days.
We only get to meet a few characters during the movie. We mostly follow Brom and Eragon and we learn enough about them to care for what happens to them. But the rest of the characters are just there. Even Arya is left in the dark. She is unable to talk for most of the movie, and when she can it does nothing to help us get to know her. The villains of the story get no motivation at all. Sometimes it’s nice to have villains who are not complicated, but at some point, they just become plot points instead of characters.
It’s hard to tell if the movie was trying to set up a romance. With the main female character unconscious or absent for most of the movie, they did not have time to set anything up. They have scenes that indicate that Eragon was falling for Arya, but no character interactions that make it clear. It doesn’t help that we never get to know Arya, so we don’t know if she is acting normal around Eragon.
The dialogue is not great. We get a few lines in the movie that are epic, but most of the lines are cheesy or used for exposition. There is a lot of one liners and repetition of lines said earlier in the movie. It was obviously aimed at kids and feels like it’s speaking down to you. Galbatorix especially gets stuck with the over the top villain lines.
As short as it is, they pack a lot of action into the movie. Sword fights are shot up close with quick editing, but what is visible is good if you don’t mind that style. There is even a large-scale battle at the end of the movie. But the real action is with the dragon. Throughout the movie we get small tastes of what Saphira can do, but she really shines at the end. From the fire breathing runs she does, to the battle with the shade Durza, it is exactly what fantasy is about.
The music does everything it needs to. There are no parts that really stand out as bad, but there are a few scenes with some great music to accompany them.
Even though we do not spend a lot of time at them, each set in the movie looks fantastic. Lots of aerial shots are used, and even those look good. Scenery is an important part of this movie as most of the story is spent travelling through the land. Luckily the locations that they chose look gorgeous. Green forests backed up onto majestic mountains that just scream fantasy.
The costumes designs are great. It tends to lean more to the fantasy side of designs, but it keeps a sense of practicality to it. The costumes use brighter colors than normal, but they aren’t so vivid as the be off-putting.
There are numerous effects throughout the movie. The Razac are creepy and the effects on them really sell their vileness. The magic that is used is subtle and does not come across as fake or over the top. But what you really what to know about is the dragon. Saphira is amazing. From the moment she hatches, she just looks great. She is not hidden in the dark or kept off screen. We see her front and center and each time is just as awesome as the last. Her design and animation is just great. The scenes with her and Eragon flying are exhilarating.
While it can feel childish at certain points, it does capture the feel of fantasy. Look past the drawbacks and the core of the movie shines. It’s a fun movie with an enjoyable story.