Wednesday, 23 September 2020
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Sunday, 17 December 2006 18:04

When I read the novel Eragon I thought it was a pretty entertaining piece of work, especially when you factor in that it was published when the author was only 17 years old! It isn’t hard to see where Chritopher Paolini drew his inspiration. His fictional world Alagaesia and its inhabitants bear striking similarities to those created by Tolkein, Lewis, McCaffery, and LeGuin. On one hand you could question his originality, but I would be tempted to say that the familiar feel helped the book rather than hurt it. The film version has the same feeling of familiarity, but doesn’t satisfy as much as other recent fantasy epics.

Eragon is a young farm boy who comes upon a mysterious blue stone while hunting. (Think Luke Skywalker happening upon the droids.) Thinking it might be worth some money he takes it home, but it hatches and out pops a strange blue creature. From the moment she hatches, Saphira the dragon claims Eragon as her own, the dragon rider who will one day ride her into battle.

The evil king (since all kings are either evil or addlebrained) Galbatorix (John Malkovich) was once a dragon rider himself, but he betrayed the other riders and killed them all. Ever notice how evil kings seem to do nothing but sit in a gloomy throne-room and sulk? Just an observation… Anyhow, threatened by rumors of a new rider, he sends his sorcerer Durza (Robert Carlyle) to kill the boy. Eragon, Saphira, and Brom the swordsman (Jeremy Irons) have to evade capture, while traveling across Alagaesia to join rebel forces that may be hiding in the mountains.

With such an epic story, you would expect to have an epic film. Unfortunately the pace of the film gives no indication of the passing of time, making it feel like Alagaesia is about the size of Prince Edward Island. The special effects are nice, but don’t stack up when compared to the stunning Lord of the Rings trilogy. Newcomer Edward Speleers was a good choice to play Eragon himself, and is a believable would be fighter. Though he’s young, he’s not so scrawny that he couldn’t lift a sword.

Eragon fills in for the holiday treat we were missing in the absence of Tolkein or Harry Potter. It’s enjoyable but doesn’t measure up to the films that inspired it. Overall Eragon is an enjoyable introduction that will hopefully lead to bigger and better things with the next installment. I give Eragon 6 out of 10.