A familiar flight

Rated 1.0

With the Lord of the Rings trilogy still in recent memory, it’s hard to imagine a fantasy flick rivaling its magic—unless, perhaps, the lead character is Harry Potter. Last week, Eragon came barreling through the gate (there’s even a video game based on the film), but its power is shaky at best.

The film revolves around a 17-year-old farm boy, Eragon (Edward Speleers), who finds a blue “stone” in the woods that turns out to be a dragon’s egg. The thing is that dragons have been extinct for years and he doesn’t even know what it is when it hatches. Jeremy Irons is Brom, a local rabble-rouser who likes to tell tales about dragons and how life was before the king (a typically blah John Malkovich), well, was king.

The plot is simple, one we’ve seen before (it reminded me of LOTR and Willow, but isn’t half as good): Boy finds rare dragon. Boy learns to ride dragon and how to control his magic—with the help of a veteran, who aids him in his quest to get from point A to point B without getting killed.

The problems with Eragon start from the beginning, which goes by so quickly that we hardly have time to get to know and care about the characters.

The special effects leave a lot to be desired. Saphira, Eragon’s dragon (with the voice of Rachel Weisz), looks great, but as soon as someone gets on top of her—"You’re a dragon rider now, Eragon!"—they fall back a few decades and the fake backgrounds are painfully clear.

The first thing most people say about Eragon is that the book the film is based on was written by a 17-year-old. Impressive? Yes. But let’s hope, for young Christopher Paolini’s sake, that the novel is better than the movie.