Eragon is based upon the best selling book, which was written by then nineteen-year-old Christopher Paolini. This film was met with much hype, but initially to me seemed to be another generic Lord of the Rings type rip-off, with the addition of a dragon. Not usually my type of movie, but The Lord of the Rings trilogy did more that just amaze me maybe Eragon has a trick or two up its sleeve.
Right from the beginning Eragon starts off shaky, a storyline that seems too have been done a hundred times before; a mesh of Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings. Eragon is a seventeen-year-old farm boy living in the village of Carvahall in the fictional world of Alagaesia. One night, while out hunting, he stumbles upon a dragonï¿½s egg. At first unsure of whatï¿½s really going on, Eragon becomes enlightened that he is the chosen one to save his kingdom. It turns out that before the dark ages of Alagaesiaï¿½s dark ruler the land was ruled by Dragon Riders, who are just as theyï¿½re called, people who ride dragons. The evil king Galbatroix (John Malkovich) sends his evil minion and sorcerer Durza (Robert Carlyle) to kill Eragon and his dragon as they pose a threat to his dark rule of the kingdom. While trying to unite with the remaining rebels, Eragon is trained by Brom (Jeremy Irons) in the arts of magic, combat, and dragon riding.
Eragon for the most part is dull, the dialogue is pretty silly, and the characters arenï¿½t that well developed. On the technical side, this movie is pretty well accomplished, there are some really nice looking scenes, but I donï¿½t feel its potential was fully utilized. There was hardly any action, and when there was it wasnï¿½t all the engaging. Eragon, although better than I expected, really isnï¿½t that great. It seemed really generic and a poor alternative to other movies as previously mentioned. Maybe this picture seems so dull because it explained a lot of about the world and intended to set up two sequels, but I donï¿½t know how likely that looks at this point.
To sum it up, Eragon has some pretty standard acting and a rather dull storyline, I couldnï¿½t even enjoy Robert Carlyle who always impresses me, he just looked so weird and creepy I couldnï¿½t take him seriously. Iï¿½ve never read the book so I canï¿½t offer any comparison, but I can imagine if you liked the book you would like the movie, but if youï¿½re looking for a movie thatï¿½s reminiscing of something like Lord of The Rings, Eragon isnï¿½t it.
Please note that a screener copy of the film was used for this review, video in the retail release may differ.
Fox presents Eragon in a 2.35:1 widescreen, unfortunately the video transfer is a mess. This film is extremely soft, even for DVD, details seem washed out. One notable fault is the alarming amount of compression artifacts. Every scene with daylight suffers horribly from this making it very difficult to focus on anything but. Dark shots do not seem to suffer as badly from this making viewing them much easier on the eyes. One good thing about the transfer was the solid colors seen throughout the picture, these surprising looked good and not washed out. Eragon still suffers from a horrible transfer, one of the very worst I have seen from a major studio on DVD.
Included on the disc are both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio tracks, and both make great use of the films action. Dialogue sounded good but a bit too quiet, often having to adjust the volume to between certain scenes. As few as they are the action sequences sound good, utilizing all channels effectively. The final battle near the end of the film is definitely the showcase piece of this disk. The overall presentation is quite good and is definitely more enjoyable then watching the actual movie.
Eragon is packed with a second disc full of special features that are sure satisfy even the most die hard of fans. Even though there are some pretty solid features itï¿½s gone about in a rather annoying manner, the features are hidden amongst a map of Alagaesia so for your convenience I will list them where you can find them on the map.
- Disc 1
- Audio commentary by director Stefen Fangmeier ï¿½ A decent audio track, Fangmeier discusses everything from adapting the book into a film to working with the actors, a pretty interesting track.
- Daret ï¿½ A 19-minute look into the characters of the Alagaesia world, also very well put together covering everyone from The Dragon Riders to The Raï¿½zac.
- Carvahall ï¿½ A 51-minute feature that documents the making of Eragon, everything from storyboards and screenplays to visuals effects and behind the scenes footage. A really interesting feature for anyone wanting to know more about whatï¿½s went into making this movie.
- Gilï¿½ead ï¿½ 12-minutes worth of deleted and extended scenes with the option of director commentary.
- Farthen-Dur ï¿½ A 45-minute look into the special effects of the movie fir 19 separate scenes. Commentary by the visual effects supervisors is included.
- The Spine ï¿½ The original vision of Eragon to be made into a movie, includes an animatic sequence with optional commentary.
- Uru baen ï¿½ A short interview with the author of the books, Christopher Paolini, who talks about his up and coming novel and his already released second novel.
- Teirm ï¿½ Contains a pronunciation guide, original storyboards and lost storyboards which contain scenes that were ultimately cut from the film.
- Hadarac Desert ï¿½ An animation guide based on the character of Sapihra also with optional commentary.
- Beor Mountains ï¿½ A look into creating the video game of the same name as well as the theatrical and teaser trailers.
Overall the special features are more than satisfactory; I couldnï¿½t imagine a fan of the movie wanting more.
Eragon is mediocre movie, which doesnï¿½t hold a candle to some of the other big name movies of its genre. The special features included in the DVD are amazing, jam-packed full of interesting information that proves to keep even the most die hard of fans satisfied. The video is an utter disgrace; thankfully the audio track lessons the blow. Fans of the movie should still enjoy the two disc edition, but if you havenï¿½t seen this movie yet donï¿½t expect much out if it, and rent it before making the purchase.
Special Features List
- Audio commentary by director Stefen Fangmeier
- The Spine
- Uru baen
- Hadarac Desert
- Beor Mountains