Eragon (2006)

I know that Eragon is supposed to be a serious movie, but there’s no way I’m able to sit through it without giggling. I’m not sure how anyone could. Maybe if you’re under the age of 6 you’ll think it’s the coolest thing ever made, but if you’re older than that, this film becomes an unintentional comedy. It’s just too bad that it’s too long and has too many moments of lackluster action scenes to become one of those film you must see just because of how terrible it is.

Ostensibly, Eragon is a man-with-a-destiny story cross-pollinated with a let’s-go-save-a-princess one. These are the making of a good idea, but this isn’t a film that does anything fresh with it, while failing at fundamentals like making us care, providing us with fun action scenes or being entertaining in any way other than as an unintentional comedy. This is a generic adventure film with below-average writing and a lead actor who makes serious lines hilarious. The rest of the casts is filled with good actors, but they only make Eragon seem like more of a waste of money.

We begin with a young man by the name of Eragon (Edward Speleers) who is less liked than his brother because, well, his brother is better looking and older, I assume. One day, he finds a dragon egg that quickly becomes a dragon named Saphira (voiced by Rachel Weisz). This dragon leaves a mark on his hand that looks like he grabbed the top of a cinnamon bun and forgot to wash his hands afterward. The dragon quickly grows (almost instantly, actually), and after he has a dream about a captured woman, Arya (Sienna Guillory), he decides to take his dragon and go save her.

The man who captured her is named Durza (Robert Carlyle), the only person in this film who seems to be having fun. There’s one particular scene when Durza laughs which I had to rewind and play over again just because of how ridiculous it sounds. Carlyle takes the role and runs with it. If everyone else had decided to do this, the film might have been more enjoyable as a whole. Durza takes orders from Galbatorix (John Malkovich), although Durza seems to be more than capable to deal with anything, especially after we see him take an arrow to the forehead, disappear, and then come back later on unharmed. Surely he can handle a kid.

But it’s not just Eragon that’s going to have to fight against Durza — he’s aided by an old man named Brom (Jeremy Irons) who has a slightly shady past that’s going to turn out exactly how you’ll expect. Djimon Hounsou also shows up at one point, although that’s not right before the final action scene. Oh, yes, there will be a final action scene involving dragons and riders. It’s very silly, but it’s more entertaining than other moments of the film.

Everyone is so serious in this film. I suppose the life of some woman is reason enough to be concerned, but these people never seem to have any fun. Everyone sits around with a frown on his/her face for the majority of the film. Like I mentioned earlier, the only one that seemed to be having fun was Robery Carlyle. Eragon has a dragon and even that becomes a solemn idea after the first time he rides her.

Characters don’t really have relationships in the conventional sense. They’ll accompany one another for a while, but because the plot wants there to be tension, they’ll have a fight and split up for a while for absolutely no reason. And since we’re following our titular character, this means that people like Jeremy Irons are forced to disappear for large stretches just because we need this whiny kid to get time to sulk with his dragon.

Speaking of Edward Speleers, he is by far the worst actor out of the principal cast. I’m not sure why he was cast in this role, but he can’t deliver lines at all, and every time he tried to act seriously, I laughed out loud. The writing doesn’t help, as most of the lines are silly for all of the cast, but they can at least stop them from being cringe-inducing — he can’t. I can listen to Carlyle or Irons deliver lines like the ones in this film just because of who they are, but Speleers simply did not give a good or even passable performance in this film.

The only thing that I like about this film, apart from being utterly hilarious despite not trying to be, is its visuals. Even though the visuals are never doing anything important, Eragon looks great. I liked the way the dragon looks, the ending battle is impressive just to look at (even if it’s very silly when executed), and the set design is quite nice, even if it does, at times, look cheap. A lot of work was put into the look of the film — it’s just too bad that the same effort wasn’t put into the plot, characters or action scenes.

Eragon is a really funny film, although that wasn’t its goal. Despite being quite hilarious, it fails on practically every level. Characters aren’t developed and their actions don’t make sense, the plot is simple and nothing here will surprise you, and the action scenes aren’t all that fun. This is a film that looks good, but that’s about all that works with this film. Unless you’re a young child, in which case this will be the best movie ever, this is a miss, even (or maybe especially) for fans of the book.

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