By Fred Topel | Image property of 20th Century Fox.
It's nice that big budget fantasy epics have become just as mediocre as CGI animated films and Hong Kong style action movies. Someone writes a book about magic and the visual effects houses go to work. Eragon is perfectly passable entertainment for the crowd it's designed for.
Movie Review: Eragon
Eragon (Ed Speleers) discovers a dragon egg and hatches Saphira. The local curmudgeon Brom (Jeremy Irons) tells him he can bring back the era of the dragon riders, and sets about training him to ride, fight and cast spells. They've got to defeat an evil king (John Malkovich in three scenes) whose evil wizard (Robert Carlyle) is holding hottie Arya (Sienna Guillory) captive.
Hearing the tale of the evil king is pretty hard. It's the same old sh**. Keeping track of all the fake names like Galbatorix and Morzan is ridiculous and all the rules of dragon riding and magic are downright tedious. Just hand out cheat sheets with the movie tickets and cut the film down to 80 minutes.
But the baby dragon is adorable. The riding lessons are pretty joyful and the final dragon battle is pretty sweet. The crowd pleasing moments totally work for the crowd who's into this. The dateless boys at a Friday night screening sure did cheer for the fire breathing and magic resuscitation.
The visual effects are not incompetent. It's the usual fantasy thing, some blurry scenes but most are photorealistic. They didn't bother to make Saphira's lips move. They instead use telepathic dialogue.
Jeremy Irons is too good for this hokey fantasy. He's a classy badass with immature kids running rampant around him. At one point he appears out of nowhere. Even though he knows magic, he still doesn't teleport.
But, for a movie about dragon riders it hits all the right notes. Flying, fire, combat. It's certainly more fast paced than The Chronicles of Narnia and more concise than Harry Potter.