December 19, 2006 > Eragon
by Rajiv Samagond
Eragon (2006) is based on a children's fantasy novel by Christopher Paolini. The book, a New York Times Bestseller, has sold over a million copies. First book of the Inheritance Trilogy, Eragon will be followed by the next installment, called Eldest.
The protagonist, a boy named Eragon, finds a "stone" while hunting. Eragon thinks the polished stone may have value, but one night its true nature is revealed as a dragon hatches from within. The dragon tells him her name is Saphira and he is her chosen rider. As the first dragon rider in over 100 years, Eragon's true calling is a threat to Galbatorix, king of Alagaesia who sends his minions to destroy him.
The tale follows Eragon and Saphira through a desperate journey to the Varden where both can train to face enemies and learn about magic. A former Dragon Rider and storyteller, Brom, joins Eragon, but they are pursued relentlessly by the king's forces of evil.
The movie falls short of expectations for those who have read the book since it omits many important scenes while creating additional story lines. Characters are inaccurately represented and inconsistent. For example, Saphira is initially shown as the size of a fawn before she flies into the clouds, but when she reappears, her size increases to that of a small house!
In spite of the Hollywood adaptation, cinematography was superb and the Hungarian locales are worth watching. Acting of newcomer Edward Speleers as Eragon and Jeremy Irons as Brom saved the movie from disaster. At 108 minutes, the movie feels short and incomplete. Tighter reconstruction of the novel and another 30 to 45 minutes would have helped give Eragon a better flow and stronger finish.