Eragon

Kids will eat up fantasy mash-up ‘Eragon'

Orlando SentinelDecember 15, 2006 

So now we know what little Christopher Paolini was doing with his time while he was supposedly being home-schooled, and writing the "Inheritance" fantasy novel trilogy.

He was watching "Star Wars" and "Lord of the Rings." He was cutting and pasting, the little imp. Maybe he was clever enough to read Joseph Campbell, as George Lucas did, giving him "cover" for a story that was so plainly derived from earlier sources. As Campbell argued, and Lucas quoted, there's a reason so many tales seem so much like so many earlier ones. There is but one hero, and he's "The Hero With a Thousand Faces."

"Eragon," the film based on Paolini's precocious fantasy novel, is about a boy fulfilling his destiny, an inscrutable mentor, a daring dungeon rescue of a fair maiden, a big battle between the "rebel" forces of good and those of the Dark Lord. The kid's got to fly a dragon into battle to save humanity. No biggie.

"Just like Beggar's Canyon back home!"

OK, Paolini didn't crib that. Everything else? Pretty much.

"Eragon" introduces handsome young Ed Speleers as Eragon, a boy "abandoned" by his parents, left behind by his older, hunkier cousin who flees the army recruiters (foreshadowing, foreshadowing). Then, this huge magical jellybean falls into Eragon's hands, and next thing you know, a cuddly little dragon hatches.

A mentor (Jeremy Irons) arrives. Even though the lad is "one part fool, to three parts brave," he trains him. For a day or so.

But the dragon grows up so fast! They all do. And she (who has the voice of Oscar-winner Rachel Weisz) and Eragon set off on a quest to meet the Varden, led by Djimon Hounsou, where they'll help battle evil king John Malkovich and his sadistic sorcerer henchman, Robert Carlyle ("Trainspotting"). It's a mash-up, to be sure, with Elves, or at least Elvish language, ogres, shape-shifting wizards and Black Riders. Only they don't have horses.

Not the worst dragon movie ever. Not whilst "Dragonheart" hangs heavy on the memory. But chalk this one up as strictly for kids, home-schooled or not.

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