The 2000s were a weird time, if you weren’t busy making an Oscar bait film, then you were definitely either making an Action film or you were making a Fantasy film.
Fantasy films were all the rave back in the 2000s, “Lord of the Rings” released and garnered so much popularity and box office revenue that everyone wanted a piece of that pie. So, there was a rave of fantasy films that spurred in that era. “Pirates of the Caribbean”, “Harry Potter”, “Chronicles of Narnia”, “Peter Pan”, “Van Helsing”, “Golden Compass” and of course; “Eragon”.
“Eragon” is one of those films that thought it could be much more visceral and revolutionary than it was, however, it was a children’s film in disguise as a fantasy action/adventure which did not fit well into any of the categories it was being directed towards. It was a very misled film that did not have an identity of its own, a cheap attempt at a cash grab at the height of the Fantasy genre. However, there are still some redeeming qualities in “Eragon” that can be appreciated, and we’ll talk about them more in depth!
Story, Characters and Direction:
The story of “Eragon” is quite simple, it begins with an event that brings the rest of the story to life. An Elven princess runs away with a strange yet powerful stone, however, she quickly finds herself being pursued by a dark sorcerer sent by an evil King. When the sorcerer catches up with her, and she has nowhere to go, she uses her magic to teleport the stone to a random undisclosed location. This is where the stone lands in the hands of a young farmhand named Eragon, whose life is forever changed when a dragon hatches from within that stone and he becomes its caretaker in this world that is vengeful against Dragon kind.
Right off the bat, this story is VERY cliched. You have a seemingly normal protagonist with little to no experience in doing any sort of combat, being put up against insurmountable odds. Of course, the hero will eventually overcome his situation but it doesn’t make it any better, it’s just as overused as it had been for years even at that time. There is no subversion of the chosen one trope in “Eragon”, and the characters are completely one dimensional due to it. There is little to no development of any kind in the story, and that is perhaps the biggest tipping point for this movie.
You don’t really grow to care about any of the characters because their motivations aren’t clear enough. Their motivations are simply ‘I’m a good person, so I will do this thing against the evil King!’ and that gets REALLY old, really quick. Another aspect of storytelling that this movie fails in is the development, the story is paced in a very inconsistent way and it rushes through a HUGE amount of the events that take place within the story so it doesn’t really get enough time to focus on the characters. The overly ambitious story becomes one of the film’s biggest setbacks, there is just so much happening in this film that the characters are just cadavers for the plot to move forward rather than fleshed out personalities for us to like.
Production Design, Cinematography and Music:
I can’t say much about the film in this department, though I truly believe it could’ve looked beautiful. The cinematography is extremely underwhelming, especially considering the production design is absolutely wonderful. The production design for this film might be on the same level as “The Chronicles of Narnia” if not higher, which is what breaks your heart as a viewer when you realize how boring and bland the camera work is in this film. It’s a collection of boring and bland camera angles with some pretty bland lighting during scenes with CGI.
However, when the practical effects are on display and the film is being simplistic while showcasing the beautiful locations here. Most of this film was shot in Hungary, which is one of the world’s prettiest places if we’re looking at scenic beauty alone, aside from this, they also feature some of the best production studios in the world with Origo Studios and Fot Studios. The film even went through some heavy reshoots, and even those took place in Hungary and resulted in some of the best shots of the film.
Alas, however, the film had nothing that really utilized that location design and completely botched its execution. The music was something you’d expect to be great though, especially since that was the only part of the film that made it even remotely watchable for me. I enjoyed the soundtrack thoroughly during the film, however, when I went back to listen to it afterwards, it felt very bland and repetitive. It might just be my influence of disliking the film, or perhaps it was just due to the soundtrack being haphazardly put together, just like the rest of the film.
“Eragon” is a film that has ONE major flaw that brings about so many more flaws. The one main flaw in Eragon is the fact that it lacks passion, this is a film that was made by a director and a crew that simply did not care about bringing this vision to life on the big screen. This was more of a paycheck for the people involved on this project, and so, everyone got through it and did what they had to, just to get through the shoots and receive their paycheck.
It’s one of the earlier examples of a modern studio film, which is a product of a studio to make as much money off a popular trend as possible. Aside from that, “Eragon” has nothing worth loving, it’s a boring and bland film which offers nothing but a few moments of decent CGI.
It’s one of the earlier examples of a modern studio film, which is a product of a studio to make as much money off a popular trend as possible. Aside from that, "Eragon" has nothing worth loving, it’s a boring and bland film which offers nothing but a few moments of decent CGI.