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Stefen Fangmeier
Edward Speleers, Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich
Writing Credits:
Peter Buchman

Farm boy Eragon bonds with a dragon and discovers that he's one of the last Dragon Riders.

Box Office:
$100 million.
Opening Weekend
$23,239,907 on 3020 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 103 min.
Price: $9.98
Release Date: 3/20/2007

• Audio Commentary with Director Stefen Fangmeier
• Trailers


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Eragon [Blu-Ray] (2006)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 5, 2020)

After The Lord of the Rings made cinemas safe for fantasy epics, we got more flicks in that genre. Enter 2006ís Eragon, a film based on the first entry in Christopher Paoliniís Inheritance trilogy of novels.

And that was where the prospective film franchise finished. Whereas each Rings movie made more than $300 million in the US, Eragon topped out at $74 million, not exactly the kind of numbers that inspire suits to greenlight more expensive efforts like this.

A prologue tells us that dragon-riders once ruled and defended the land of Alagaesia. However, the eventually become obsessed with power, and a rider named Galbatorix (John Malkovich) tried to kill all the other men and dragons in a big fight. He apparently eliminated all opposition and led the land with an iron hand.

Freedom fighters called the Varden want to remove Galbatorix from power, and a babe named Arya (Sienna Guillory) steals a precious stone of his. When his forces come upon her, she uses a spell to transport the stone elsewhere.

It ends up in the possession of a young farm boy named Eragon (Ed Speleers). Before long, he discovers itís not a stone, but itís an egg that hatches a baby dragon.

Galbatorix worries that if the Varden learn of this event, itíll inspire hope, so he dispatches his minions to kill Eragon before he matures. A ďshadeĒ named Durza (Robert Carlyle) leads these baddies.

It doesnít take long for the dragon to grow up, though, and she soon telepathically tells Eragon that her name is Saphira (voiced by Rachel Weisz) and he needs to serves as her rider. Village bum Brom (Jeremy Irons) foresaw these events, and he acts as Eragonís mentor. The movie follows his reluctant training and eventual battles.

Eragon represented Stefen Fangmeierís first effort as director. In the past, he worked as visual effects supervisor on a mix of big projects like Lemony Snicketís A Series of Unfortunate Events and Signs.

I suppose his promotion makes some sense given the heavy emphasis on effects in Eragon, but from a story-telling point of view, it becomes tough to detect Fangmeierís credentials.

Have any other folks with an exclusive visual effects background become successful directors? Not many.

Cinematographers often make the leap, and writers can jump as well, but I canít think of many effects guys who succeeded as directors. Joe Johnston heads that list, and after himÖ well, itís a short list.

At best, Fangmeier provides serviceable direction. At worst, he seems stiff and wooden.

Character delineation remains negligible at best, and the story plods at a stilted pace. Thereís no smoothness or clarity to what we see. Instead, the film just bumbles along as it follows some fairly inevitable paths.

Granted, it might be unfair to blame Fangmeier for all these problems, as the source material may cause many of them. To be sure, Eragon offers an almost ludicrously derivative piece of work. Going in, I knew that many viewed it as a blatant rip-off of the Lord of the Rings series, and I can clearly see that influence here.

Tolkien doesnít provide the sole inspiration behind Eragon, though. Indeed, youíll find many influences at work here, with a strong emphasis on Star Wars.

I might even think thereís more Lucas than Tolkien behind Eragon, as a number of strong parallels appear. We can also easily find a little Dragonheart as well as some other pieces.

Whatever the case, all of these factors strip Eragon of any potential to become its own movie. It takes a little of this and a little of that to make a lot of nothing. The end result comes across as terribly generic and never manages to form its own identity.

Truly, Eragon feels like fantasy by committee. It takes a melange of different elements but lacks inspiration and originality.

It also fails to thrill or excite. While perfectly watchable, the result is a flat, bland tale with little to make it stand out from the crowd.

I canít say I feel too sad we didnít get to watch more adventures of Eragon and his pals. The first chapter remains pretty forgettable.

The Disc Grades: Picture C+/ Audio A-/ Bonus C

Eragon appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. A fairly early release, the Blu-ray seemed erratic.

Dark segments were the main concern, as low-light shots tended to be somewhat dense and tough to delineate. These werenít horribly opaque, but they created distractions, especially since the movie featured so many shadowy sequences.

Blacks seemed reasonably tight and full, but sharpness varied. Some elements offered nice delineation, while others came across as a bit soft and ill-defined.

No issues with jagged edges or shimmering materialized, but light edge haloes occurred. No source flaws marred the presentation, but the encoding left us with some artifacts.

Colors favored a stylized palette with mild orange and teal. The hues lacked real punch but they seemed fine within those parameters. Ultimately, this became a dated transfer.

From start to finish, the flick offered a very involving DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundfield. The many action sequences brought all five channels to life well, as dragons and battles zoomed around us.

The elements moved smoothly and created a full sense of the environment. Music also boasted fine stereo delineation.

I found the quality of the audio to work nicely as well. Speech was always natural and concise, with no edginess or other issues. Music seemed bright and lively, while effects excelled.

Those elements came across as full and rich, without distortion or problems. Bass response seemed deep and tight. These mixes served the film well and gave us some fine material.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD version? The BDís lossless audio added some kick, and the visuals looked better defined and more vivid. While not a great Blu-ray, this one managed to outdo the problematic DVD.

In terms of extras, we find an audio commentary from director Stefen Fangmeier. He offers a running, screen-specific discussion. The director covers story and editing choices, cast, characters and performances, sets and locations, visual design and related topics, stunts and effects, and other production subjects.

Like the film itself, the commentary proves serviceable but not memorable. I canít fault the choice of topics Fangmeier selects, and he provides reasonable detail about them.

However, the track simply never becomes very engaging. Fangmeier delivers a decent overview but not a particularly involving discussion.

In addition to two trailers for Eragon, Fox on Blu-ray includes promos for Fantastic Four (2005), Ice Age: The Meltdown, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Night at the Museum and X-Men: The Last Stand.

In terms of extras, the Blu-ray is equivalent to the one-disc DVD of Eragon. However, we get no BD to match with the deluxe two-DVD version I link above, so we lose a slew of good bonus materials here. Would it have killed Fox to toss in the already-existing second DVD along with the BD?

If you feel like youíve seen Eragon before, thatís because it borrows so liberally from other superior offerings. The movie takes fistfuls of elements found in better flicks and renders them impotent in this generic, dumbed-down fantasy tale. The Blu-ray presents lackluster visuals and minor supplements along with audio. Even a superior transfer wouldnít fix this stale adventure.

To rate this film visit the prior review of ERAGON

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