After the first installments of Harry Potter and The Lord Of The Rings rocked the global box-office back in 2001, American movie studios started buying the rights of every fantasy book they could find in the hope of striking cinematic gold. Barely any executive was able to shout “cha-ching” however, as only a handful of these opportunist films have proved successful, namely Disney’s The Chronicles Of Narnia and New Line’s The Golden Compass (sure, it bombed in the US, but it was huge everywhere else). Indeed, in their rush to shell out movies about magical worlds, studios seem to have mostly forgotten what made Potter and Rings so successful: it’s not only an established fanbase and an otherworldly setting, but mainly faithfulness, and a creative team truly invested in the source material.
Which brings us to Eragon, which is adapted from the first book in Chistopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle. The movie was directed by first-timer Stefen Fangmeier, a visual effects supervisor on films such as A Series Of Unfortunate Events, and adpated to screenplay form by Peter Buchman (Jurassic Park III). It stars newcomer Edward Speleers in the title role, as well as Jeremy Irons (Kingdom Of Heaven), Sienna Guillory (Resident Evil: Apocalypse), Robert Carlyle (28 Weeks Later), John Malkovich (Beowulf), Garett Hedlund (Death Sentence), Djimon Hounsou (Never Back Down), Rachel Weisz’s voice (Definitely, Maybe) and pop singer Joss Stone in her first (albeit brief) film role.
Eragon‘s story goes pretty much like this: Once upon a time, peace was kept by an order of knights with special abilities. One of these knights turned to evil however, and betrayed his comrades, killing them all (or did he?) and establishing himself as ruler of everywhere. Years later, a young blond male living at his uncle’s farm stumbles upon something stolen from the evil lord. After his family is killed, he is recruited by a wise old ex-knight and sets on a journey to join a small band of dedicated rebels, to whom the stolen item could prove extremely useful. Along the way, they will venture into one of the enemy’s fortresses to rescue the young princess who stole the thing in the first place. Sound familiar? Review and trailer after the jump.