Eragon (stylized in all lowercase) is a 2006 action fantasy film directed by Stefen Fangmeier (in his directorial debut) and written by Peter Buchman, loosely based on Christopher Paolini’s 2002 novel of the same name. It stars Ed Speleers in the title role as well as Jeremy Irons, Sienna Guillory, Robert Carlyle, Djimon Hounsou, Garrett Hedlund, Joss Stone, and John Malkovich, with Rachel Weisz as the voice of Saphira the dragon. The film also marked the film debuts for Speleers and Stone.

Theatrical release poster
Directed byStefen Fangmeier
Screenplay byPeter Buchman
Based onEragon
by Christopher Paolini
Produced by
CinematographyHugh Johnson
Edited by
Music byPatrick Doyle
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • 15 December 2006 (2006-12-15)
Running time
103 minutes
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
Budget$100 million[2]
Box office$250.4 million[2]

Principal photography took place at the Mafilm Fót Studios in Hungary, starting on August 1, 2005. Visual effects and animation were by Industrial Light & Magic and Weta Digital. Eragon was released worldwide between December 13, 2006 and December 15, 2006 by 20th Century Fox. It received widespread negative reviews from critics and book fans, who criticized its acting, screenplay, visuals and unfaithfulness to the source material, though its CGI and the performances of Speleers and Irons were praised by a few critics. It was the 10th worst reviewed film of 2006 on Rotten Tomatoes,[3] but the 31st highest-grossing film of 2006 in the US.[4] The film was released for home entertainment on March 20, 2007. Originally, Eragon was supposed to be the first in a franchise based on Paolini's Inheritance Cycle book series with Fangmeirer shooting both Eldest and Brisingr back-to-back.[5] However, following the poor critical reception of Eragon on its release, and its box-office performance, all the planned sequels were cancelled.

Plot edit

Arya, elf princess of Ellesméra, flees with a strange stone, pursued by Durza, a dark sorcerer under the wicked king, Galbatorix. Durza manages to corner Arya, but fortunately, she uses her magic to teleport the stone away moments before she is captured.

Eragon, a poor farm boy living in the country of Alagaësia with his uncle, Garrow, and cousin, Roran, is hunting for deer when he witnesses the stone appearing. Hoping to trade it for food, Eragon brings the stone home but realizes that it is actually an egg when a blue dragon hatches from it. As he touches the dragon, a magical and mysterious mark appears on his palm. Several people are shown reacting to this incident, including Arya, an old storyteller, Brom, and Galbatorix himself.

Eragon shelters and feeds the dragon, and he teaches her to fly as she gradually grows to full size. She speaks to him through their thoughts and calls herself Saphira. When they are out, Durza's monstrous minions, the Ra'zac, arrive at the village to look for the dragon and the rider, killing Eragon's uncle in the process. Blaming Saphira for his uncle's death, Eragon sends her away. Brom shows up, takes Eragon away from the village, warns him of Saphira's importance, and urges him to call her back. Eragon calls Saphira with his thoughts, and she comes back, forgiving him for what he previously said.

Brom is leading the group to the Varden, rebel freedom fighters opposing Galbatorix. On the way, Brom fills Eragon in on the knowledge of dragon riders, Galbatorix, Durza, and the Ra'zac. He also trains Eragon in sword-fighting. In a small village, Eragon meets a fortune-telling witch named Angela, who tells him of a girl awaiting his help and of his dangerous path ahead. When Brom and Eragon are attacked by Galbatorix's servants, the Urgals, Eragon attempts to mimic Brom and wipes out the whole group with a magic attack of blue fire, before falling unconscious from the strain. Saphira saves him. Brom teaches Eragon to control his magic and bond his powers with Saphira. After flying for the first time, Eragon and Saphira help Brom kill the Ra'zac, and Brom reveals he was once a rider, his dragon killed by Morzan, a rogue rider allied with Galbatorix.

Durza sets a trap for Eragon, using Arya as bait. Hearing her telepathic calls, Eragon finds her, but is ambushed by Durza. Eragon is outmatched, and Brom arrives to help him, though he gets mortally wounded in the process. In a fit of rage, Eragon vengefully shoots an arrow into Durza's head, causing him to disappear. Eragon soon learned from Brom that he didn't kill Durza, because he didn't pierce his heart. The trio escapes, and Brom dies of his wounds while flying on Saphira. They held a small funeral for Brom, however, Sephira, unable to produce fire, breathed ice onto Brom's pyre, incasing him in the ice. Eragon takes possession of Brom's sword, Zar'roc, which previously belonged to Morzan.

Eragon confronts a hooded figure that has been following them. That figure reveals himself to be Murtagh, and guides them to the Varden. Once there, Murtagh is imprisoned by the Varden for being Morzan's son. Soon after, Durza and his men surround the rebel camp. Eragon, Saphira, Arya, and the Varden prepare for battle and fight off Galbatorix's forces. Murtagh frees himself during the battle and assists the Varden, saving the Dwarf King Hrothgar and proving his trustworthiness. Eragon and Saphira duel in the skies with Durza who rides his own beast. They eventually kill him, but Saphira is heavily injured. Eragon uses magic to heal her and once again passes out from the strain.

The following morning, Eragon awakes with Murtagh at his side. He fears Saphira may be dead but finds her fully healed. They catch up with Arya, who is on her way to Ellesméra to lead the elves in the coming war against Galbatorix. She calls Eragon "The great Shadeslayer," and they part ways, promising that they will meet again.

Meanwhile, in his castle, Galbatorix, furious, slashes at his hanging map of Alagaësia, revealing his immense pitch black dragon, Shruikan.

Cast edit

Production edit

Development edit

Plans to create a film based on Christopher Paolini's best-selling novel were first announced in February 2004. 20th Century Fox purchased the rights to Eragon. Screenwriter Peter Buchman, whose credits included Jurassic Park III, wrote the screenplay. Buchman, a fan of fantasy and science fiction literature and films, says he was "blown away" by the author's precociousness, his mastery of plot lines and characters, and his ability to create several completely imaginary worlds.[6]

Casting edit

Leather and metal battle armor crafted by Whitaker Malem for Ed Speleers, who was cast in the lead role as Eragon.

Speleers was selected for the title role after a worldwide casting search. "Ed came in [to the casting session], and we just looked at each other and said, "That's Eragon, that's the guy from the book," said director Stefen Fangmeier: "I got a strong sense of Ed's sparkle, of his life. It's the kind of thing where you just know he's destined to become a movie star. Speleers won the role as he was trying to learn his lines for a school production of Hamlet. Others considered for the role included Alex Pettyfer but since production took place in central Europe and Pettyfer is afraid of flying, he declined the role.[7]

On July 15, 2005, in an official press release from 20th Century Fox, it was confirmed that Speleers had signed on to the project. Over the following months, Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich, Chris Egan, and Djimon Hounsou were all confirmed as joining the Eragon cast. Paolini, author of the original novel, had expressed his wishes to be featured in a cameo role in the film — specifically, as a warrior who is beheaded in the battle of Farthen Dûr. However, he was unable because of his European book tour.[8]

Jeremy Irons, who welcomed the opportunity to reintroduce himself to younger audiences, took on the role although Dungeons & Dragons (a previous fantasy film he had acted in) had flopped, and he said that he thought that Eragon "had been better managed" than that film.[9]

Filming edit

Aerial photograph of the Ság Mountain, which served as the backdrop for Farthen Dûr

In August 2005, Fox began filming Eragon at various locations throughout Hungary and Slovakia, including:

Filming ended a month later in September, beginning the film's post-production stage, with Industrial Light and Magic creating the film's CGI.

The decision was made later on in production to add feathers to the standard bat-like wings of the dragon Saphira.[10] The studio had been inspired by the Angel's wings in X-Men: The Last Stand.[11] Jean Bolte, lead viewpaint artist for ILM on the film, calls them "skethers" (half-feathers, half-scales) and was inspired by the scales of the pangolin.[12] It was eventually decided that Saphira's colors scheme should be subdued rather than vibrant to be more realistic.[11]

Music edit

Eragon: Music from the Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedDecember 12, 2006 (2006-12-12)
ProducerPatrick Doyle, Maggie Rodford
Patrick Doyle chronology
Eragon: Music from the Motion Picture
The Last Legion
Singles from Eragon soundtrack
  1. "Keep Holding On"
    Released: November 17, 2006

The score for the film was composed by Patrick Doyle. Avril Lavigne recorded the film's theme song, "Keep Holding On", which was featured in the credits and on the soundtrack.[13] The track was released as a single in 2006 and peaked at number 17 on the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.[14] It was later included on her 2007 album The Best Damn Thing.

Track listing
  1. "Eragon"
  2. "Roran Leaves"
  3. "Saphira's First Flight"
  4. "Ra'zac"
  5. "Burning Farm"
  6. "Fortune Teller"
  7. "If You Were Flying"
  8. "Brom's Story"
  9. "Durza"
  10. "Passing the Flame"
  11. "Battle for Varden"
  12. "Together"
  13. "Saphira Returns"
  14. "Legend of Eragon"
  15. "Keep Holding On" – Avril Lavigne
  16. "Once in Every Lifetime" – Jem

Distribution edit

Video game edit

The video game based on the motion picture was developed by Stormfront Studios and Amaze Entertainment and was released in November 2006.

Home media edit

Eragon was released DVD and Blu-ray in the US on March 20, 2007. It debuted at number 1 on the national DVD sales charts and at number 3 on the DVD rental charts.[15] It grossed more than US$35.2 million in rentals.[16] It was released on DVD in Europe on April 16, 2007 and in Australia on April 18, 2007.[citation needed]

Reception edit

Critical response edit

Sienna Guillory, who played Arya.

On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, Eragon holds an approval rating of 16% based on 126 reviews, with an average rating of 4.08/10. The consensus reads "Eragon is a fantasy epic that lacks any magic, brought down to earth by unconvincing world-building and a litany of stars who seem bemused by the material."[17] At Metacritic, the film holds a score of 38 out of 100 based on 29 reviews, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade "B" on scale of A+ to F. The Seattle Times described the film as "technically accomplished, but fairly lifeless and at times a bit silly".[18] The Hollywood Reporter said the world of Eragon was "without much texture or depth."[19] The story was labeled "derivative" by The Washington Post,[20] and "generic" by the Las Vegas Weekly.[21] Newsday stressed this point further, asserting that only "nine-year-olds with no knowledge whatsoever of any of the six Star Wars movies would find the film original."[22]

The acting was called "lame" by the Washington Post,[20] plus "stilted" and "lifeless" by the Orlando Weekly.[23] The dialogue was also criticized, with MSNBC labelling it "silly";[24] the Las Vegas Weekly called it "wooden".[21] Positive reviews described the film as "fun"[25] and "the stuff boys' fantasies are made of."[26] The CGI work was called "imaginative" and Saphira was called a "magnificent creation."[27] Christopher Paolini stated he enjoyed the film, particularly praising the performances of Jeremy Irons and Ed Speleers.[28]

Box office edit

Eragon grossed approximately $75 million in the US and $173.9 million elsewhere, grossing $249 million worldwide.[2] Director Stefen Fangmeier believes that Fox was "modestly happy with the worldwide box office."[29]

Eragon was in release for 17 weeks in the US, opening on December 15, 2006 and closing on April 8, 2007.[2] It opened in 3020 theaters, earning $8.7 million on opening day and $23.2 million across opening weekend, ranked 2nd behind The Pursuit of Happyness.[30] Eragon's second weekend US box office dropped by almost 70%, possibly due to the opening of Night at the Museum, another family film from 20th Century Fox,[31] the 41st biggest second weekend drop since this statistic was kept.[32] Eragon's $75 million total US gross was the 31st highest for 2006.[33]

The film earned $150 million in its opening weekend across 76 overseas markets, making it the number one film worldwide.[34] This was attributed to the sheer scope of Eragon's global launch as the film ranked number 1 in fewer than half of the overseas territories it was released in.[35] The foreign box office competition for the film's opening week was "soft;"[36] had Eragon been released one year earlier, it would have been placed fourth.[37] Eragon's UK opening was "a disappointment,"[35] in Australia it was "solid if unimpressive,"[35] but its most impressive market was France,[38] where the film earned more than $21 million.[39] The film's $249 million total worldwide gross was the 16th highest for 2006.[40]Eragon grossed $86,995,160 on DVD from March 20, 2007 – May 13, 2007.[41]

Accolades edit

  • Saturn Awards (2007)
    • Nominated: Best Fantasy Film
    • Nominated: Best Performance by a Younger Actor - Edward Speleers
  • CDG Award (Costume Designers Guild) (2007)
    • Nominated: Excellence in Costume Design for Film (Fantasy) - Kym Barrett

Reboot edit

Around 2021, 15 years after the film's premiere, fans of the book series tweeted #EragonRemake in an effort to get Disney, the intellectual rights holders following their acquisition of 21st Century Fox, to revamp the book series into a possible television show for Disney+. Within hours, the hashtag began to trend with fans pushing for a proper adaptation. When Paolini found out about this movement, he encouraged the fans to keep at it and even joined it himself.[42]

On July 25, 2022, Variety reported that a live action television series adaptation of Eragon was in early development for Disney+, with Paolini serving as a co-writer on the series, and with Bert Salke executive producing.[43]

References edit

  1. ^ a b c "Eragon (2006)". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on January 26, 2021. Retrieved December 13, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d "Eragon (2006)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on 2009-02-15. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  3. ^ "8th Annual Golden Tomatoes Awards". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on 2007-11-11. Retrieved 2007-11-06.
  4. ^ "2006 Yearly Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on 2009-02-01. Retrieved 2007-11-06.
  5. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Stefan Fangmeier Creates Fantasy with Eragon". 2007-03-23. Archived from the original on 2007-03-23. Retrieved 2018-02-16.
  6. ^ Bankston, John (November 2013). Christopher Paolini. Infobase Learning. ISBN 9781438146584.
  7. ^ Lyall, Sarah (2006-07-20). "He Was a Teenage Spy, Surrounded by Treacherous Adults". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2014-05-08. Retrieved 2007-05-01.
  8. ^ "More Eragon Stills!". CanMag. 2006-08-15. Archived from the original on 2007-11-14. Retrieved 2007-11-06.
  9. ^ Carnivale, Rob. "Eragon — Jeremy Irons interview". IndieLondon. Archived from the original on 2008-05-27. Retrieved 2008-07-28.
  10. ^ Moerk, Christian (2006-12-10). "How Does a Dragon Look When It Talks? Ask a Wildebeest". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2015-09-01. Retrieved 2008-07-28.
  11. ^ a b Bielik, Alain (2006-12-13). "Eragon: Conjuring A Compelling CG Dragon". VFXWorld. Animation World Network. Archived from the original on 2008-12-06. Retrieved 2008-11-19.
  12. ^ Robertson, Barbara (2006-12-19). "Beneath the Surface: Eragon's Viewpainter". CGSociety. Archived from the original on 2007-05-22. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
  13. ^ ""Keep Holding On" now playing at radio!". Avril Lavigne. 2006-11-20. Archived from the original on 2007-05-08. Retrieved 2007-11-06.
  14. ^ "Artist Chart History — Avril Lavigne". Billboard. Retrieved 2007-11-06.
  15. ^ Arnold, Thomas K. (2007-03-29). "'Eragon' Breathes Fire on Competition". Home Media Magazine. Archived from the original on 2007-11-14. Retrieved 2007-11-06.
  16. ^ "Eragon Box Office & Rental Numbers". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on 2007-10-09. Retrieved 2007-11-06.
  17. ^ "Eragon (2006)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Archived from the original on August 21, 2020. Retrieved August 10, 2020.
  18. ^ Macdonald, Moira (2006-12-14). "Even preteens aren't slayed by familiar tale". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 2007-11-14. Retrieved 2007-11-06.
  19. ^ Honeycutt, Kirk (2006-12-14). "Eragon". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 2007-10-15. Retrieved 2007-11-06.
  20. ^ a b Hunter, Stephen. "Eragon". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-11-06.
  21. ^ a b Bell, Josh (2006-12-14). "Lord of the Wings". Las Vegas Weekly. Archived from the original on 2008-01-02. Retrieved 2007-11-06.
  22. ^ Seymour, Gene (2006-12-15). "Eragon". Newsday. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-11-06.
  23. ^ Ferguson, Jason (2006-12-14). "Eragon". Orlando Weekly. Archived from the original on 2007-10-11. Retrieved 2007-11-06.
  24. ^ Germain, David (2006-12-13). "'Eragon' is a 'Star Wars' wannabe". Archived from the original on 2018-01-09. Retrieved 2007-11-06.
  25. ^ "This Week's Movie Review: Nolan's Pop Culture Review #351". Archived from the original on 2008-08-28. Retrieved 2006-12-14.
  26. ^ "Urban Cinefile ERAGON". Archived from the original on 2019-07-26. Retrieved 2006-12-14.
  27. ^ Arnold, William (2006-12-14). "All that's missing are the hobbits". Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
  28. ^ "Shur' Movie Viewer". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27.
  29. ^ Jacobs, Evans (2007-03-20). "Stefan Fangmeier Creates Fantasy with Eragon". Archived from the original on 2007-03-23. Retrieved 2007-11-06.
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  34. ^ Segers, Frank (2006-12-18). "'Eragon' soars atop o'seas b.o". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007.
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  37. ^ McNary, Dave (2006-12-26). "'Eragon' brings box office heat abroad". Variety. Archived from the original on 2009-01-16. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  38. ^ "Around the World Roundup: 'Night' Reigns for Third Weekend - Box Office Mojo". Archived from the original on 2017-07-01. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
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  40. ^ "2006 Yearly Box Office Results - Box Office Mojo". Archived from the original on 2007-10-30. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  41. ^ "Eragon (2006) - Financial Information".
  42. ^ Hellomynameis99, Jack (21 June 2021). "Press Kit". Archived from the original on 3 September 2021. Retrieved 3 September 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  43. ^ Otterson, Joe (July 25, 2022). "'Eragon' TV Series Adaptation in Development at Disney+ (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Archived from the original on July 25, 2022. Retrieved July 25, 2022.

External links edit