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Category:    Home > Reviews > Fantasy > Eragon (Blu-ray + DVD-Video)

Eragon (Blu-ray + DVD-Video)


Picture: B/B-     Sound: B+/B     Extras: C-/C     Film: C



Christopher Paolini’s book Eragon (the first part of yet another trilogy) is supposed to be terrific and a favorite of Fantasy fans all over, but you might not know that after watching Stefen Fangmeier’s very flat feature film version (downscripted by Peter Buchmnan) from 2006.  It did not do very well and especially after so many other films in the genre that did work, why this was not more ambitious has perplexed more than a few fans, readers and critics.


A blue dragon’s egg could be the key the turning a civil war as a crazy dictator (John Malkovich in mixed form) is out on a killing spree that will ruin the world.  The egg is discovered by Eragon (Edward Speleers) who become the target of Galbatorix (Malkovich), his sorcerer/assassin Durza (Robert Carlyle, the good actor once again wasted as he was in The World Is Not Enough) and has little help or support in the meantime.  Jeremy Irons, Djimon Hounsou and Rachel Weisz also star and nobody can save this pseudo-quest mess.


That leaves the question of why Fox and the producers were not more ambitious or serious about making this film work, especially with sequel possibilities.  It becomes frustrating to fans when producers think they can make just anything and throw it out there.  That is what happened here and if they think bad publicity and curiosity interest will sell this, that is bad.  Fans and customers deserve more for their money.







The 2.35 X 1 image was shot in Super 35mm by Hugh Johnson, but has so much digital work and especially bad digital effects that anything that works is brought down by a certain level of degradation.  The anamorphically enhanced DVD-Video is typical of the somewhat colorless look of these films and how they translate in lower definition, but the 1080p digital MPEG-2 @ 20 MBPS High Definition Blu-ray reveals just how bad the digital is and how good some of the other shots must have been before the process in comparison to the DVD.  Phony and forgettable is the impression both formats give.


The Dolby Digital 5.1 on the DVD is fair with good surrounds, the DTS 5.1 is better, but nothing special in or from that mix, while the DTS HD Master Audio version has much more fullness and punch in the more active scenes.  Like Dragonheart, surrounds are more active when there are battles and showing this film learned nothing from any of the Lord Of The Rings, scenes without them are dull.  Patrick Doyle’s score is a disappointment.


Extras on the Blu-ray only include the original theatrical trailer since this is a 35GB disc, but the two-DVD set offers that, Director's Commentary with Stefen Fangmeier on DVD 1, DVD 2 has extended/deleted scenes (with optional commentary again by Fangmeier), stills, storyboards and several featurettes with subchapters.  A single Widescreen DVD is also out there with less extras.


Why Fox did not do a 50GB Blu-ray here is likely because they want the film to catch on.  It might with some genre fans, but the rest will likely consider it another part of a long glut of Fantasy product.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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