You know something is wrong with the world when Saw III has competition for the title of worst movie of the year. To be fair, I know this is a movie geared towards children and their families, but it’s still horrible. What upsets me the most about this wave of fantasy films that have been brought on by the success of The Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter series is that studios never know when enough is enough. Now, I’ll be honest, I don’t care too much for the Potter films, but they aren’t horrible, even The Chronicles of Narnia was kind of entertaining, but let’s cut the chord already. Hang it up, please. If you want to watch a good family film with your kids, take them to see Bridge to Terabithia, or rent any of Hayao Miyazaki’s films, don’t waste your time on Eragon.

The film is based on the very popular novel by Christopher Paolini. Paolini wrote the book when he was a teenager, and it shows. The story is a complete rip off of just about any major work of fantasy fiction you can think of, the references are endless. It easily borrows from Rings, Potter, Star Wars, Narnia, even Dune. Now, I have no problem with paying homage to your influences, but by virtually lifting a story from someone else, and changing a few names here and there, and substituting a dragon for a ring, Paolini confirms himself as a complete hack. I don’t care how young he was when he wrote the book.

The film itself is laughably bad. Big stars like John Malkovich, Jeremy Irons, and Djimon Hounsou show up to collect their paychecks and that’s about it, even Rachel Weisz contributes as the voice of the dragon’s mind, or something of that nature. The director is Stefen Fangmeier, a Hollywood special effects wizard that some thought would be good enough to direct a feature film. The sad part is, not only does his direction suck, but the special effects are lame. I would say that Fangmeier shouldn’t quit his day job, but I think maybe he should.

Enough of the ragging. The story concerns a 17 year old boy named Eragon (blandly played by newcomer Ed Speelers), who finds a dragon egg while hunting. What he doesn’t know, is that he is destined to be a dragon rider. Jeremy Irons does his best to not act too much like Yoda, and trains young Eragon in the ways of riding dragons. I know, it sounds very exciting. Eragon’s goal is to defeat the evil King Galbatorix (Malkovich). Battles ensue and the dragon breaths fire. You can pretty much guess the rest.

As I have already said, I know it’s for kids, and most that are young enough will surely enjoy it, I know my son did, dragons and swords are pretty cool when your six. Parents will be ready to gouge out their eyes, but they’ll sit quietly, like I did, because they love their children.

The film is rated PG for fantasy violence, intense battle sequences, and some frightening images. The DVD will be available on March 20th, in a one disc bare bones version, and a two disc version that’s loaded with special features. Unless your kids are dying to see it you would be wise to avoid it, I’m sure something better will be in stock.

Clayton is 24 years old and is attending college. He was born and raised in Souther Ohio, and became a film fanatic at the age of six. He now considers himself a snob when it comes to film, but he will watch anything once, and relishes the opportunity to force his opinions on the world. Clayton lis married and has a young son, who is becoming quite the critic himself. The three of them live in Columbus, and chances are, at least one of them is watching a movie right now.

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