Eragon: Special Edition

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

The land of Alagaesia was once a thriving kingdom, ruled over by a group of powerful, but fair warriors. These warriors rode immense and powerful dragons, fearsome beasts that obeyed their masters to the letter. But as time passed, some of the riders began to want more power for themselves, so a struggle for that power soon started. Galbatorix (John Malkovich) was the most power greedy of all, seeking to take over not just some control, but all power over Alagaesia. He was the leader of a band of dark riders, who took on anyone who stood in Galbatorix’s path to power. As the other riders, the ones who stood for justice and right, were taken down, a dark cloud began to loom over the once proud kingdom. Now Galbatorix has named himself the new ruler and in order to keep that control, the only dragon eggs in the land are held by his forces. But an elf is eventually able to infiltrate his castle and transport one of the eggs, which is discovered by a young boy named Eragon (Ed Speleers). He isn’t sure what the egg is, but once it hatches and the dragon Saphira emerges, the two have an instant connection. As Galbatorix learns of this and dispatches his minions, can Eragon and Saphira work to return peace to Alagaesia?

I could tell from the previews that Eragon was going to suck. The movie just looked awful and even with John Malkovich and Jeremy Irons on board, it looked more like a Sci/Fi Original. I obviously skipped Eragon at the theater, but with the movie out on Blu-ray, I figured at least the visuals would impress. As it happens, Eragon isn’t as bad as I expected, in truth it is much worse and was a total waste of time. I think we all know that “borrowing” elements from other movies is common, but Eragon lifts from so many different sources, its hilarious. But borrowing isn’t an instant damnation, though you do need to make those borrowed elements work, which doesn’t happen here. There isn’t even a hint of uniqueness or originality here and as if that isn’t bad enough, the pace is miserable and the movie is a total bore. I don’t mind exposition, but this movie drags on and doesn’t pick up until close to the end, but even then, don’t expect a dynamic conclusion. I like fantasy movies and hoped Eragon would be another epic, but instead is a boring and dull experience. This two disc Special Edition has a good selection of bonus materials, but lacks the visual polish and audio depth of the Blu-ray release. If the presentation of the movie itself is the main for you, as it is with me, then you’ll want the Blu-ray, but if you prefer extras over presentation, this is your best option.

Video: How does it look?

Eragon is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The transfer here can’t compete with the one found on the Blu-ray edition, but it still looks quite good. As was the case with the Blu-ray version, you’ll notice some softness at times, in what seems to be an effort to mask the weaker special effects. The detail level is still solid, by standard DVD scale, while the image is clean and clear throughout. The colors are bright and bold, while contrast is smooth and consistent. Not much else we can discuss here, a very good transfer that does the material justice.

Audio: How does it sound?

Fox has included both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 options, but don’t expect the world from this material. This sounds very good, but lacks the kind of depth and range I anticipated. Then again, the film was much less action driven than I expected, so that change in tone is reflected in the soundtrack. The action scenes do sound quite good though, with some power and bass that stands out. I wouldn’t rank those scenes as elite level however, just good, but good is enough in this case. The music sounds good also, while dialogue is clear and not a single line is lost. This release also includes French and Spanish language tracks, as well as subtitles in English and Spanish.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The sole extra on the first is an audio commentary with director Steffen Fangmeier is included, but there is good reason it wasn’t listed as a bonus. That reason is because the track is dismal, Fangmeier seems to want to narrate for us most of the time, with only minor insights in between. I didn’t expect an in depth technical track for a movie like this, but I did expect to hear more about the cast and special effects, not mere narration. The rest of the supplements are the second disc, including The Magic of Eragon, in which author Christopher Paolini tries to defend his material. He seems to believe his concepts are original, which makes this a very laughable featurette. You can also check out featurettes on the development of the primary characters, how Saphira was designed, and a look inside the special effects process. If you’re into storyboards, you’ll find galleries of both production storyboards and ones that were created, but not used within the final version of the material. This release also includes a look at the next volume in the series, some deleted scenes, and the film’s teaser and theatrical trailers.

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