Eragon (film)

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Eragon
Eragon Teaser Poster 10.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Stefen Fangmeier
Produced by John Davis
Adam Goodman
Gil Netter
Screenplay by Peter Buchman
Based on Eragon 
by Christopher Paolini
Starring Edward Speleers
Jeremy Irons
Sienna Guillory
Robert Carlyle
Djimon Hounsou
Garrett Hedlund
Joss Stone
Rachel Weisz (voice)
John Malkovich
Music by Patrick Doyle
Cinematography Hugh Johnson
Edited by Roger Barton
Masahiro Hirakubo
Chris Lebenzon
Production
company
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • December 15, 2006 (2006-12-15)
Running time 104 minutes
Country United States
United Kingdom
Hungary
Australia
Language British English
Budget $100 million
Box office $249,488,115

Eragon is a 2006 fantasy-adventure film based on the novel of the same name by author Christopher Paolini. The cast includes Edward Speleers in the title role, Jeremy Irons, Garrett Hedlund, Sienna Guillory, Robert Carlyle, John Malkovich, Djimon Hounsou, Alun Armstrong, Joss Stone, and the voice of Rachel Weisz as Saphira the dragon.

The film was directed by Stefen Fangmeier, a first-time director, who had previously worked as a visual effects director on Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. The screenplay was written by Peter Buchman, who is best known for Jurassic Park III. Principal photography took place at the Mafilm Fót Studios in Hungary, starting on August 1, 2005. Visual effects and animation were by Weta Digital and Industrial Light & Magic.

Eragon was released worldwide between December 13 and December 15, 2006 by 20th Century Fox. It was the 10th worst reviewed film of 2006 on Rotten Tomatoes,[1] and the 31st highest grossing film of 2006 in the US.[2] A DVD and Blu-ray of the film was released March 20, 2007. It has first aired on Disney XD in the United States as a television broadcast on April 6, 2009.

Plot[edit]

See also: Eragon

Eragon (Ed Speleers) is a 17-year-old farm boy who lives in the small village of Carvahall in the fictional country of Alagaësia. The story begins with Arya, an elf and princess of Ellesméra, running for her life with a "stone" stolen from the evil king, Galbatorix. She is surrounded by a ring of fire created by a shade (dark sorcerer) called Durza, and to protect the stone from him she uses her magic to send it to a distant forest where the young farmer Eragon is hunting for food. The stone magically appears before Eragon who then takes it to his hometown in hopes of trading it for food. After he brings it home, he realizes it is an egg as a blue dragon hatches from it. As he reaches to touch the dragon, a magical mark is burned into his palm, magic that is felt all across the land by those who have a connection to legend of the dragon, mainly Arya, a former dragon rider named Brom, and Galbatorix himself. Eragon tries to keep the dragon and take care of it until Galbatorix sends the Ra'zac (his monster minions) to capture Eragon and his new dragon. Eragon sends the dragon into the sky so she may learn to fly, which she succeeds before returning to him fully grown due to her magic. She reveals herself to him as Saphira and that they are able to hear each other's thoughts. After seeing the Ra'zac in town, Eragon hurries home to protect his uncle, but Saphira picks him up and tells him that the monsters are after him. When he finally gets home, Eragon finds his uncle dead and blames Saphira, sending her away. As he mourns over his uncle's body, Brom arrives, asking Eragon to call his dragon. After a brief scuffle, Brom implores Eragon to leave town, in which they do after Brom sets fire to his uncle's barn, burning his remains.

On the way to the Varden (rebel freedom fighters devoted to destroying Galbatorix), Eragon learns that he and Saphira have a special attachment like other dragon riders, and if he dies, she will die as well. Brom also tells him that he is not fully ready to face the Ra'zac or Durza, and starts training him in sword-fighting and magic. On the way they take shelter in a small village, where a fortune-teller tells Eragon that a woman is calling her name so that he can save her and his path is full of deadly obstacles. Soon they are attacked by Urgals, but Eragon unintentionally produces magic, which wipes them out and causes him to go unconscious from the strain of the magic. Eragon soon learns how to produce small scale magic and to bond his powers with Saphira.

After seeing Ra'zac's fall, Durza uses his black magic on Arya, setting a trap to make Eragon come to him and try to rescue her. Even after Brom's warning, Eragon comes and rescues Arya till he is confronted by Durza. During the fight, Durza magically hurls a spear at Eragon, but Brom throws himself in the way and is mortally wounded. During the fight, Eragon shoots an arrow into Durza's head, causing him to disappear. They all escape from there and soon Brom dies of his wounds, while flying on the wings of a dragon one last time.

Following the way to find the Varden, Eragon takes oath so that he may fulfill Brom's destiny: to overthrow the tyrannical empire of the evil king, Galbatorix. As Arya goes weak from Durza's poison, Eragon confronts a hooded figure that has been following him. He reveals himself to be Murtagh, who offers to take them to the Varden. Once there, the Varden welcome the new rider, but expose Murtagh for what he really is, the son of the traitorous Morzan who betrayed the dragon riders. Eragon, Saphira, Arya, and the Varden prepare for war as Durza and his men surround the rebel camp. The Varden fight with Galbatorix's men as Eragon and Saphira duel in the skies with Durza flying on a shadowy beast of dark magic. Eragon and Saphira are successful in killing Durza, but not before Saphira is mortally wounded in the battle. Eragon uses his magic to heal her wounds and once again passes out from the strain.

The following morning, Eragon awakes with Murtagh at his side. He calls for Saphira, fearing she might have died from the battle, but she appears fully healed. They fly off together to catch up with Arya as she is on her way to Ellesméra to help lead the elves against Galbatorix in the coming war. She calls Eragon "Shadeslayer" and bids him goodbye. Meanwhile in Galbatorix's castle, angered that his men were defeated by a mere boy, the King rips off a curtain, revealing his pitch black dragon, Shruikan, who breathes fire, and the film ends.

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.[citation needed]

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.[3]

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.[4]

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.[5]

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.[6] The studio had been inspired by the Angel's wings in X-Men: The Last Stand.[7] 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.[8] It was eventually decided that Saphira's colors scheme should be subdued rather than vibrant in order to be more realistic.[7]

Music[edit]

Eragon: Music from the Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by Patrick Doyle
Released December 12, 2006 (2006-12-12)
Recorded 2005–2006
Length 55:24
Label RCA
Producer Patrick Doyle, Maggie Rodford
Patrick Doyle chronology
Wah-Wah
(2006)
Eragon
(2006)
The Last Legion
(2007)
Singles from Eragon soundtrack
  1. "Keep Holding On"
    Released: November 17, 2006 (2006-11-17)

The score for the film was composed by Patrick Doyle who also did the score of 2005's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Avril Lavigne also recorded the theme song for the film, entitled "Keep Holding On", which was featured in the credits and on the soundtrack.[9] The track was released as a single in 2006 (and later as a track on her 2007 album The Best Damn Thing) and reached 17 on Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in America.[10]

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]

Main article: Eragon (video game)

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 on VHS,[11] 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.[12] It grossed more than US$35.2 million in rentals.[13] It was released on DVD in Europe on April 16, 2007 and in Australia on April 18, 2007. It is believed to be the final film released on VHS in the US.

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Eragon was one of the worst reviewed films of 2006; 16% of reviews by critics were positive with an average rating of 4.1/10 at Rotten Tomatoes.[14] The consensus reads "Written by a teenager (and it shows), Eragon presents nothing new to the "hero's journey" story archetype. In movie terms, this movie looks and sounds like Lord of the Rings and plays out like a bad Star Wars rip-off...the makers of Eragon should soon be expecting an annoyed phone call from George Lucas."[14] The Seattle Times described the film as "technically accomplished, but fairly lifeless and at times a bit silly".[15] The Hollywood Reporter said the world of Eragon was "without much texture or depth."[16] The story was labeled "derivative" by The Washington Post,[17] and "generic" by the Las Vegas Weekly.[18] 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."[19] The acting was called "lame" by the Washington Post,[17] plus "stilted" and "lifeless" by the Orlando Weekly.[20] The dialogue was also criticized, with MSNBC labelling it "silly";[21] the Las Vegas Weekly called it "wooden".[18]

Positive reviews described the film as "fun"[22] and "the stuff boys' fantasies are made of."[23] The CGI work was called "imaginative" and Saphira was called a "magnificent creation."[24] Christopher Paolini stated he enjoyed the film, particularly praising the performances of Jeremy Irons and Edward Speleers.[25]

Box office[edit]

Eragon grossed approximately $75 million in the US and $173.9 million elsewhere, grossing $249 million worldwide.[26] Director Stefen Fangmeier believes that Fox was "modestly happy with the worldwide box office."[27] Eragon is the 13th highest grossing fantasy-live action film within the United States; 21st when adjusted for inflation.[28] It is the third highest grossing film with a dragon at its focal point.[29][30] Adjusted for inflation it falls to eighth place behind such films as Willow, Dragonheart, The Dark Crystal and Conan the Barbarian.[31]

Eragon was in release for 17 weeks in the US, opening on December 15, 2006 and closing on April 8, 2007.[32] 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.[33] 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,[34] the 41st biggest second weekend drop since this statistic was kept.[35] Eragon's $75 million total US gross was the 31st highest for 2006.[36]

The film earned $150 million in its opening weekend across 76 overseas markets, making it the #1 film worldwide.[37] 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.[38] The foreign box office competition for the film's opening week was "soft;"[39] had Eragon been released one year earlier, it would have been placed fourth.[40] Eragon's UK opening was "a disappointment,"[38] in Australia it was "solid if unimpressive,"[38] but its most impressive market was France,[41] where the film earned more than $21 million.[42] The film's $249 million total worldwide gross was the 16th highest for 2006.[43] Eragon grossed $86,995,160 on DVD from March 20, 2007 – May 13, 2007.[44]

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ "8th Annual Golden Tomatoes Awards". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  2. ^ "2006 Yearly Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  3. ^ Lyall, Sarah (2006-07-20). "He Was a Teenage Spy, Surrounded by Treacherous Adults". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-05-01. 
  4. ^ "More Eragon Stills!". CanMag. 2006-08-15. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  5. ^ Carnivale, Rob. "Eragon — Jeremy Irons interview". IndieLondon. Retrieved 2008-07-28. 
  6. ^ Moerk, Christian (2006-12-10). "How Does a Dragon Look When It Talks? Ask a Wildebeest". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-28. 
  7. ^ a b Bielik, Alain (2006-12-13). "Eragon: Conjuring A Compelling CG Dragon". VFXWorld. Animation World Network. Retrieved 2008-11-19. 
  8. ^ Robertson, Barbara (2006-12-19). "Beneath the Surface: Eragon's Viewpainter". CGSociety. Retrieved 2008-10-21. 
  9. ^ ""Keep Holding On" now playing at radio!". Avril Lavigne. 2006-11-20. Archived from the original on 2007-05-08. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  10. ^ "Artist Chart History — Avril Lavigne". Billboard. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  11. ^ http://www.amazon.com/Eragon-VHS-Ed-Speleers/dp/B00005JOLJ
  12. ^ Arnold, Thomas K. (2007-03-29). "'Eragon' Breathes Fire on Competition". Home Media Magazine. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  13. ^ "Eragon Box Office & Rental Numbers". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on 2007-10-09. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  14. ^ a b "Eragon". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  15. ^ Macdonald, Moira (2006-12-14). "Even preteens aren't slayed by familiar tale". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  16. ^ Honeycutt, Kirk (2006-12-14). "Eragon". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  17. ^ a b Hunter, Stephen. "Eragon". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  18. ^ a b Bell, Josh (2006-12-14). "Lord of the Wings". Las Vegas Weekly. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  19. ^ Seymour, Gene (2006-12-15). "Eragon". Newsday. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  20. ^ Ferguson, Jason (2006-12-14). "Eragon". Orlando Weekly. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  21. ^ Germain, David (2006-12-13). "'Eragon' is a 'Star Wars' wannabe". MSNBC. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  22. ^ This Week's Movie Review Nolan's Pop Culture Review #351
  23. ^ Urban Cinefile ERAGON
  24. ^ Arnold, William (2006-12-14). "All that's missing are the hobbits". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 
  25. ^ Shur'tugal.com Movie Viewer
  26. ^ Eragon (2006)
  27. ^ Jacobs, Evans (2007-03-20). "Stefan Fangmeier Creates Fantasy with Eragon". Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  28. ^ "Fantasy — Live Action Movies". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2007-10-31. 
  29. ^ "Dragon- Focal Point of Movie Movies". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2007-10-31. 
  30. ^ "Sword and Sorcery Movies". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2007-10-31. 
  31. ^ "Adjusting for Movie Ticket Price Inflation". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2007-10-31. 
  32. ^ Eragon (2006)
  33. ^ Weekend Box Office Results for December 15–17, 2006
  34. ^ Weekend Box Office Results for December 22–24, 2006
  35. ^ Biggest Second Weekend Drops at the Box Office
  36. ^ 2006 Yearly Box Office Results
  37. ^ Segers, Frank (2006-12-18). "'Eragon' soars atop o'seas b.o". The Hollywood Reporter. [dead link]
  38. ^ a b c Around the World Roundup: 'Eragon' Claims Top Spot
  39. ^ Movie & TV News @ IMDb.com - Studio Briefing - 27 December 2006
  40. ^ McNary, Dave (2006-12-26). "'Eragon' brings box office heat abroad". Variety. 
  41. ^ Around the World Roundup: 'Night' Reigns for Third Weekend
  42. ^ Eragon (2006) - International Box Office Results
  43. ^ 2006 Yearly Box Office Results
  44. ^ [1]

External links[edit]