Christian Themes Extolled in Entertaining "Eragon"
- Lisa Rice Contributing Writer
- 2006 15 Dec
DVD Release Date: March 20, 2007
Theatrical Release Date: December 15, 2006
Genre: Science fiction
Run Time: 104 min.
Director: Stefan Fangmeier
Actors: Edward Speleers, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Guillory, Robert Carlyle, John Malkovich, Garrett Hedlund, Alun Armstrong, Christopher Egan, Gary Lewis, Djimon Hounsou, and Rachel Weisz
Ah, don’t we miss the days of the dragons! Remember the stories of when valiant men rode fierce dragons to conquer evil and keep the empire safe?
Well, 20th Century Fox’s “Eragon” now brings such a tale to the big screen in living color. It's a “Star Wars” meets “The Lord of the Rings” science fiction flick that’s terrific family entertainment for the holidays.
The story begins with some background on why there are no more dragons in the land. It turns out that, in years past, one of the dragon riders, Galbatorix (John Malkovich), betrayed the others, killing the dragons and riders alike and making himself king. Now he is bent on finding what remain of the resistance, the Varden, or freedom fighters he crushed, who are rumored to live in the mountains. Legend has it that this secluded remnant is waiting and hoping for a leader who will come and deliver them from Galbatorix’s reign of terror.
Meanwhile, a young farm boy, Eragon (Edward Speleers) ventures out to the woods to hunt, and he comes upon a strange blue object which he brings back to the village. Galbatorix sees, through his head “shade,” or sorcerer, Durza (Robert Carlyle), that a boy has found this prize – the fertile egg of a dragon that escaped his slaughter. The king vows to find the boy and kill him before he becomes a man and can lead the resistance to triumph.
The boy shows the dragon egg to the butcher, who is terrified and tells Eragon to hide it and tell no one else of its existence. Soon the egg hatches, and a little dragon emerges, whom Eragon feeds and hides and teaches to fly in a secluded field. Eventually the dragon flies away.
The boy investigates further and overhears one of the men in town, Brom (Jeremy Irons) talking some nonsense about the days of dragons, dragon riders, and the hope for a deliverer. “The time of the dragon riders will come again,” he cries. The others pay him no attention, but Eragon persists, finally working his way into the old man’s life.
Eragon tells the old man about the egg and the dragon, and Brom eventually tells the boy that he is the promised deliverer and that he must walk in wisdom for the sake of the very existence of the Varden. He scolds Eragon for being “one part brave, three parts stupid,” and he vows to train his young protégée in the ways of the fighters. As they travel together to the secret dwelling of the Varden, Eragon discovers a shocking secret about his mentor. The men are joined by the returning dragon, now fully grown and speaking. She tells them her name is Saphira (voice of Rachel Weisz), that she can hear his thoughts, that her destiny is to come alongside and help him on his mission, and that she will die for him, if necessary. She tells him that she chose him, and she warns him that if a rider dies, so does his dragon.
Together the threesome ventures off to save the Varden, but they are met by constant conflict. Eragon sees visions of the beautiful Arya (Sienna Guillory), locked in Galbatorix’s hideous castle, and he feels compelled to detour the journey and save her. He meets some companions along the way and must discern who is friend and who is foe, and he is constantly assailed by the subtle and not-so-subtle message of, “You’re not quite who we were looking for … We expected more. …” Only if he can overcome the assaults from without and the fears from within will Eragon and his team make it to the mountains, find the hidden resistance and help the Varden wage a “man and dragon” battle that could make or break the empire.
“Eragon” is a thoroughly delightful, highly entertaining movie that is chock-full of spiritual allegories. It’s all about promised deliverers, evil kings trying to kill boys, a sorcerer “possessed by demonic spirits,” etc. And how about these quotes: “Know the word, and you control the thing. If you use it wrongly, before you’re ready, it can kill you.” “It’s good to be brave, but sometimes it’s better to be wise.” “Our power is greatest when we’re together.” “Without fear, there can be no courage.” “When we are together, it is our enemies who should be afraid.”
Though in other movies dragons are evil, in this one they’re good; they are ancient companions, called alongside to help. Sound familiar?
On other levels, the movie also measures up beautifully. It’s always delightful to see John Malkovich and Jeremy Irons, who pull off their roles superbly. The filming is beautiful, with creepy surroundings and scary bad guys, and the dragon scenes and ending battle sequences are amazing. Very high dollar with great special effects.
The only caution is that some of the fighting is intense and scary, and the king, his sorcerer, his army, and his dragon could be very frightening to young children under about ten or eleven. Otherwise, “Eragon” should be the perfect escape this month for the family all fed up with Christmas stress and ready to fly and conquer with the dragons.
AUDIENCE: Older children and adults
- Drugs/Alcohol: None
- Language: None
- Sex & Nudity: None
- Violence: Evil king kills some of his henchmen by stabbing, melting; girl gets tortured, though nothing overtly shown; intense battles with dragons and men, etc.