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Published: Friday, 12/15/2006

Movie review: Eragon *

BY CHRISTOPHER BORRELLI
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Here s what I got from Eragon, the new dragon adventure Lord of the Rings-Star Wars mash-up, adapted from precocious 22-year-old Christopher Paolini s popular fantasy novels. I learned that before you cast a spell, you must know the Ancient Spell of the Elves. (I know they ve left any elf-on-elf contact for the sequel.) I know that Eragon is not a Pontiac. I know Eragon is not a Viggo Mortensen. (That would be Aragorn, of the swagger and sword.) I know that Eragon is a poor farm boy and according to Jeremy Irons, who plays his Jedi Mast who plays his mentor Eragon is one part brave, three parts foolish. I know I was thinking, Two parts Skywalker.

I know Eragon is an idiot.

He finds a blue egg.

What could it be?

A jellybean? A suppository?

It hatches, and what emerges is a blue springer spaniel with wings and a forked tail. I knew Eragon was a few silos short of a farm when he asked What are you? I know what a dragon looks like and I don t live in a land where dragons ever existed.

I know Eragon (played by newcomer Ed Speleers) looks like a Kennedy. I know it s weird when a dragon can talk, and this one does. (I know dragon Saphira has the silky throat of Rachel Weisz but I still imagine Judi Dench.)

I know Eragon is towheaded and reckless and sits on hills and stares into the sun of Tatooine, ahem, the sun of his woodland Habitrail the land of Alagaesia, not to be confused with Durza the Sorcerer (Robert Carlyle, looking like Fiona Apple) or Arya the Princess Leia (Sienna Guillory). I know that the Ra zac move by night, probably because you d see how cheap their costumes looked in the daylight. I know one character was wearing a too-new pair of dungarees.

No, I m certain of it.

I know that, despite the press book coming with a glossary and the long, rich history of tales of young, untested heroes thrown into battle I know the only real legend being addressed here is the legend of George Lucas. I know that Eragon is so unimaginative that the baroque language used to summon magic is called, ta da, the Ancient Language. And when Paolini wants to reference the Rebel Alliance from Star Wars sorry, pay homage to he refers to the rebels that Eragon must hook up with, then storm the imposing evil fortress rescuing a feisty young princess.

I know John Malkovich plays sinister lord Galbatorix you know a character is evil when he has an x in his name. And I know director Stefen Fangmeier, one of the motion picture industry s true visual effects geniuses, gets the dragon right but puts on a road-show Peter Jackson imitation when it comes to every other corner of art direction. (Malkovich s dark castle is direct from Ozzy s Bark at the Moon Tour.)

And finally, I know Paolini was home-schooled in Montana, and according to press notes, his books reflect his personal experiences growing up in a valley of the Beartooth Mountains of Montana but it fails to mention the length of the extension cord he needed to drag a DVD player and a copy of Star Wars into that.



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