starring Edward Speleers, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Guillory, John Malkovich
screenplay by Peter Buchman and Lawrence Konner & Mark Rosenthal, based on the novel by Christopher Paolini
directed by Stefen Fangmeier
by Walter Chaw Fears that veteran F/X man Stefen Fangmeier's directorial debut Eragon, a feature-length adaptation of a fifteen-year-old trying on Anne McCaffrey's jodhpurs, would be the sequel to Dragonheart nobody wanted prove unwarranted, as Eragon is actually the sequel to BloodRayne that nobody wanted. It's ugly as sin, with the much-vaunted dragon at its centre (voiced by Rachel Weisz), designed by skilled craftspeople from both Peter Jackson's WETA workshop and Industrial Light and Magic, looking fatally inorganic to its environment. Not helping matters, the titular rider (Edward Speleers) resembles a younger, equally rubbery David Lee Roth and sports the acting chops of the same. Eragon is the towheaded farmboy who heeds a call to glory to save Sienna Guillory's beautiful Princess Arya ("Help me Eragon, you're my only hope") while gaining a mysterious old hermit mentor (Jeremy Irons--the poor sod should've learned his lesson with Dungeons & Dragons) who dies during a daring raid on the Death Star--er, on the castle keep of Darth Vader, er, King Galbatorix (John Malkovich). Alas, this Luke Skywalker also has an Uncle Owen (Uncle Garrow (Alun Armstrong)), and his Darth Vader has a henchman (Robert Carlyle) who at one point kills an underling general and declares the second-in-command "promoted." Eragon is a rip-off and a bad one, a carbon copy made on one of those old mimeograph machines: washed out, juvenile (even weighed against the not-exactly-mature example of Star Wars), and nigh unbearable for anyone so much as cursorily familiar with genre fare.