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The Big Movie Star: Eragon (PG)

Weekend!Movies: Now they've gone and made dragons boring
by: COURTESY OF TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX, Exercising power not found in the film itself, sorcerer Durza (Robert Carlyle) shows Arya (Sienna Guillory) who’s boss.

'Eragon' is an epic fantasy film based on a novel written by a 15-year-old kid.

Isn't that something? Why, to see it you'd swear it was based on a novel by a 12-year-old.

Most 15-year-olds will be too old to be excited by this cinematic Happy Meal featuring a dragon that is better described as a powder-blue kitty cat. The movie might be better titled 'Dragon Lord of the Narnian Potters,' to capture the shopping-list familiarity of it all.

Raised in a magical land where everything resembles something from another movie, our young hero Eragon (any resemblance to the name Aragorn from 'Lord of the Rings' is, well, you know) discovers his true calling as one of the heroic dragon riders of legend.

This poses a threat to evil king Somethingorother, who thought he had rid the kingdom of troublesome dragonslingers long ago.

The king is played by John Malkovich, who seems to have been filmed in an airport lounge between planes, then digitally costumed and inserted into the proceedings.

His entire role consists of briefly rising from his throne to issue threats to his vampiric minion (Robert Carlyle), one of those malevolent beings who has limitless powers until it is more convenient for him to have limited powers.

Eragon's mentor Obi-Wan - or is it Gandalf? - is played by Jeremy Irons, whose appearance here and in 'Dungeons and Dragons' a few years back suggests that his agent is another precocious 15-year-old.

Anyway, Obi-Wan-dalf teaches Eragon how to speak fluent gibberish and communicate telepathically with his dragon. Dragons, you see, gave up speaking aloud when they lost the ability to sound like Sean Connery.

In terms of ferocity, the dragon (vocal by Rachel Weisz) appears to be the spawn of Pete's Dragon from the Disney cartoon and Gizmo from 'Gremlins.'

When the final battle is joined and Pizmo finally unleashes fiery breath worthy of a Burger King flame-broil promotion, it's almost enough to awaken any parents who haven't had the foresight to drop the kids off at the theater and go Christmas shopping.

Oh, and before I forget (which I'm trying as hard as I can to do), the director's name is Stefen Fangmeier, which sounds exactly like the name of someone who would make a movie like this.

- Pat Holmes

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