A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the movie's content is just right for the target 'tweener audience. It has its scary moments, with several scenes featuring dark woods, eerie wind, abrupt violence, big battles and a frightening evil wizard with red and black makeup. Swords, arrows, and spears produce some bloody wounds and several dead bodies, and one-on-one fight scenes include kicking, punching, swordplay, and falling. Eragon confronts and feels guilty about a family member's death (the corpse is visible, with a bloody face).
What's the story?
When Eragon (Edward Speleers) goes hunting in the forest, he discovers a glowing blue stone. Little does he know that it's a dragon egg, and that the beast about to hatch has selected him (and only him) to be her rider. He meets a wise former rider named Brom (Jeremy Irons) and helps regain the kingdom of Alagaesia from the gnarly, paranoid, seldom-seen King Galbatorix (John Malkovich).
Is it any good?
For a movie about flying dragons, ERAGON is disappointingly flatfooted. With plot points borrowed from a range of other movies -- whether great like Star Wars or dismal like Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker -- it tells the tale of an ordinary-seeming boy, Eragon, who's destined for great things.
It's hardly a good sign that much of the back story must be narrated (by Irons) before the movie really begins. The unnecessarily talky set-up names some of the different types of creatures in Alagaësia (bad Urgels and Ra'zac, mostly good humans), then goes on to describe Eragon's reactions and feelings, even when you can see them yourself. At 17, he's not exactly a child, but he still grows up quickly under the auspices of Obi-Wan-like Brom and flying, fire-breathing, cranky dragon Saphira (voiced somewhat stiffly by Rachel Weisz). Their approaches to his education are different, but both intend to get him ready to reintroduce the grandeur of the dragon riders back into current lore.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the movie differs from the book. What worked better in the book and what in the movie? Why?
Those who didn't read the story might talk about Eragon's response to being "chosen" by the dragon.
Why are dragons such fascinating creatures in fiction and legends?
Families can also talk about the movie's similarities to (and differences from) other fantasy and sci-fi classics, like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. What elements of Eragon's story are unique? Which ones have you seen before?
- In theaters: December 14, 2006
- On DVD or streaming: March 20, 2007
- Cast: Edward Speelers, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Guillory
- Director: Stefan Fangmeier
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Book characters
- Run time: 104 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: battle sequences and frightening moments
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.