Follow TV Tropes


Film / Eragon

Go To

Eragon is a 2006 action-adventure fantasy film directed by Stefen Fangmeier in his directorial debut. It is an adaptation of Eragon, the first book in the Inheritance Cycle, and stars Ed Speleers as Eragon, Jeremy Irons as Brom, Rachel Weisz as the voice of Saphira and John Malkovich as Galbatorix. Like its contemporary The Golden Compass, the movie took considerable liberties, leaving the core story basically intact, but changing numerous details from the book.

The film was intended to be the first in a franchise based on the whole of the book series, with plans made for Fangmeier to shoot adaptations of the next two books (Eldest and Brisingr) back-to-back. However, following the film's poor critical reception and commercial underperformance, the planned franchise was cancelled. Several unsuccessful petitions to remake the film or reboot the film series did gain sizable support, but the choice has reportedly been made to instead adapt the books as a TV series for Disney+.

A tie-in video game for the movie was released a month in advance.

The movie uses the following tropes:

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Angela. The books don't go out of their way to describe her, but they paint her clearly as a short woman with nothing more physically remarkable than a cute smile. Her film version, on the other hand, is a gorgeous woman with sensuous manners and dressed like an oriental dancer.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • In the book, Eragon only kills Durza with a distraction from Arya and Saphira giving him the opening to stab his heart. Here, it's pretty much all him.
    • Durza himself is made a much more competent and resourceful character. In the books, he struggled in a duel against an untrained Eragon, got easily fooled by Blatant Lies about Eragon's true name, had to retreat every time Saphira joined the scene, and was even temporarily killed by a regular arrow. Meanwhile, in the movie he seems in control all the time, never loses a fight until the final battle (Eragon shooting him is treated as a minor inconvenience), and even takes out Saphira without breaking a sweat by creating a shadow creature even more powerful than her.
  • Adaptational Heroism: In the books, Sloan voluntarily told the Ra'zac about Eragon, purely out of spite and knowing they would probably kill or kidnap him. His version from the film is still a jerkass to him, but only tells the Ra'zac about the stone after being horrifically tortured, which could even imply he actively tried to withhold the information from them in order to protect Eragon and his household.
  • Adaptational Personality Change: Arya is a notable example. In the books she's rather aloof and stoic, is a bit of a loner, and does not reciprocate Eragon's feelings in the slightest. Here, she's much friendlier and more expressive and seems to warm to Eragon very quickly, even expressing a hope they'll see each other again soon.
  • Adaptational Species Change:
    • The Ra'zac from the books are an already extant, ancient, inhuman race that has been hunted to near extinction by humans over hundreds of years, having a combination of insectoid and avian traits. In the movie, they summoned by Durza and rise up from the ground, looking likd some sort of dirty humanoid mummies, apparently created by magic.
    • The Urgals in the book are described as tall, large, grey-skinned Horned Humanoids, essentially like Orcs with horns. In the movie, nothing about their appearance implies that they are inhuman, instead basically looking like your typical fantasy barbarians. Apparently it was decided that make up or CGI to match the book was too expensive and time consuming.
    • All of the dwarves and elves are indistinguishable from humans. Elves lack pointed ears and dwarves are not shorter than humans, which can make it hard to tell if they're even supposed to be those species in the first place.
  • Adaptational Timespan Change: In the book, the story takes place over months to give Saphira time to grow up. In the movie, time is compressed to a matter of weeks so a magical age-up was introduced.
  • Adaptational Ugliness:
    • The Ra'zac in the books are wingless, insectoid birdmen, which are intended to be horrifying but still clearly recognizable as lifeforms. In the film, they are some sort of rotting dirty The Worm That Walks slash mummy creatures.
    • The Urgals here are humans with tattoos rather than horned orcs. Although how attractive they were in the first place is a seperate question.
    • Zig-zagged with the gedwey insignia, the mark of a Dragon Rider. While the film version is more intricate, being a stylized "e" instead of a mere oval mark, it is composed of gnarly scar tissue, whereas the original was essentially a silvery tattoo.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • The Empire. Though they're the villains in the books as well, they're much more blatantly evil in the film. For example, in the first book, the worst thing the Empire did to Carvahall was raise their taxes, but the place was otherwise a peaceful and prosperous village. Here, Carvahall looks like an utterly wretched place to live, with the Empire's guards keeping tabs on everyone, bullying people and even trying to beat up Brom merely for speaking about the old Riders; they also conscript people into the army as soon as they come of age (which is why Roran leaves Carvahall in the film, to avoid being forced to fight).
    • Galbatorix himself. The film leaves out his Freudian Excuse of losing his dragon and being driven mad by the loss and makes apparent that he is evil just because.
  • Adaptational Weapon Swap: Murtagh's skill with the sword is downplayed while he gets more aptitude as an archer.
  • Adaptational Wimp: The Ra'zac lack the strong exoskeletons and poisonous breath of their book counterparts, do not use Seithr oil-coated weapons, and are both taken down in a short fight with Eragon and Brom.
  • Adaptation Distillation: A lot of the first act gets compressed into a few days rather than taking place over months. Some of this is understandable given not much of importance happens in the book's first fourteen chapters besides Eragon finding Saphira and Garrow being killed.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • Arya is the most prominent example, barely resembling her book counterpart at all - in the books she's raven-haired and green-eyed with pointed ears, while in the film, she's a blue-eyed redhead and doesn't have pointed ears.
    • Eragon in the books has dark hair and eyes; in the film he's got blue eyes and blonde hair.
    • Brom is yet another example, as he looks substantially younger than his film book and has shorter hair and beard (detailed under Age Lift).
    • Durza's eyes are described as maroon in the books, but for the film it's changed to an extremely pale color.
  • Adaptation Origin Connection: In the film, Durza "summons" the Ra'zac from pits in his lair. In the books, Durza and them never interact with each other on-page and are completely unrelated other than being all servants of Galbatorix.
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: Downplayed. In the film, it's implied that Eragon has a crush on Katrina and is a bit upset that she prefers his cousin Roran; in the books, he never regards her in romantic terms, with Arya being instead his First Love.
  • Advertised Extra: Even though he's shown in many promotions and on the poster and the DVD cover, Galbatorix has very little screen time in the film. Justified in that he doesn't do anything in either to movie or book (he doesn't even appear until the last book of the series) and Durza is in the role of the main antagonist in both book and movie.
  • Age Lift:
    • Eragon is said to be fifteen, "a year from manhood" in the books' setting, at the start of the first book, but is seventeen in the movie, following the same logic with eighteen as the year of majority.
    • While his real age is presumably the same as in the book, Brom's appearance is changed from an elder to a middle-aged man in the movie. The Brom from the books is supposed to have a long, white Wizard Beard and matching hair, but his actor Jeremy Irons (58 years old at the time of the film) sports a short beard and barely has grey hair at all.
  • Agony of the Feet: Durza stabs one of his own Urgals in the foot with a blade.
  • Alternate DVD Commentary: Inspired a Rifftrax.
  • Ambiguously Human: It's unclear if any of the non-humans from the book are still non-human here, as they all just look like humans in different clothes and their race is never mentioned.
  • Ambition Is Evil: In this version, Galbatorix was hungry for power and seized control of Alagaesia because he saw an opportunity in the Riders' weakness.
  • And This Is for...: Eragon, after impaling Durza in the heart, shouts "That's for Brom!"
  • Animal Eye Spy: Eragon gains the ability to see the world with Saphira's eyes after becoming a Rider. This ability is damaged after Saphira receives several injuries from Durza's smoky Giant Flyer.
  • Bad Boss: Durza casually brutalizes and kills his Urgals for failures. He also uses the flames from his dead soldiers to create his Giant Flyer.
  • Bald of Evil: Galbatorix, the Evil Overlord, sports a bald head.
  • Battle Cry: As Eragon mounts Saphira for the Final Battle, he says telepathically "Into the sky, to win or die!"
  • Big Damn Heroes: Murtagh does this twice during the film, once at Gil'ead and once at the entrance to Farthen Dur. Eragon returns the favor during the Final Battle.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: The Ra'zac have knives extending from their wrists.
  • Bling of War: Unlike in the books, where the Varden are portrayed as having barely enough money to finance themselves, in the movie even the lowliest soldier seems to be trying to blind the Urgals through sheer bling.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Even when Brom is stabbed!
  • Bond One-Liner: From Eragon to Durza, doubles as an Ironic Echo.
    Eragon: That's for Brom! I expected more.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Eragon finishes his first duel with Durza by shooting him in the head, only for Durza to teleport away.
  • Can't Take Criticism: Galbatorix apparently, since some of the Empire's soldiers attempt to hang Brom for telling the story of Galbatorix's rise to power through wiping out the Dragon Riders.
  • Captain Obvious: Saphira's dialogue mostly consists of over-explaining things that were usually already explained or don't need to be.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The shadowy bowman at Daret is Murtagh.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Flying from the tail, which Eragon uses during the Final Battle to deceive Durza.
  • Covers Always Lie: The posters for the film frequently show Eragon with Zar'roc. He doesn't use it until the third act of the film; Brom uses it until he gets killed and gives it to Eragon.
  • Dark Is Evil: As if we needed more clues, Galbatorix's dragon is jet-black.
  • Death by Adaptation: The Ra'zac. In the book, they survive their encounter with Eragon and Brom, personally killing the latter and continuing as major antagonists until their death in the third book. Here, they are killed halfway through when Eragon hangs one and Brom stabs the other with Zar'roc. Garrow is a downplayed example, dying at the equivalent point of a few chapters earlier than in the book.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation: In the book, Garrow was tortured by the Ra'zac, and died of his injuries several days later in Carvahall. Here, the Ra'zac kill him immediately at his farmhouse, with no signs of the torture or acid used in the book.
  • Dragon Rider: Eragon is supposed to be a Dragon Rider to Saphira.
  • The Dragon: Durza to Galbatorix as his lead servant.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: This film was the first time Galbatorix had ever physically appeared in the entire franchise. The same goes for his dragon.
  • Feathered Dragons: One of the movie's numerous and... divisive departures from the novel gives Saphira enormous birdlike wings.
  • Femme Fatalons: Durza, who is male, has very long, black fingernails, which he uses to kill an Urgal by touching his temple. They also secrete poisons, as Arya found out the hard way.
  • Giant Flyer: Durza creates one out of smoke during the Final Battle, with only the shadow of wings and an enormous shark-like mouth visible.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Galbatorix, to Durza's Big Bad.
  • Hanging Around: Happens to one of the Ra'zac when Eragon summons a vine which catches the Ra'zac by the neck and hangs him.
  • The Heavy: Durza is seen as the primary threat of the movie, while Galbatorix serves as his boss in the shadows.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Brom ends up being impaled by a spear sent by Durza that was meant for Eragon and dies from the wounds.
  • Hero Killer: Durza. He poisons Arya, mortally wounds Brom, and creates a dragon made of smoke that deals grievous injuries to Saphira, which cause a Disney Death.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Brom mentions killing Morzan with Zar'roc, Morzan's own sword.
  • In Name Only: Despite being a common complaint, this is actually subverted. Innumerable details were changed, some of which would cause major plot issues later in the story (if sequels had ever been made), but the basic plot is more or less intact, even if it's still the only intact thing.
  • In the Hood: When he infiltrates Gil'ead, Eragon uses a hooded cloak to disguise himself. The same goes for Murtagh.
  • Ironic Echo: Durza mentions that he expected more when he first encounters Eragon. Eragon shoots that phrase back at Durza shortly after impaling him midair in the heart.
  • Large Ham:
    • Robert Carlyle as Durza. Every line is delivered with a carefree demeanor, as if he knew it was all bad but had fun anyway.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Galbatorix to Durza.
  • Mind over Matter: Durza starts off his first Wizard Duel with Eragon by using his powers to throw an armory's worth of weapons at him, then parts of the wall.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The map of Alagaesia in Galbatorix's throne room is the exact same one included in the books.
    • The Invocation for Durza's giant shadow-monster at the climax included the line "Draumr abr sundavblaka." In the books' language, these words together mean "dream of shadow-flapper."
  • No Ontological Inertia: The smoky Giant Flyer Durza uses as a mount relies on Durza being connected to it to exist; when Eragon tackles him off the creature, it explodes.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: How else does Brom get from the Beor Mountains to Gil'ead, crossing hundreds of miles without a dragon, just in time to save Eragon?
  • Oh, Crap!: When Sloan learns that Eragon got the "stone" (actually a Dragon Egg) in the Spine, he's shocked and hurriedly gives back the stone to Eragon, denies its sale, and states he shouldn't have brought it here. It's not clear why he does so in the film, though the book explains that his wife died in the Spine, and he's hated anything associated with it ever since. In the film's context, Sloan appears to recognize the "stone" as an egg from the get-go, as he declares it belongs to the King.
  • Orcus on His Throne: It says a lot about Galbatorix that his very minor appearance in this film is actually an addition to his appearances in the books.
  • Plot-Relevant Age-Up: In one of the most contentious changes from the books, Saphira magically ages from an infant to a full grown adult in a matter of seconds after flying into a storm cloud, and no further explanation is ever offered (compared to the books where she slowly grows over time).
  • Power Glows: When Brom stabs the Ra'zac, a red flame runs along Zar'roc from hilt to tip.
  • Pursued Protagonist: How Eragon gets the egg.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Narrowly averted when Eragon stabs Durza through the heart and it looks like he's going to fall to his death, but Saphira catches him in time.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Baby Saphira is adorable.
  • Seeing Through Another's Eyes: Eragon uses magic to do this with Saphira.
  • Shout-Out: Brom's "I've seen things you can't image" line is a shout-out to Blade Runner, according to the director.
  • Soul Jar: The life of a dragon is tied to the life of its Rider; if a Rider dies, so does his dragon. This is why Saphira goes to such lengths to protect Eragon.
    Durza: They say as a Rider draws his last breath, he can hear the dying screams of his dragon. [throws spear at Eragon]
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Brom, of the "died later than in the source material" type. He survives the Ra'zac attack, personally killing one of them, and makes it all the way to Gil'ead and Arya's rescue attempt before receiving mortal wounds there from Durza.
  • The Stool Pigeon: Like in the book, Sloan the butcher ends up squealing to the Ra'zac about Eragon's possession of the egg. Unlike the book, however, the reason he did so was heavily implied to be under the Lacerated Larry type (i.e., he was tortured into giving the information).
  • Take Up My Sword: Brom gives Eragon Zar'roc before dying of his wounds inflicted by Durza.
  • Theme-and-Variations Soundtrack: The score by Patrick Doyle hinges a lot on one big theme.
  • Third-Person Person: Angela.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Defied during Eragon's first encounter with Durza when Eragon throws a sword at Durza but he deflects it off his hand.
    "You'll have to do better than that!"
  • Vertigo Effect: Used in a shot right before Brom examines Saphira and Saphira agrees "he does know a bit about dragons". The director refers to it as "an homage to the shot in Jaws".
  • Viking Funeral: Invoked when Brom sets Eragon's home on fire with the dead Garrow still inside.
    Eragon: What are you doing?!
    Brom: A funeral fit for a king.
  • The Worm That Walks: The Ra'zac in the film are composed of thousands of bugs that form a pair of ninja-like humanoid figures. When Brom kills one of them, the figure dissolves into the bugs that composed it.
  • "You!" Exclamation: Brom when he sees the Gedwey Insignia on Eragon's hand.
  • You Have Failed Me: Durza kills an Urgal commander who let Eragon get away, then congratulates the Urgal next to him on his promotion. The new commander doesn't look pleased.