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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Eragon: 2-Disc Special Edition (2006)

Eragon: 2-Disc Special Edition (2006)

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Released 16-Apr-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Fantasy Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Director Stefan Fangmeier
Deleted Scenes
Web Links
Featurette-Making Of-Inside the Inheritance Trilogy
Featurette-The Secrets of Alagaesia + Others
Gallery-Conceptual Artwork
Trivia-Pronunciation Guide
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 99:46
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (58:10)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Stefen Fangmeier

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Edward Speleers
Jeremy Irons
Sienna Guillory
Robert Carlyle
John Malkovich
Garrett Hedlund
Alun Armstrong
Christopher Egan
Gary Lewis
Djimon Hounsou
Rachel Weisz
Richard Rifkin
Steve Speirs
Case ?
RPI $44.95 Music Patrick Doyle

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    I think I should get some things out in the open before starting in on this review. Firstly, I am a fan of fantasy & science-fiction both in writing and film. I have not read the novel Eragon by Christopher Paolini upon which this film is based. I did not see this film theatrically, nor did I read any reviews of it, although I am aware that it was not well received by fans of the books or critics. So with all of those potential influences out of the way, let me begin...

    As I mentioned above, this film is based (somewhat loosely according to fans of the book) on a book by a young author, Christopher Paolini who was a teenager when this first book of a subsequent trilogy was written. He says in an interview on this disc that he had read every fantasy novel he could get his hands on and then decided to write his own. This is quite easy to believe as the story is quite derivative of everything from Lord of the Rings to Star Wars. That doesn't mean it's bad (he says quickly to avoid being jumped on by fans), it just means that seasoned fantasy readers and watchers have heard and seen it all before.

    The story follows the life of a young man called Eragon (Ed Speleers) who is growing up on a farm with his uncle and cousin in the Kingdom of Alagaesia. Alagaesia is ruled by evil king Galbatorix (John Malkovich) who was once a member of a group of valiant men called Dragon Riders. The Dragon Riders protected the kingdom years before the current story takes place, riding on their dragons. Galbatorix turned on his fellow Dragon Riders and killed them all. He now rules the kingdom using fear and high taxes. He is supported by a shade or powerful magician, Durza (Robert Carlyle) who uses his power to command various nasty creatures such as The Urghals (Orc style beasties) and the Ra'zac who seem to be some sort of demons. An Elf princess, Arya (Sienna Guillory) steals something of great value from the King, a Dragon's egg. Dragon's Eggs, it would seem, do not hatch until they find the person who will become their rider. Arya gets cornered by Durza and rather than giving up the egg uses her powers to transport it to another part of Alagaesia called The Spine. Here it is found by Eragon out on a hunting trip.

    Not knowing what it is Eragon takes it home, hoping to trade it for some meat. However, the next morning it hatches and out pops a baby dragon, Saphira (voiced by Rachel Weisz) who quickly develops into a very big dragon (not quite sure how that happens - seems to just be a flash of lightning). She tells him that he is her rider and he needs to get used to the idea. Meanwhile, the King is annoyed about his egg being missing and he instructs Durza to kill Eragon once he finds out what is going on. When Durza's henchmen go after Eragon, they kill his uncle and Eragon is rescued by Obi-Wan Kenobi... oh, sorry, I mean Brom (Jeremy Irons), the obligatory mentor character. Eragon's quest then becomes to defeat Durza, rescue Arya and overthrow Galbatorix... before being able to grow a moustache.

    Despite the fact that this film is derivative, it doesn't stop it from being an entertaining 100 minutes. The director, Stefan Fangmeier is debuting here as a director but has had a long career in visual effects including three Oscar nominations during his time at ILM. He shows his skill in that area as the visual effects are very impressive including the dragon, the various creatures and the visually stunning final battle sequence (despite being somewhat reminiscent of Helm's Deep from LOTR). The acting is never great but usually quite decent. Jeremy Irons probably comes off best and the young guy playing Eragon, Ed Speleers, doesn't disgrace himself. He's not going to win any academy awards in the near future but he does do a reasonable job. Djimon Hounsou shows up late in the piece as Ajihad, the leader of the Vargan. The dialogue is a bit silly at times and some characters seem to appear from nowhere, without explanation such as Murtagh.

    In short, this is an entertaining film but certainly nowhere near the class of the films which obviously inspired it..

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Transfer Quality


    The video quality is excellent.

    The feature is presented in a 2.33:1 aspect ratio, 16x9 enhanced, which is very close to the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1.

    The picture was very sharp and clear and shadow detail was of a similar quality. There was no evidence of low level noise. There was some occasional light grain.

    The colour was excellent throughout, showing the beautiful landscapes of Hungary and Slovakia to great effect along with the visual effects.

    There were no noticeable artefacts.

    There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired and also for the commentary. They are clear, easy to read and very close to the spoken word.

    The layer change occurs at 58:10 and caused a slight pause but was well placed at the end of a scene.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio quality is excellent.

    This DVD contains two audio options, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s and an excellent DTS 5.1 surround track. Both are excellent but the DTS is the pick of the two. There is excellent separation between the various speakers both across the front and back soundfields.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand throughout and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The score by Patrick Doyle is suitably heroic and well suited to the film.

    The surround speakers were used constantly for immersive atmosphere and many directional effects especially noticeable during battle and flying sequences.

    The subwoofer was also used constantly for music, tension, flying scenes, thunder, battle and explosions.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    This movie is available either as a single disc or two-disc set. I am reviewing the two-disc set here, however, the first disc is identical to the single disc release, I believe. Most extras are 16x9 enhanced and have subtitles.


    The menu included an intro, motion and music. The second disc's main menu is actually a map of Alagaesia and you navigate around the map to gain access to the various special features.

Disc 1

Commentary - Director Stefan Fangmeier

    A reasonable commentary which covers the story, locations, shooting difficulties, how wonderful Ed Speleers is, scripting issues, cast and some minor anecdotes. He spends too much time just describing what's going on onscreen but is reasonably interesting.

Extended & Deleted Scenes

    This section contains seven deleted scenes including a few which relate to a subplot between Eragon & his cousin and their joint desires for the same girl. Not much worth while here though. Optional commentary is available and they are presented 16x9 enhanced and in 5.1 Dolby Digital.


Disc 2

Inside the Inheritance Trilogy : The Magic of Eragon (51:23)

    This is a comprehensive making-of feature which is broken into a prologue and five chapters. It includes interviews with the author, director, screenwriter, other crew and most of the major cast members. The five chapters are

  1. Realising Alagaesia - Visual design, locations & set design
  2. The Destined Roles - Casting Eragon, Arya, Durza and the others
  3. From Carvahall to Farthen Dur - shooting, stunts, animals, fights & costumes
  4. Hatching the Dragon - ILM's involvement, CGI work and blue screen production
  5. Just the Beginning - Introducing the sequel

The Inhabitants of Alagaesia

    This is a selection of short featurettes which are stills (mostly visual design drawings, etc.) with a commentary by the director. Each one focuses on a different character or group of characters. They are;

Vision of Eragon - Arya's Ambush (4:37)

    Original Animatic Sequence used to pitch the idea of Fangmeier being the director. There is optional director commentary.

Conceptual Artwork Gallery (3:20)

    Optional Commentary available.

Pronunciation Guide

    Guide to pronouncing names, the ancient language, dwarves, Urgal language & text screens.

Original Storyboards

    Storyboards for 6 different scenes. They are shown three per page which makes them very small.

The Lost Storyboards

    Storyboards for 4 deleted and unfilmed scenes.

Saphira's Animation Guide (2:22)

    Stills of Saphira's developmental process with commentary by director.

Eldest - Christopher Paolini interview (4:07)

    Interview about the middle book of the trilogy, covering new characters and some story and plot points.

Teaser Trailer (1:36)

    Music & Visuals only.

Theatrical Trailer (2:22)

    Full trailer with Brom voiceover.

The Secrets of Alagaesia (44:14)

    A collection of featurettes about how the visual effects were done for 20 or more scenes. They can be played either separately or all together. These are all quite interesting and detailed.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This two disc set seems to be basically the same globally with the exception of language differences. The R1 and R2 UK versions both include the DTS option but some other R2 versions do not. The R1 does include a small featurette on making the accompanying video game but that isn't much of a reason to buy in R1. Draw.


    An entertaining but highly derivative fantasy film.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    Lots of quality extras are included.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer

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