(In theaters, December 2006) There it is: one of the first explicit Lord Of The Rings rip-off that exists because of the other film and is just as ridiculed because of it. There’s no doubt that the financial success of Peter Jackson’s adaptation trilogy unlocked the coffers for this film. Alas, the same trilogy provides a far better point of reference for all critics: Eragon is derivative trash, incompetently made and crammed with talent that can’t do anything with the material it’s given. Bad fantasy films aren’t anything new, as veterans of Dragonheart or Kull The Conqueror will attest, but The Lord Of The Rings now acts as a reference to prove that, yes, it’s possible to make good fantasy films. Eragon isn’t merely a pleasant derivative work like Narnia often felt: it’s minimum-effort film-making with a blatant disregard for its audience. The dialogue is particularly trite, with lines that you can anticipate (and ridicule) well before their utterance. Not that the plotting is any better, as severe suspension of disbelief or mild mental retardation is required to accept the plot cheats required for the story to go on. It speaks volumes that midway through the film, I found myself thinking that any slash fanfic coming out of this film is bound to be more interesting and entertaining than the source material. By the time the credits rolled, I had even started to giggle at the obvious slash hooks in the story: the protagonist is so not interested in the girl. Given the good odds that she may end up being his sister, it’s probably a good thing that he’s not into females without scales, wings and fire breath.