Adapted from a children's novel by precocious teenager Christopher Paolini, this cut-and-paste 'sword and sorcery' film is a painful reminder of what fantasy cinema was like before the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy re-wrote the rules. Ineptly directed by visual effects supervisor Fangmeier, the predictable storyline lumbers from scene to scene like a wounded, flightless dragon. Newcomer Speelers plays the more-anodyne-than-Anakin hero, Eragon, a reluctant dragon rider destined to free his people from the tyrannical King Galbatorix (Malkovich), head-case sorcerer Durza (Carlyle), and hordes of tattooed Urgal berserkers. Encouraged by his care-worn mentor, Brom (Irons), Eragon grows into his role as a spell-casting, sword-wielding avenger. Just as female dragon Saphira (voiced by Rachel Weisz) grows rapidly from a blinky-eyed baby to a napalm-breathing nemesis. Inevitably, the story culminates with an epic confrontation between the Eragon-led Varden rebels and the shape-shifting Durza's ugly Urgal army. Sienna Guillory's winsome elf princess Arya supplies the nascent love interest. Malkovich shows an understandable lack of interest.