By Garth Franklin

With any trend in cinema, a huge success leads to the inevitable and far weaker clones. With "The Lord of the Rings" and "Harry Potter" films raking in the cash for Ted Turner, it comes as no surprise that others wanted in on the action.

"Eragon" marks the first pale imitator off the rack, a tired fantasy drama and the obvious 'first chapter' in a trilogy that's not going to happen. Lacking anywhere near the depth, emotional power and quality of the 'Rings' films, the best that can be said is that it's not "Dungeons & Dragons" bad - though the only difference is that "Eragon" at least takes itself seriously and Jeremy Irons isn't too campy this time around as a Liam Neeson-esque mentor figure.

John Malkovich overacts as the bad guy, Ed Speelers as our young hero tries to act and Robert Carlyle should just hand in his guild card right now. The scripting is atrocious, the pace drops to a crawl quite often, and the effects are passable at times and clunky at others.

In fact its only redeeming value in the future lies in its campiness and strange subliminal sexuality. These include flirtatious comments between the Rachel Weisz-voiced beast & our hero, a surprisingly highlighted shirtless scene, and a homoerotic and somewhat incestuous 'wrestling' scene early on between cousins. Makes one wonder if "Brokeback Mountain" will ever be remade as a sword and sorcery epic.