The critics say they’ve seen Eragon (pictured, with Edward Speleers and Jeremy Irons) before. And after reading their headlines, we feel their pain. According to The Charlotte Observer, “Eragon just keeps dragon itself forward.” The St. Paul Pioneer Press maintains, “There’s not much of Eragon that isn’t dragon.” And Seattle’s Stranger asserts, “Here There Be Draggin’.”

After their opening pun war, the critics wage an epic battle to see out who can compare the derivative fantasy flick to the most movies. The Stranger‘s Andrew Wright fires first: “Debuting director/effects vet Stefen Fangmeier manages to pull off a few decent visual coups, particularly with a nicely animated blue-eyed dragon, but without the rich conceptual texture of the LOTR series (or, hell, even the goofy exuberance of The Beastmaster) to draw on, what remains is a load of generic mush perhaps best served as a piece of bitchin’ ’70s van art.”

addCredit(“Eragon: James Dittiger”)

But Willie Waffle of, is waiting: “I liked Eragon‘s story so much more when it was called Star Wars. It’s not a horrible movie (at least, not horrible in the Deck The Hallssense), but while watching it, you hear echoes of George Lucas, DarthVader and Obi-Wan Kenobi throughout the film instead of focusing on thestory. Heck, I was waiting for a Wookiee to pop up.”

Nice try, boys, but the never-afraid-to-reach Eleanor Ringel Gillespie of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution will not be defeated: “Along with LOTR and Harry Potter, there are chunks of Star Wars and Anne McCaffrey’s dragon books and even a little face-painting from Braveheart.”

We’d also like to give a special shout-out to the Best Damning-With-Faint-Praise Reviewer of the Week, the Chicago Tribune‘s Michael Phillips. “Based on the first book in Christopher Paolini’s fantasy trilogy about a boy and his dragon, Eragonis a bit cheesy, but I rather liked it. It’s sincere cheese,” hewrites. “The dragon, Saphira, comes with goo-goo eyes that go beyondimposing and end up looking adorably ridiculous. They’re matched by thedragon voice, all good sense and maternal fire, provided by RachelWeisz. The special effects — which include glowing-eyed heroes andvillains, and flights over the mythical land of Alagaesia depicted in ‘dragon vision’ — are refreshing in their slightly out-of-date air.”Well done, sir.