Eragon

Patrick Doyle

 
" A score its film just doesn’t live up to "

Written by William Bard - Review of the regular release

The 2006 failure known as Eragon is not altogether a failure, as evidenced by Patrick Doyle's thrilling score. An excellent work of film scoring, the atmospheric, adventurous, bombastic Eragon is something wonderful to behold. The film could have been a success, being the next fantasy franchise to smash the box office, break records, and be everything The Lord of the Rings was several years back. But unfortunately, the screenwriters didn't have a clue how to successfully and correctly adapt a book into a film, and the resulting movie was loathed by fans of the novel everywhere.

Patrick Doyle's score, however, did not follow suit. The music of Eragon is excellent, presented in a wonderful album (with a great cover!), which comprises a good listening experience for the fans of the film or novel. Not only does this music fit the film well, but it carries the musical soundscape one would expect to find when reading the original novel.

Doyle paints the land of Alagaesia with notes on a musical staff like a paintbrush on a canvas, weaving together a coherent, likable auditory environment, similar to those of The Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia, but noticeably darker than the latter. The soundtrack is begun with a bombastic theme in a major key in "Eragon", followed by tracks of sadness and joy ("Roran Leaves" and "Saphira's First Flight") before shifting into a darker, wilder setting ("Ra'zac", "Burning Farm" and "Fortune Teller").

Then, we are refamiliarized with the main theme in its bombastic setting during "If You Were Flying", before the soundtrack plunges back into darkness with "Brom's Story" and "Durza". This is followed by brief glimmer of hope ("Passing the Flame"). And then we move to the major event of the score. The stereotypical fantasy battle, in a style so different from that which has been previously established, that it could easily be from an entirely different score and fantastical world. Meaning "Battle for Varden" is excellent. After the battle, this wild beast of a score calms down, growing overall quiet and reflective in "Together" and "Saphira Returns", before the work closes with triumphant, climactic trumpet calls in "The Legend of Eragon".

As a score, Eragon has a lot to offer. It complements the movie nicely, sounds fantastic, has some good themes established early on and makes good use of them as the work progresses. However, if you're looking for John Williams or Jerry Goldsmith, you're looking in the wrong place. This score is not about creating and developing memorable themes which will be hummed by people thirty years from now, but rather about successfully following and accompanying the story of Eragon the young farm boy (Luke Skywalker, anyone?) on his journey to becoming a great Dragon Rider. This, it does fantastically, and Mr. Doyle is to be commended for this splendid work of film scoring! Bravo!

Tracklisting

1. Eragon (4.12)
2. Roran Leaves (3.22)
3. Saphira's First Flight (2.12)
4. Ra'zac (2.48)
5. Burning Farm (3.08)
6. Fortune Teller (3.56)
7. If You Were Flying (2.55)
8. Brom's Story (2.53)
9. Durza (2.20)
10. Passing the Flame (3.05)
11. Battle for Varden (9.59)
12. Together (2.18)
13. Saphira Returns (1.49)
14. Legend of Eragon (2.08)
15. Keep Holding On: Avril Lavigne (3.57)
16. One In Every Lifetime: Jem (4.17)

Total Length: 55.19
(click to rate this score)  
 
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(total of 33 votes - average 4.03/5)

Released by

RCA Records 704850 (regular release 2006)

Conducted by

James Shearman

Orchestrations by

Patrick Doyle, James Shearman, & Geoff Alexander

Performed by

The London Symphony Orchestra