Perhaps I would give this movie a higher rating if I hadn't read the book first. This movie could have been way more thorough in its plot and character development. While I was watching it I felt whisked through the storyline, and while I realize that this is often the case with movies as compared to the books they are based on, the movie could have been expanded to capture the story a little better. In an industry that is now commonly producing 2 1/2 hour movies, I ask: why was this one only 1 3/4 hours, at the expense of sacrificing depth of story and character? Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings", and Rowling's "Harry Potter" series were well done in their transformation from book to big screen, but unfortunately this was not the case with Paolini's masterpiece. On the bright side, if you haven't read the book, there is still enjoyment to be gleaned. The movie does offer some good special effects, most importantly, the animation of one of the most important characters: Saphira, the dragon!
If you are a reader, I would highly recommend the books, regardless as to whether you see the movie first. There is so much in the movie that isn't captured, that it could be like reading a whole new story!