Sci-Fi / Fantasy
Reign of Fire
Distributed By: Buena Vista Pictures
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Have you ever been sick and simply lay there, staring at the television screen, not caring what was on? I have. In fact, just a week or so ago, I was doing just that when a movie started that actually jarred me right out of the I'm Sick Trance. Reign of Fire featured a world destroyed by dragons and starred Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey. With it's dark undertones and incredible special effects, it definitely caught my attention.
Reign of Fire begins in London just after the year 2000. Karen Abercromby (Alice Krige) is a construction crew chief on the site of the London Underground. A single mother, Karen would do anything to keep her son, Quinn (Ben Thornton) safe, including throw herself in front of a dragon released from hibernation in underground cave by her workers. Though attempts are made, nothing can stop the resurgence of dragons as their population explodes, not even nuclear weapons.
Fast forward to the year 2020 and we see Quinn (Christian Bale) again, this time leading a group of survivors living in a Northumberland castle. Quinn's people are less than happy with their situation as they find themselves being held hostage, a dragon currently lording over their ripening crops, preventing them from harvesting the food they desperately need. Unwilling to stand by and let their families starve, a group attempts an uprising, but the dragon quickly ends their quest for food and they are rescued by Quinn, Creedy (Gerard Butler) and Jared (Scott Moutter), but not before the dragon kills one of the rebels' sons.
A short time later, a military caravan, complete with helicopter commandos, led by American soldier Denton Van Zan (Matthew McConaughey), arrives. Van Zan has apparently found the secret to killing dragons and offers to prove it by helping to destroy the one plaguing the castle community. But Van Zan has his sights on a different beast. According to him, the only male dragon - the one responsible for populating the world with dragons - resides in London and he aims to destroy it. For his mission to save the world, he needs more soldiers and he aims to recruit them from the castle.
Quinn knows exactly what dragon Van Zan is talking about and wants no part in seeing this demon ever again. But when things go wrong for Van Zan and the bull tracks its way back to the castle, can Quinn afford to stay out of the fray?
Reign of Fire didn't receive incredible accolades in the theaters...in fact, I had never heard of the movie before. That being said, I thought it was a surprisingly good post apocalyptic world meets fantasy film. The scenery of the film is very dark which makes the fire from the dragons much more striking. The filmmakers did an excellent job with the dragon special effects. The storyline was interesting...sometimes these post-apocalyptic scifi films can skimp on the storyline in favor of awesome special effects, but not so here. The actors did a credible job showing fear and determination while trying to survive monsters that were never really on the set.
Despite the fact that some of the events of the film were not exactly perfectly believable - How does a dragon breathe fire on a passing vehicle and that vehicle somehow not get burned to a crisp? - I found Reign of Fire to be incredibly entertaining and I might have gone to see this in the theater if a better job had been done promoting the film. I imagine seeing those dragons in action on the big screen must have been a really awesome experience.