Review: Reign of Fire

by Jake Sproul

Rating: (out of )

What do you get when you take a below average script, a few actors who haven’t quite made it to A-list status, and some dragons? Surprisingly, a very entertaining movie!

Christian Bale stars as Quentin, a British child who accidentally awakens not so mythical fire breathing dragons. Flash forward to the year 2020. These dragons have destroyed everything, almost all life, and the world is in perpetual ash. Humans are almost extinct, except for a few pockets of life. Quentin is the leader of one such pocket. They live life day to day. Preparing for dragon attacks, and mustering together some sort of existence. Matthew McConaughey plays Denton Van Sant. An American who slays dragons. Van Sant finds his way to Quentin’s tribe on his on his way to what was once London, the main concentration of the dragons. His theory is, there is only one male dragon. Comparing them to fish, he says that the numerous females lay their eggs, and the male comes along and fertilizes them. Kill the male, kill the species.

The visual effects are very stunning. The dragons are scary, and look very real. It is a truly stunning to see a basically hollowed out London, with dragons flocking about a shell of what once was Big Ben like birds of today flocking about Trafalgar Square. A favorite sequence of mine is shots of an Time magazine from “the early” years when Dragons first emerged from their slumber. The cover has a picture of dragons descending upon London and the title is “The End?” As wind flicks through the pages, we see images of Paris, Florence and other major cities under siege from these fire breathing dragons. That sequence is truly inspired.

Unfortunately, inspired is far from what the over-all script is. The character development seems hastily done, and therefore, we don’t really get to know or sympathize with anyone. The dialogue is pretty cut and dry. Not much meat to it. And do to the scant dialogue, Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey never get to show their acting chops.

But how does Reign succeed in spite of its numerous flaws? Because it is good, old fashioned fun! A testosterone film that doesn’t pretend to be anything more than that.

Reign of Fire is easily compared to Jurassic Park. But while Jurassic Park is a piece of American cinema history, Reign of Fire is just this summer’s blockbuster creature feature, albeit, a decent one.

© 2002 Jake Sproul

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