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Reign of Fire is built around a potentially very exciting premise: fire-breathing dragons are real, and have been biding their time hibernating deep in the bowels of the earth for thousands of years, only to re-emerge in the 21st century and wreak havoc around the globe, razing countless cities to the ground and perpetuating a nuclear holocaust as nations desperately try and fight back with nuclear weapons. A familiar mad-max style post-apocalyptic landscape emerges, albeit this time with huge fire-breathing reptiles haunting the skies, whilst humanity is reduced to tiny bands that employ a mix of archaic and modern technology in their struggles to survive, the film focussing on a settlement of people led by Quinn (Christian Bale) that have set up in a medieval castle, making occasional dangerous forays into the surrounding area in an attempt to scavenge for food.
Supplies are running desperately low when a detatched American unit of 'Dragon Killers', complete with a Chieftain tank and an attack helicopter and led by a man named Denton Van Zan (Matthew McConaughey) arrives, demanding entry and thus threatening to upset the stability of the castle community. Faced with little choice but to let the nomads in, Quinn capitulates and thows his hand in with them, as the group opt to try and fight back at their reptilian foes.
Things get very silly very quickly, as Denton instigates some very far-fetched troop paracute-drops from the chopper in which one soldier acts as bait for a dragon whilst others attempt to catch it in a giant net, and the film plods on from one lazy cgi spectacle to the next, without ever managing to successfully cultivate and real tension or enthusiasm despite the computer-generated pyrotechnics and acrobatics that fill the screen. The humans hit upon a way to wipe out the whole dragon race, but though there is much death and destruction throughout such is the dreary nature of the acting and dialogue that its very difficult to care about anyone onscreen, least of all the dull and unengaging Bale, who sleepwalks through the film just as he would go on to do through Terminator 4.
A bland and unengaging cgi snooze-fest, Reign of Fire is perhaps worth watching should it be on tevision whilst you are in bed with flu but it's not a film thats worth paying to see.
This film starts off with Quinn being a young boy and visiting his mother who works underground on railway lines. Her team are tunnelling through the walls when they come across on old cavern. Quinn is told to go and investigate by one of the men and what a mistake. Quinn comes across a dragon who is not happy that he has been disturbed. He changes and breathes fire at all in his way but luckily Quinn makes an escape, his Mother is not so lucky though.
We then move to 25 years later when disaster has happened and the dragons have taken over and wiped out most of the population. There are a few left who are now living in small communities around the country. Quinn is the kind of leader of his community and they are all struggling to survive as they have run low on food and the dragons keep wiping out their crops.
Things change for Quinn's community when American Van Zan arrives with his men and armoured vehicles and he claims to be a dragon slayer. Van Zan offers to help to community and he and Quinn despite not seeing eye to eye agree to work together. Will the men be able to wipe out the dragons or will they be forever living in fear of them?
I really did enjoy this film and have watched it a few times now. I found the storyline to be excellent although not at all believable but it is a fantasy so this can be forgiven. The role of Quinn was played by Christian Bale and I think he did a fantastic job. He worked well with the other actors in the film, including Matthew McConaughey and Izabella Scorupco and I thought they all had a great on screen chemistry.
I thought that the character of Van Zan was typical American, come to save your butt, type of role but McConaughey played it to perfection. I liked how he did come across as being hard and strong but then a minute later he would show a softer side and proved he did have a heart. I also found the addition of a female lead quite refreshing as she was given a great role and played a big part in the film. I think this helped to take it away from being mainly for the men and she managed to show that women can fight and he just as brave and strong as the men.
There were a lot of supporting actors in the film and I think they all added to the film and made it more appealing. There was only really one storyline in the film which was the reign of the dragons but I liked how Quinn would keep quiet about his past and how he was the one who discovered the first dragon and I enjoyed the kind of suspense it gave to the story as I was wondering when the others would realise this is why Quinn had his reservations about the dragons. This did give a little depth to the story.
The effects in the film for me were amazing and I thought that a lot of time and effort had been put into making them. Have never seen a real dragon but the ones in the film looked excellent and not to far fetched. They all looked very realistic and sometimes quite scary. The location for the film was just outside of London and the community was living in what looked like an old castle. Both me and hubby commented on how it was the old building that were still standing an none of the modern ones could withstand the dragons!
The sets and costumes throughout the film were all great and looked authentic. The music in the film was good and very appropriate for the places which it was used. I found it did help with the setting and emotions of the scenes which it was used in. One thing I did notice through out the film was that the men never really ran out of bullets or ammunition. Don't get me wrong there were times when they did but for the majority of the film they all seemed to have an endless supply. The way the film is put across they are all starving and struggling to survive but for some reason they are still able to be full loaded with bullets which seemed a bit unrealistic to me.
The DVD which we have does have some bonus material which includes:-
'If you can take the heat' Featurettes
'Breathing Life into Terror' Featurettes
I am not a fan of bonus material so I have not watched any of these and I also feel it would take away some of the magic and effects from the film so I am not able to comment on whether they are worth watching or not.
The running time of this film is 98 minutes which I felt to be a great length and the certificate is a 12 and I do have to agree with this.
We bought our DVD many months ago and I cannot remember what price we paid. Please like EBay and Amazon will probably have this for around the £5 price. I do recommend this film as it has a great story and excellent effects.
reign of fire is set in a post apocolyptic world ravaged by dragons who burn things to the ground so that they can feed on the ash that is left remaining behind. the film itself in my opinion kind of crawls along on all fours, and never really gets going to almost near the end of the film, it does have a good cast with matthew machonnagie, christian bale and gerard butler, and even with this cast i think the film just didnt quite make it. there was very good effects used on the dragons and they did look quite realistic and not really as if they had been computer generated, although there wasnt much action between the survivors and the dragons, yes there was a couple of fights but one in particular could have been made alot better which was the one between the male dragon and an army of soldiers, it lasted all of 5 seconds, yes this portrayed how strong the dragon was but it didnt really do the film justice as so much action could have been made from this fight. the acting in the film is good and once it gets going the film isnt half bad, it does just take its time to get going
This was on TV last night, so i thought i'd tap out a quick review before the film disappears from my memory altogether. I say this because there's very little memorable in this film.
When excess mining during the late 20th century disturbs a forgotten race of dragons, mankind is pushed to the brink of extinction as the dragons reclaim the earth. Survivors hide in small groups underground, trying to stay out of sight. One such group is lead by Quinn (Christain Bale), the only survivor of the dragons first attack.
On paper, this sounds like an incredible film... dragons, destruction, mankind's desperate survival. Unfortunately for the viewers though, most of the promised action takes place via a flashback newspaper clip montage during the opening credits. After that, the dragons are largely absent for most of the film.
Ok, this would be fine if the film was content to focus on the people and how they deal with then end of the world they knew, but the film falls flat in this regard also.
Besides Quinn and a couple of other token characters for him to bounce dialogue off, the humans consist mainly of extras (read Dragon Fodder) and this leads to very little interesting interaction of any kind. All these shortcomings add up to a generally boring film, and i had to resist the urge to channel hop several times throughout.
Despite this there are glimpses of some invention in these scenes, such as when Quinn and his best friend (Gerard Butler) act out Star Wars for the younger children and pass it off as their own work.
And not all the characters are lifeless. Matthew McConaughey's All-American jacked up Dragon hunter Van Zan is particularly over the top and adds some much needed life just as the film starts to flag.
But pretty soon, he disappears into the murk and it's not until the films climax that the film reaches the kind of levels that it could have from the start.
However, the films few action set pieces are well handled and the effects are impressive enough so this does at least show a glimmer of promise, but ultimately, one that goes unfulfilled.
I was somewhat dubious about adding this film to my lovefilm rental list as I had heard some pretty awful things about it. Reviews call it mediocre at best. However I love dragons, I love action and I also love the three main cast members, so I added it anyway. And I was not disappointed.
Reign of Fire was released in 2002 with the line "fight fire with fire". It boasts a great cast with Christian Bale, Matthew McConaughey (I had to look that one up to spell it lol) and Gerard Butler playing the male leads and Izabella Scorupco (the Bond girl in Goldeneye) playing the female supporting role.
A tunnelling project in London hits a deadly void. Having accompanied his mother to work Quinn Abercromby (aged 12) goes into the void to investigate, where he finds a huge dragon that has been awakened by the tunnelling. The dragon incinerates everything and Quinn's mother is killed trying to get Quinn to safety.
The dragons go forth and multiply and the audience are taken to 2020 where Quinn (Bale) has established a community, barely managing to survive the fight against the dragons. It appears that the resistance is failing, communications with other survivors has stopped and Quinn is fighting to keep everyone's morale up with his best friend Creedy (Butler). But when an American shows up with an array of tanks and a helicopter his people begin to question Quinn's leadership after an impressive display by Denton Van Zan (McConaughey).
The acting is superb throughout. There are a multitude of kids in the film, each one is a little star. Christian Bale is as usual brilliant and the gradual revelation of his character's psyche is a pleasure to watch. I must admit though that his cockney accent sounded quite fake at the start of the film, but as I got further into the film I stopped noticing it. (Same accent as in The Prestige) Gerard Butler plays a cheeky Scottish chappy, and provides some much needed light relief with the jokes, of which there are just the right amount. When Matthew McConaughey first appeared on screen I did not recognise him. It took me about 5 minutes to click who it was. Why? Because he's bald, bearded and covered in sweat and dust lol. Unfortunately I found his character was slightly 2D, although there are times when we can see some depths in his character it soon reverts back to the stereotypical angry action man, who seems to have a bit of a God complex. Consequently he is not overly likeable, believes he is right all the time and acts without regard for others that aren't his own men.
I found the chemistry between Bale and McConaughey was a little strained. It may have just been life imitating art though as the characters were meant to have a strained relationship. In the film there is a battle for position of alpha male and I couldn't help but feel that they were also battling for position for alpha actor. Izabella Scorupco's character (Alex) spends most of her time trying to smooth things over between Bale and McConaughey. I enjoyed her performance and she added a good dimension to the film that softened some of the strains I felt on who I should be rooting for.
The film is very dark, emotionally and visually. Scenes are set among the ruins of the world which the dragons have turned to ash. Quinn's community live in a stunning castle which creates some emotive and affective backdrops to scenes and also echoes the regression of the society to something more primitive.
There was something that did irritate me and that was the fact that even though there was little electricity or food everybody seemed to have an abundance of petrol to fuel tanks, motorbikes, vans and even a helicopter. Perhaps I'm just being pedantic lol but it just annoyed me that they did not explain how they were running these vehicles when the modern world was basically shut down a decade and a bit earlier.
Although the ending is perfectly good cinematically I did find it difficult to believe in in theory. Of course I can't talk about it without spoiling it but you should see what I mean when you watch it.
The action is good, it's not too heavy. There is ample amount of story to pad out the action scenes. The other problem I also had was the little focus there was on the dragons. I know it's a film about the humans survival but it would have been nice to have seen a little more of the dragons and their impact on the world and how they lived.
Overall reign of fire is a good sci-fi action film with a solid cast and plot.
I was looking forward to this fantasy/sci fi Dragon epic of a movie...and I wasn't disappointed!
The premis of this film is a good one...whilst digging extensions to the tube lines, engineers discover a spherical object...that opens up a can of worms...or in this case a huge dragon!!!
What follows is a rush through what happens when the dragons hatched and the world was taken over by them.... pages of newspapers from the battles and the loss of countries....which gets us bang up to date...with a few survivors leading a hard and lean existence and hoping that when the dragons die off...their lives will be able to start again.
The film has loads of action - the helicopter battles with the dragons are adrenalin pumped and full of energy. The settings for the film, dark, deolate and full of despair..the world looks a mess and is permanently scarred. It may prove impossible to repair this damege without firm discipline and realistic expectations. Christian Bale provides firm leadership and a strong hand with the survivors. Not an easy job.
There are brilliant moments of humour. watch out for the children watching Star Wars ...its a classic.
Although there are elements that go all patriotic (USA flags everywhere!), the film on the whole focusses upon the battle between man and beast and who will ultimately win the planet.
This is a film worth seeing, it is action packed, exciting, moving and also has a good tale of revenge.....
Reign of fire is the 2001 film directed by Rob Bowman
The year is 2008 and 12 year old Quinn Abercrombie visits his mother, who is the manager on a construction site. When he goes underground, he enters a small hole, uncovering a massive cavern with a hibernating dragon inside. The dragon awakes, killing every person in the complex except for Quinn.
Twelve years later the Dragons have spread all over the world, destroying the landscape and multiplying constantly. All known governments have fallen, and only handfuls of survivors are left, living underground. Quinn is the leader of one of these 'Handfuls' and everything is going relatively well, until one day Americans show up with tanks and aircraft looking for a place to stay. It turns out that these Americans are dragon slayers and have devised a way of tracking and killing dragons. After the Americans rope Quinn in to taking down the dragon that recently destroyed their crop, three Americans die.
The Americans then state their theory that there is only one female dragon on the earth. They say that she lays her eggs, and all the other males come to fertilize them. They say that if they can kill the female then slowly the dragons will die out. Quinn agrees to help, and they head to London to kill the dragon, where Quinn realizes it is the one that killed his mother.
Christian Bale- Quinn Abercromby
Matthew McConaughey- Denton Van Zan
Izabella Scorupco- Alex Jensen
Gerard Butler- Creedy
Scott Moutter - Jared Wilke
David Kennedy- Eddie Stax
Alexander Siddig- Ajay
Ned Dennehy- Barlow
Not a bad film at all. Christian Bale acts very well in this film, but Matthew McConaughey kind of lets the film down in the acting department. The storyline is quite original, and is very interesting. The scenes used in the film are all of a destroyed earth, which gives the film a very 'Dark' feel.
The action scenes are very good though and the dragons also look spectacularly realistic. During a mid air chase with a dragon, the visual effects are very realistic. The only problem is that during the film, some parts can become slow and tedious. Putting this aside though, it is not a bad film, with good acting from most, realist action scenes and dragons. Worth a watch.
For some reason I liked this movie. Even with its simplistic Playstaion plot of good guys kill dragons and the portent of yet another grim dystopia wasteland to come as a pixel background for yet another grim metaphor for death on screen, its still feels something different and original. What a quirky idea of Dragons taking over the world, feeding of the ash of all living things to survive, the remaining humans rustling around in fear amongst the smoldering remains scavenging for food.Thats some barbeque.
The casting of Christian Bale as the hero is great fun as he does have certain intense screen presence and enjoys tackling the more interesting movie, whilst putting him up against antihero Mathew Mahogany was equally abstract. The two actors are miles apart in ability and delivery yet they some how make for joyous bedfellows in this frivolous grown up fantasy romp.
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Quinn Abercromby: What do we do when we are awake?
The Children: Keep two eyes on the sky.
Quinn Abercromby: What do we do when we sleep?
The Children: Keep one eye on the sky.
Quinn Abercromby: What do we do when we see them?
The Children: Dig hard, dig deep, go for shelter, and never look back.
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The terror begins in present day London, a drilling team for a new underground tunnel hitting a mysterious void, the flame that erupts out of the cavern anything but natural gas. The Canary in the cage is well and trolley barbequed. Little Quinn (Ben Thorton) is down in the works visiting his engineer mom after school, and the something that has been awoken has been sleeping a very long time and is in grumpy mood because of the noise.
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Construction Worker #1: Quinn! What are you doing down in the arsehole of the world?
Young Quinn: Well you're passing through it. What does that make you?
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We then flash forward to 2030 in gothic Northumberland (really County Wicklow in Ireland...), little Quinn all grown up and the leader of a compound full of embattled humans holding out against the relentless dragons. The world has long since been ravaged by the no longer mythical beasts, the remaining gaggle of humans living a hand to mouth existence around the world as they cower and hunch their shoulders and necks to the mighty beasts that arrogantly swoop around the skies torching all human and animal flesh. They live on ash and it's running out.
The settlement is functioning well and hope for mankind, keeping its head down and off the dragon radar in the rain sodden hills, until, that is, self styled dragon slayer, cigar chewing Colonel Van Zan (Mathew Mahogany) shows up with his mercenary army, a US Cavalry crew reservist from Kansas, somehow ending up in northern England with his tanks and helicopter to take the fight to the dragons.
Quinn reluctantly lets the team into the compound for food and water, but soon regrets that call when Van Zands bolshi crazy talk turns heads (the plot going the way of Stargate did when Kurt Russell turns up with a crew cut and a nuke), especially agitating Quinn's number two in Creedy (Gerard Butler), causing ructions and murmurings amongst the homestead. Van Zan wants to take the fight to the Dragons and he needs volunteers, the epicenter of the action being London. Because there's token totty in Alex Jensen (Izabella Scorupco) on board Van Zans crew the boy seen keen. But how do you beat such a fearsome enemy?
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Denton Van Zan 'Dragon Slayer': We're going to London.
Quinn Abercromby: Good luck. It's that way!
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Christian Bale ... Quinn Abercromby
Matthew McConaughey ... Denton Van Zan
Izabella Scorupco ... Alex Jensen
Gerard Butler ... Creedy
Scott Moutter ... Jared Wilke
David Kennedy ... Eddie Stax
Alexander Siddig ... Ajay
Ned Dennehy ... Barlow
Rory Keenan ... Devon
Randall Carlton ... Burke (Tito)
Ben Thornton ... Young Quinn
Although the Imdb punters seem to hate this, I really got into it for some reason. I loved its grim smoldering visual appeal and Armageddon edge and enjoyed the director's boldness in transferring a mythical fairy tale to contemporary England. Rob Bowman isn't shy with his not so hidden political 'digs' in the subtext either and some of the more observant film fans quickly pick on that in the films visual message, definitely a comment or two on the state of America foreign policy, none more so than the ambush by the dragons of Van Zan and his team from above in a dead end, which Bowman owns up to that bias in the audio commentary. These directors and actors are just like you and me with their views and what better place to have them. I'm not saying the Dragons are really the US Air force or anything but there is references here. Moving modern American warfare to England's green and pleasant land is kind of surreal, perfected later on in Children of Men, of course.
The film also has some fun dialogue, of which I have liberally sprayed around my review. I think I have already mentioned the way Bale gives 100% to all his movies and I hear Batman is doing amazing business on the opening week in America. Here he bounces of Mathew McConaughey like leather on willow, Bale regularly smashing the atrocious American actor to the boundary. But bad acting and chest bumping aside if you go into this film with an open mind and your tongue-in-cheek and want to be entertained with something different then you will get enough from it. The dragon special effects are superb and if you loved the abstract clash of films like the Knights Tale with the pop music then I think you will get this. Let's be honest, if man made global warming is real as the rain crashes down on our windows then why not Dragons lurking somewhere warm for when the rain does finally stop...
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RuN-TiME 101 minutes
Imdb.com scores it 5.6 out of 10.0 (25,632 votes)
Audio Commentary option on the setup by director Rob Bowman
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Denton Van Zan 'Dragon Slayer': Ever see a male?
Quinn Abercromby: When I'm running for my life I generally don't look back at the plumbing.
Dragons are nasty creatures. You can tell purely by the fact that so many modern tales that feature them determinedly transform them into cuddly children's friends. No, they're vicious, fire-breathing flying lizards with an absolute contempt for all other life. A bit like the Americans.
In this latest account of how we should just feel damn lucky to have the honour of knowing our old colony, Britain (and presumably much of the rest of the world) has been overrun by dragons. Possibly the last group of survivors, lead precariously by Christian Bale, shelter in a battered castle up in Northumberland, where I went on holiday a few weeks ago.
Then... well, you know that revolting bit in Independence Day when the RAF are sitting around in the Gulf and wet themselves with relief that the Americans have got a plan together? Imagine that stretched into a two hour film.
Essentially, this film is a retelling of the Second World War the way the Americans like to think of it, flying in to save the day from a floundering Britain under heavy bombardment. Matthew McConaughey is amusing enough as the blood-crazed general, but as soon as that 'Envy the country with heroes' speech starts up, you really do want to slap him. To show how hard as nails as he is, thrill as he jumps off his tank. Seriously. 'Mummy, Mummy, watch me jump off this log!'
There's a tiny satirical element as General Git cocks up his crusade to London, but the crux of the film is this. Britain gets the living daylights blazed out of it (and with the 'natural napalm' breathed by the dragons, there's more than a hint of Vietnam in the survivors' struggles), is burned back to the Stone Age, and is then saved by US Marines flying in with helicopters, tanks, explosives, cigars and 3D mapping things. At the end of the film, the implication is clearly that one set of invaders has been ousted only to be replaced with Americans. They've colonised us back. Isn't that sweet? Ah well, at least we know how the Polish felt.
The neo-imperialist tone of these trigger-happy Yanks is not aided by the fact that the film is unremittingly humourless. Filmed in at least six shades of brown and grey so that at no point are you tempted to laugh at the dragons, there is one mildly amusing bit where the adults of the shelter demonstrate how Star Wars has become part of an oral tradition (American invasion by stealth). That's it. Other than that, it's a constant stream of dreary washed-out images, gun-toting Americans and only actually the occasional dragon to liven things up.
The plot is grotesquely flawed. Centring on the belief that killing the only male dragon will ensure the survival of humanity, the conclusion quietly ignores the hundreds of females seen in a brief shot of a ruined London skyline. 'They've probably died or something' says one of the characters and they all get comfortable in a rosy sunset. Pathetic.
Shaky camera-work conveys the attempt to film fire-breathing lizards realistically, although I got the impression that this was also to try and hide the fact that the film was fairly clearly done on the cheap (an almost thrilling conclusion amid hundreds of dragons is neatly averted when they, er, all wander off somewhere else).
Is there anything remotely good about this film? Yes. The dragons are quite nicely done. And they're the only reason you'd really be seeing the film anyway. However, the implicit political content is such that I urge you to boycott this film if you haven't seen it already. This is a patronising insult to the world from a country that believes it has the God-given right to mould all our cultures, and then declares any other group who does so to be terrorists. Reign of Fire could be described as the logical conclusion to the increasingly insane 'war on terrorism'. If this kind of cinematic trash is, as it appears, the legacy of September 11th, then the terrorists have already won. Hollywood is choking on its own filth.
Reign of Fire seems to be one of those movies that you either love or hate, very few people seem to fall into a middle category. You either buy into this type of post apocalypse fantasy or you find it all a bit childish. That said this in my opinion is one of the best of its kind in this genre. It is a bit of all things, its part fantasy, part horror but set in a possible not to distant future, if you can dont have a problem with the world of Mad Max 2 or Waterworld, then you will probably have no problem with the settinig of this film.
The story begins in the normal world of the near present, everything as familiar and as it should be. The young Quinn visits his mother at her work place, constructing tunnels under London. Whilst there the workers break through into what appears to be a natural cavern, and the young Quinn, being the typical curious yong boy, takes a look in side. What the cavern contains is set to change the course of the world, the cavern contains a sleeping dragon. The dragon breaks free in the process killing Quinns mother and the film then begins in earnest.
Forward in time twenty years, Quinn (Christian Bale) is an aduld, and dragons have bred to a level where they have dominated the world, feeding off the ash it creates in its destructive wake and devastating the population. Quinn is the leader of a small group of survivors keeping their heads down in a castle and barely scraping a living off of the surrounding countryside. One day a group of American militia arrive at the castle, a mechanised group of fighters armed with tanks, helicopters and tracking equipment. The leader, Denton Van Zan (Matthew McConaughey) tells Quinn that they are dragon slayers, that they have worked out how to kill them and are on a mission to the reclaim mans control of the land and air. Quinn is not convinced until the militia are forced to put their operation into action to great success. After an initial falling out and a parting of ways Quinn and Van Zan are forced to team up. They have realised that there is only on male, kill him and you wipe out the entire dragon population, that male is the one that Quinn witnessed as a child, and so they head off to London to face the ultimate challange, kill the largest dragon ever seen and save the world. The conclusion of the film you will have to view for yourselves.
The film has a dark and down beat feel to it, aa air of doom flows through the film like an evil cloud. But that is what adds to the films appeal. We are so used to seeing dragons in a high fantasy setting, all bright colours and shiny armoured heroes saving the day against turreted castles and the stunning vistas of a Rodney Matthews painting. Reign of Fire is set in a possible future, the people are every day people thrust into a life or death struggle with a stronger foe. There is no magic, no super heroes, no romantic fantasy setting, just the ash and grime of the end of days and a bunch of grubby ordinary people doing what they have to do. This makes the setting more believable, i know this is still a fantasy scenario, but even fantasy has to have a logical flow, resorting to magic and ancient prophecies is often an easy cop out, this film follows the harder option.
The special effects are stunning, its hard to make a mythical beast of such size and fluidity, move and fly with realism, but the CGI used to produce this end is flawless and the flight past of any dragon is spectacular. The final battle in the ruined London is also very well done and works all the better because the place feels familiar.
One piece of detail that I found well thought out is at the start of the film, when we first meet the adult Quinn. Quinn and his friend Creedy are performing a play for the children of their group, the scene they are playing is the "Luke I am your Father" scene from Star Wars, quite a nice touch I feel and an idea of how modern media may end up in the human subconcious, to be encorporated in the myths and tales of far future generations.
All in all a dark and spectacular film, but best suited to those who are at home with fantasy and sci-fi themes. If you like your stories set in reality, then this might not be your cup of tea. But if you have a good imagination and like to indulge yourself in a couple of hours of escapism then enter the dragons lair.
INTRODUCTION Yesterday, my good friend Emily (Ophelia) came round and we decided to have a film and ice cream afternoon. So off we went to Blockbuster, where we came back armed with Reign of Fire on video (as they’d run out of copies on DVD). My only real reason for wanting to see this film was one shared by Emily – our mutual love of dragons! In fact, Our Em now sports a rather fetching one tattooed on her bottom! I had seen the trailers for the film and had mentioned to hubby about wanting to see it. However, he had mumbled something into his beard along the lines of “Looks awful … Not my kind of thing … Give me a football game on the Playstation any day…” So, that was a No then. Video in. Ice cream melting. Emily and I ready and waiting. Let the film begin… For those that don’t already know, here’s a quick idea of the plot, before I get into full opinionating mode. PLOT (No spoilers!) As a twelve-year-old in 2002, Quinn (Christian Bale) sees his mother killed by a dragon, after a team of construction workers disturb its lair… Speeding along to 2020, Britain has since been devastated by a huge World vs Dragons war, leaving everywhere pretty much destroyed with only a few hundred survivors. These survivors are led by Quinn and his sexy Scottish sidekick Creedy (Gerard Butler). They are scraping by, just about surviving, holed up in a castle and trying their best to raise all the little orphans they found on their travels. Then the Americans arrive (with the best line in the whole film, comparing Americans to dragons) and they set up base there too, led by scary looking Denton Van Zan (Matthew McConaughey) and eye candy Alex (Polish Bond Girl, Izabella Scorupco). It’s somewhat of an uneasy liaison between the two camps, but they are at least united by the common enemy. When Van Zan produces a dragon tooth from a
round his neck and some unorthodox ideas to kill the beasties, Quinn must decide whether to ally his group with them or whether the Americans really can’t be trusted… MY OPINION Well, it’s a bit of a mixed bunch, this one. Parts of it are excellent and other parts definitely disappoint. The film seemed to gloss over some important issues we felt could have done with more explanation – then other sections just needlessly d r a g g e d … Christian Bale is excellent as Quinn, he really stands out. From those who remember him as I do, as a well-spoken baby-faced child actor in Empire of the Sun, you would barely recognise him in this. Approaching thirty, this role saw him grubby-faced, desperately in need of a haircut and a shave and with an accent to rival any EastEnders regular. Surprisingly, he has turned into a rather sexy bloke and this film is worth seeing for him, as well as the dragons. Gerard Butler was unknown to me before this film, but his dark looks and sultry Scottish accent made the film rather more watchable too. Then there is McConaughey, who was unrecognisable in this film (at least to me) with his bald head, bulging muscles and permanently threatening grimace etched on to his face. The acting was pretty good, I felt. They were all believable and the dialogue was well delivered, despite the obvious ludicrous words they occasionally had to come out with. Another plus point is the general cinematography. The scenery is all very dark for the majority of the film – blacks, greys, browns – with few glimpses of colour. One of these comes from the bright green apple thrown from the Americans’ tank (Now, there’s symbolism!) and the rest comes from the impressive reds, yellows and oranges puffed out from your unfriendly magic dragons. Some of the shots are breathtakingly beautiful and visually stunning. Dragons flying over London, fiery orange
s glowing through holes in well-worn wings are a highlight of the film. In fact, I would say the 98 minutes of the film are worth sitting through just for scenes like this. The dragons are realised in a way that is reminiscent of the first viewing of Jurassic Park. Open mouthed wonder and awe is compulsory at this stage. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see enough of the dragons, but when we do, these scenes are powerful and the images memorable. So, the acting’s very good, Christian Bale’s rather scrummy and the dragons are gorgeous. You can tell there’s a BUT here, right? Yes, there is. Somehow the film fails, despite those afore-mentioned good points. For a short film, it drags. There are whole chunks of the film where nothing much seems to happen and it’s easy to nip off to make a cuppa, without missing anything – and I don’t mean, without missing anything * vital * - I mean without missing ANYTHING! But while large sections of the film drag and drag, other parts are skimmed over with more than a throwaway comment. There’s a lovely bit inside the castle where Quinn explains to Alex why the children are there and how he came to save one particular orphaned boy. This provides important background to the story, while showing a gentler side to Quinn, but it is allowed barely a couple of sentences before moving on. I also felt we deserved more explanation about events leading up to their situation in 2020. Although we were permitted the odd ‘Info Dump’ throughout, these seemed to only leave me wanting more. I had a whole heap of unanswered questions. How had they managed to survive that long? If the dragons were starving, why hadn’t they just eaten them all? How come Quinn and Co. didn’t know about the Americans’ existence? It was all a bit – well – abandoned really. It was as if the writers hadn’t understood it all either. So, to sum up, on the good side, we have – Dragons! Christian Bale! Great cinematography! Then on the negative side, we have – Large chunks of the plot unexplained. Often complex, complicated and confusing due to these omissions. Therefore, hard to believe and get swept up in. Overall, disappointing – it could have been so much better. And more importantly … Not enough dragons! Christian keeps his shirt on too much! So, the good bits are excellent and the bad bits are almost unforgivable. But for any other dragon fans, you must watch this, if only to see those magnificent creatures appearing as real as they ever will. Recommended – but with reservations. 6/10 Reign of Fire was released on video and DVD on June 9th and is now available to hire. Amazon are selling the DVD for £14.99 and the video for £11.99.
This film is absolutely dire, Quite how this made it to the cinema screens, I will never know? Perhaps it has a lot to do with the director, Rob Bowman. I have a lot of respect for this man, well at least I did. His television credits are long and impressive. Director of such great series as Start trek: the next generation, The X-files, Quantum Leap, Alien Nation and of course Baywatch (alright Baywatch was naff but worship by millions of horny teenaged boys across the world, you can hardly ignore it!) I guess this gave him the weight to bring such a travesty to the big screen. So why did I hate it so much? Read on? ~~The Story~~ Young Quinn visits his mother at her place of work. Being a construction engineer, his mother is involved in tunnelling under modern day London. Quite why she is doing this remains unclear. Suddenly the drilling team stumble across an underground cavern. Boys being boys, Quinn goes to investigate and is shocked to find a great big dragon staring down at him. As he and his mother try to escape in the open caged lift, the dragon attacks. Causing his mothers death and leaving him with a great fear of all things large and fire breathing. The story then moves on twenty years. In this time the dragon has escaped into the modern world and bred like a rabbit. Thousands of fire breathing dragons now control the skies, causing death and destruction all around. Only a few people remain on the planet and Quinn is one of them. Leader of a small colony living in a castle, he prepares the young children of the group for a life of misery. Teaching them to run and hide every time they see a dragon. They live this awful existence until one day a hero comes in the form of Denton Van San. Denton is an American soldier who, with the help of his troops, tanks and a helicopter, hunts down dragons with a vengeance. Denton has noticed that all the dragons that he has killed were female and has a theory that the dragon previo
us unleashed by Quinn and his mother all those years ago, is the only male in existence. Kill the only male and the dragons die out! I will say no more on the plot, just in case someone out there is tempted to watch it! (Personally, I wouldn't bother!) ~~The Actors/performances~~ Christian Bale plays Quinn as an adult. It is no surprise that his performance is dull and uninspiring. The script is dire and full of holes. Even the greatest actors in the world would look bad working with this rubbish and he isn't one of the greatest actors in the first place! Matthew McConaughey plays Denton Van San and is probably the most disappointing out of the lot. His performance is no worse than the rest of the cast, but I expected much more from him. He reminds me of a young Marlon Brando in both appearance and ability. He has been in a lot of films and often shone brightly. Playing Jake Tyler Brigance in the film A Time to Kill, particularly sticks in my mind. But in this film he is almost laughable as the over-the-top war veteran with a grudge against all things scaly. An actor of his calibre should have been able to stay well clear of piffle such as this, I just hope he is a bit more choosy in the future! Polish born Izabella Scorupco plays Alex, helicopter pilot and love interest in this film. She is absolutely gorgeous and very easy on the eye. Unfortunately she is also wooden as a plank! As for the rest of the cast, just a complete bunch of nobodies who will probably always remain so. Only the child actors showed any sign of life and they were in the background! ~~Special Effects~~ Well if nothing else, this is probably the only area in which this film actually does quite well. The dragon sequences are pretty flawless and believable. Buildings burn realistically and when the dragons fly about setting fire to all and sundry, it looks really good. ~~Overall thoughts~~
What a load of rubbish. The script is so bad that a five year old child could write one better. There are more holes in the plot than a packet of polo mints. For example, after twenty years of death and destruction, resources are supposedly scarce and yet Alex spends most of her time flying around in a helicopter. At the same time Van Sar and the rest of his troops drive around in tanks. Where the hell did all the fuel and spare parts come from? Van Sar and his cronies also fire their weapons like it's going out of fashion, so where did they get all their ammunition? Going back to Alex and her helicopter. How come the dragons seem to notice when someone steps out of the front gate of the castle and yet totally ignore a ruddy great helicopter for most of the film? Van Sar drives tanks. Big tanks and yet cannot drive down a road because it is blocked by cars. Have you seen how easily a tank can drive over a car? Quinns' dragon is the only male, so where did the first female come from? Oh I could go on and on... This film is rubbish. Watch it for the special effects if you must or even to see how a film should not be made. They don't get much worse than this! Running time: 101 minutes Rated 12 .
I finally got to see a film that I have been wanting to see for quite some time today, I have always been a fan of horror type flicks and I admit to being a special effects freak as well. So if a film includes, monsters, ghoulies, dinosaurs and mythical creatures of any kind, this is usually enough to entice me along to see it, be it at the cinema or from the local video store. When I found out that ‘Reign of fire’ was all about huge dragons invading London, I simply had to see it, unfortunately when it hit the cinemas I was a little low on funds and as a result, I have had to wait for the DVD release. REIGN OF FIRE: ////// THE PLOT \\\\\\ Reign of fire begins with an ordinary little boy walking through the London streets, he is heading to see his mother who is working under the London underground as a construction worker. The little boy then investigates a small hole that has been bored through into a sealed off cave and to his total horror, he accidentally wakes up a huge sleeping dragon. The boy escapes and runs to his mother frantically trying to tell her what he has seen, it is too late though, the awoken dragon is now hungry and has only one thing in mind, to reach the surface and feed. The boy and his mother try to escape to the surface in the lift while the other construction workers are being engulfed in ball of flames. It is too little too late and the dragon beats them to it, as it climbs past the lift the boy lies on the floor and closes his eyes, when he opens them, the dragon has disappeared and his mother is dead. We then shoot forward almost 20 years, the year is 2020, the place is Northumberland and we find that this dragon has bred thousands more and the earth is now totally ruled by the fierce creatures. Only a handful of human survivors remain despite a huge global war against the seemingly unstoppable creatures. The little boy is now a grown man called Quinn (Christian Bale
– American Psycho) and he is the leader of a small group of people who have taken refuge in and tried to make a home of an old castle. They fear that they are the only people left on the planet and they try to protect their small castle residence from the fire breathing beasts as best they can. Just when things are starting to get desperate, a dragon hunter called Van Zaan (Mathew McConaughey – Contact, A time to kill) and his small band of helpers turn up at the castle gates armed to the teeth with weapons and army vehicles. They seek a place to get some rest and to fuel up, Van Zaan has knowledge that these hoards of dragons are all female with the exception of just one gigantic male, he plans to kill it and end the dragons reign of fire. Together, Van Zaan and Quinn must try with the help of their small clans to make sure that mankind survive by defeating the dragons once and for all. ////// SPECIAL EFFECTS \\\\\\ What can I say about the special effect in Reign of fire? Simple, absolutely wonderful, the dragons are so realistic it’s untrue, they genuinely look like real animals and not like the cheap nasty special effects seen in such films as, Harry Potter and the Philosophers stone and Spiderman. Now before I get bawled at by loads of Harry Potter fans and Spiderman addicts, I’m only using them as an example because I loathe special effects that you can clearly see are done on a computer and don’t mix right with the real life film footage. Special effects done with a computer have got to be done right or they look really cheap and tacky, the computer effects here are truly spot on. The make up effects are pretty good too, the people in the film look ragged, scruffy and worn out, they also have normal coloured teeth instead of that Hollywood pearly white glow. ////// My Thoughts \\\\\\ Reign of fire is a superb action movie, the cast do a great job with a rather clunky scri
pt, by this I mean that apart from the main two characters (McConaughey and Bale), the rest of the cast have very limited dialogue. They still have a lot of significance and running around to do though, and for this part they do a believable enough job. McConaughey, taking a break from his usual Hollywood pretty boy image, is first class as the ragged dragon hunter Van Zaan and he looks like he belongs in the next Mad Max film. Bale looks similarly barbaric and also plays his part with a great deal of believability. The real stars of this movie though are the dragons, they are simply fantastic and make this movie worth watching on their own. The movie did get mixed reviews when it was released last year and was unfairly panned by some of the critics but these are the same people that seem to give foreign subtitled films 5 stars. Okay, the script is a little bland for a film such as this but it does not mask what a great film this is. It was directed by Rob Bowman of the X-files Movie fame and he uses some great camera skills to capture a truly apocalyptic feel to the film If you like dragons, if you like a good all round action flick, hell if you simply like to be entertained then go out and rent this film, it is simply class. However, if period drama’s and subtitled slush is more to your taste, then I would advise you to give it a miss. I fall into the first category and recommend this film wholeheartedly, It is out on DVD and video now rated 12. Thanks for the read. DEANO!
Very odd film this, but I was pleasantly surprised. It looked great, was set in England (and English people weren't the baddies for once!) and glamourised places like Northumbria and Norwich! This instantly made me warm to the film (pun intended). We did need to be saved by the Americans, but this is a Hollywood film I suppose (interesting parallels with the current "war on terror" perhaps, but probably unintentional.) The plot was bog-standard and often implausible but good peerformances all round and some interesting characterisation raised this film above other summer fare (it's a lot better than Resident Evil). Star Trek fans will be pleasantly surprised to see Alice Krige (Borg Queen) at the beginning and Alexander Siddig (Bashir from DS9) as a bit-part radio operator, not exactly a glorious role but nice to see him again. What did annoy me about the film were the accents. We're in Northumbria, but the castle is populated by (Dick van Dyke style) cockneys. Why? Why weren't there any North-Eastern accents? Does Hollywood only understand two British accents: cockney and posh? And we seemed to hop over to London like it was next door, when London is around 400 miles away. Other plot improbabilities include the weakness of the dragons that leads to their downfall, the fact the dragons thrive on ash yet seem to want to eat people, the fact that the castle population were starving yet they could have easily grown mushrooms/fungi and other produce underground, the fact that the castle occupants had an arsenal of weaponry yet civilians don't have access to guns in the UK (OK maybe they took them from military installations but the weapons weren't British standard issue). All in all a fair bit of nonsense, with some odd homo-erotic fights and staring by the two male leads. Or maybe that's just my interpretation..
Not quite the large-scale epic it promised to be, Reign of Fire is still an enjoyable entry in the post-catastrophe genre. It opens in present-day London with a boy witnessing the rebirth of the race of dragons, who are supposed to have wiped out the dinosaurs and now devastate the world again. Skipping the collapse of society with a montage of magazine articles about the world in flames, we jump into the future where the remnants of humanity cower in enclaves and fire-breathing raggedy-winged bat-lizards prowl the land. Christian Bale commands a castle in Northumberland, trying to preserve humanity, while Matthew McConaughey is an iron man warrior intent on tracking down and destroying the dragon king, making for a hero-against-hero clash of values which, for a change, finds the British preserver of life, rather than the Yankee animal-killer, getting the girl and the glory. The film consists mostly of scrabbling about in the ruins, and it rather skimps on the big dragon battles the script seems to demand. There's little here that hasn't been done before in The Day of the Triffids on television or that slew of Italian Mad Max imitations of the early 1980s. But director Rob Bowman (The X-Files) and a good cast handle themselves well, and the few times that the dragons do show up they deliver an acceptable burst of fiery horror. --Kim Newman On the DVD: Reign of Fire has a fairly perfunctory set of additional features on disc. A brief (under 10 minutes) making-of documentary consists mainly of computer geek animators obsessing about CG effects; back in the real world, "If You Can't Stand the Heat" looks at the on-set pyrotechnics. Director Rob Bowman chats affably about the project in a separate interview. Trailers for the movie and video game form the balance. The subdued (ie. gloomy) colours come up well in the anamorphic widescreen print, and the evocative soundscape is suitably full of sub-woofer-friendly rumblings, thuddings and explosions. --Mark Walker