REIGN OF FIRE
If You Can’t Stand the Heat . . .
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Christian
Bale, Izabella Scorupco,
Gerard Butler, and Scott James
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 100 minutes
Distributor: Touchstone Pictures/Buena
Director: Rob Bowman
Executive Producer: Jonathan Glickman
Producer: Richard D. Zanuck, Lili Fini
Zanuck, Gary Barber, and Roger
Writer: Gregg Chabot, Kevin Peterka,
and Matt Greenberg
Address Comments To:Michael Eisner, Chairman/CEO
Buena Vista Distribution Co.
(Walt Disney Pictures, Caravan, Hollywood, Miramax, & Touchstone Pictures)
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521
Phone: (818) 560-1000
Soon the world is covered with fire as the dragon population explodes to millions and its flaming rampages turn cities to ashes, and humans to food. There is only one hope for mankind . . . atomic weapons.
Twenty years later, the earth is a post-apocalyptic disaster. The atomic bombs failed to work. Quinn has survived to adulthood and is shepherding a group of half-starved people hiding out in an ancient castle, made dragon-proof. Their life is one of constant fear and vigilance, and no one knows how they’ll survive. Soon a dangerous looking stranger with a small army appears. Are they raiders, or friends?
The stranger, named Van Zan, is an American and calls himself a “Dragon Slayer.” After he and his team do the impossible and kill a dragon, he says he knows the secret to their total destruction, and it lies in London.
REIGN OF FIRE is a combination of a ROAD WARRIOR movie, ALIENS and a KING ARTHUR movie. Director Bowman makes good use of the UK locations and weather to create a hopeless, forsaken feel. The battered castle with its Crusader-esque chapel, walls and rooms reminds viewers of dragon slaying knights.
REIGN OF FIRE is a classic monster movie where the audience is made to feel that the heroes may be roasted alive or eaten at any moment. Humans are considered the weaker species, and all hope of ever winning has been lost. Quinn (Christian Bale) is the White Knight who protects and serves his castle and keep. Matthew McConaughey is the Rogue Knight who does not play by the rules, but delivers results anyway. At one point in the movie, Quinn and his friend do a funny re-creation for the children in the castle of the famous confrontation between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker in the second STAR WARS movie. The fascinated expressions of the children watching this little play are very cute and clearly demonstrate the power of storytelling to delight and influence children.
The dragons are not personified in REIGN OF FIRE, nor are they supernatural, nor do they speak. They are “evolutionary” wonders that fly and shoot two fluids out of their mouths that combine and ignite to form a type of napalm. (The Bombardier beetle does the same from his backside, creating a micro explosion!)
Despite several strong profanities, the movie has no sex or salacious nudity, and the director does a good job of holding the gore to a minimum, while keeping the suspense to a maximum. The main flaws for committed Christians and conservative audiences are an early scene where a crazed old man holding a Bible talks about the end of the world. In an apparent warm moment before bed, the children in the castle kneel, put their hands together and pray something like, “When we are awake we keep two eyes on the sky. When we sleep we keep one eye on the sky. When they come, we run and hide and never look back. Amen.” Along with showing a total lack of trust in God are several references to evolution that also taint the movie.
Nevertheless, as a genre film, REIGN OF FIRE is relatively mild. It delivers unusual adventure. The photography, acting and special effects are also top-rate, and the music augments the mood, as it should. If you like movies like THE ROAD WARRIOR, DRAGON HEART, WATER WORLD, THE POSTMAN, PREDATOR, ALIENS, ROBIN HOOD, INDEPENDENCE DAY, and GODZILLA, REIGN OF FIRE may be right up your alley! Many parents will want to keep the children at home, however.
REIGN OF FIRE is a combination of a ROAD WARRIOR movie, ALIENS and a King Arthur movie. It’s a classic monster movie where the audience feels that at any moment the heroes may be roasted alive or eaten at any moment. Despite several strong profanities, the movie has no sex or nudity, and the director does a good job of holding the gore to a minimum, while keeping the suspense to a maximum. The movie lacks a God-centered attitude, however, so it deserves a caution for older children. Nevertheless, REIGN OF FIRE is an entertaining adventure story