Ossus Library Index Science Fiction Movie Index

REIGN OF FIRE

Directed by Rob Bowman (2002, Touchstone Pictures)
Starring Matthew McConaughey, Christian Bale, and Izabella Scorupco

After dragons are unleashed on the world, some of the survivors attempt to to destroy their leader.

 

 

1+ stars+

November 2nd, 2002 in the Theatre  
    A lack of substance and mediocre acting and effects made this movie a disappointment, but it still could have been enjoyed. Unfortunately, the simplicity of the resolution brings it down another notch.

I hate simple solutions to hopeless situations. As soon as it came out of the American's mouth that there was only one male dragon, based on the fact that females have only ever been seen, my suspension of disbelief, which was doing fine until then, went sour. How can the dragons be terrorizing the world, and there be only one male? Do the females travel all the way across the planet to have their eggs fertilized by a single male? That doesn't sound like evolution to me. Jurassic Park established frighteningly well how it is impossible to only have one sex born, even under controlled environments.

Still, I was hoping to have the story turn into something of a personal mission for Quinn after that. Sure, that's what seemed to happen, but there was nothing satisfying about it, except that the American leader was killed. Man, was McConaughey annoying in that role! Why did it have to be an American group that saved the day, once again, except to appeal to national pride at the box-office window?

This film has to have the most misleading trailers that I've ever seen. The preview implied that we would see a war. What we got was much better from a human perspective, I think. Still, it was messy in execution.

Why did we have to see everything from snapshots in Time magazine, with a voiceover that doesn't give us much information. I think it was supposed to be emotional, but it didn't work. And what was that bit about the dragons killing off the dinosaurs? Since we have dinosaur fossils by the thousands (or more) and no dragon fossils, what does that imply, even to a movie audience? The end was much the same way, since after the male dragon dies, the females seem to stop terrorizing the world, and die off. I guess they have a very short lifespan, except for the male.

Regardless, I found the human aspect of the tortured Quinn to be mildly interesting. This was not a great movie, by any means, but it started out well enough. Life at the castle where Quinn leads is well-depicted. Their alarms, prayers, lightsaber dramas (!) and quarrels were interesting enough to give us the feel of barely hanging on to life, and to the emotions of how they feel about the future. I did wonder how they sustained the electricity, though, even after the male dragon attacked.

Unfortunately, they didn't do anything with it. It would have been so much better to have Quinn as an obsessed man, trying different means to kill the dragons, and finally offered the ultimate strategy by these newcomers.

Strangely enough, I didn't find the scene where they demonstrated their ability to kill the dragon to be impressive. The graphics were alright, but nothing special. I found myself wondering how these beasts could defeat state of the art military aircraft, when this one couldn't catch a helicopter and barely caught a skydiver in freefall.

However, the aftermath was satisfying, as the American strolls into a celebration and criticizes them for enjoying their little victory, which cost so much. I felt the same way when I saw it happening. But didn't it look like Alex was joining them, or was she just looking for a place to land?

Speaking of Alex, I was awed by her beauty. She had intense eyes, and beautiful lips, but it certainly didn't look like she had been fighting dragons for very long. Her skin was perfect -no blemishes, scorches, and her hair just barely messed up. It's no wonder Quinn falls for her, early on. I don't understand why she had to turn so emotional suddenly under fire. If she couldn't handle the stress, she shouldn't have been brought along. She doesn't lose it even when being chased by a dragon in a helicopter. Really, it should have been Quinn falling apart.

If only they had known about the male-dragon theory earlier, when there were still nuclear weapons available. Then they could have bombed London and been done with it. As impressive as the male was (the only really impressive dragon), I wondered why he crawled so often. It seemed that he crawled up to the castle to destroy it, instead of landing where he wanted to. How did he trace their path back to the castle, anyway? If it was by scent, then he should have found Quinn a lot earlier, and dragons should be able to sniff out all the humans left.

The American didn't seem too smart, either. Once he arrived in London, he says there is no time to deploy the 3D imaging grid -but then just stands around waiting. If missiles couldn't take out the dragon, what use did he think little machine-gun bullets would do? His statement to Quinn that "you were right" is surely a lot of solace to the man whose castle he destroyed.

The movie really degenerated once the Americans arrived. Up until then, at least it was mildly interesting. I wish we could have seen more dragons (did the male actually eat all of the females in London while those three were watching -that's the only way we can explain the sudden change in the odds), and more techniques used to kill them. The movie was quite short, so that they could have added more of Quinn's journey. I'm sure he blamed himself and his mother for letting the first one loose.

I know the print of the movie that I saw was in pretty poor condition, but so much of it seemed to be actual blurriness in the film, and the sound was not well balanced, either. This film would have been only "okay" with the main plot and execution, moderate acting, and dreary atmosphere. Unfortunately, there are so many plot holes that it ruins most of what happens before it.

 
   

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