Thursday, 7 February 2013

Film Review: Reign of Fire (2003)

When talking about fantasy films, I always find myself trying to think of a really good film with dragons in it. Inevitably I come around to Reign of Fire. It’s actually a pretty decent dragon movie. Think war movie meets apocalypse film rather than fantasy fare and that’s the sort of pseudo military vibe of a large chunk of the film.

The premise is essentially: dragon is discovered, then suddenly they are everywhere, reducing everything to ash. Humans are ill-equipped to survive and - hurrah! - now we have an odd sort of modern medieval setting.


Visually it’s pretty dark and grim and not very shiny at all. The dragons are impressive and it is the right look for the mood, being also dark and grim and not very shiny. Christian Bale with a beard does a great job as the community leader Quinn trying to do the right thing and help his group survive. Matthew McConaughey also with a beard is a real surprise as military type Denton Van Zan really selling the slightly mental hard case angle.

"If you listen to this dragon's tooth carefully, you can hear the sea..."


The start of the film, set in the world loosely as we know it, sets up the post Dragonpocalypse environment well and there is a bit of voice over to fill in some of the ‘need to know’ stuff, but mostly everything is handled through the action and character interaction (pointed glare at Age of the Dragons).

It’s not for everyone, it’s not a shiny fantasy movie with magic and wizards and stuff. It’s a war film where the enemy force is a giant flying lizard species. The characters weren’t the most compelling ever and I didn’t get as involved emotionally as I might have, but it was a solid effort. A very entertaining watch; easy on the brain, great visually and the actors did their jobs well.

Adele Wearing

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