Reign of Fire (2002)
Directed by: Rob Bowman | 101 minutes | action, fantasy, thriller | Actors: Christian Bale, Matthew McConaughey, Izabella Scorupco, Gerard Butler, Scott Moutter, David Kennedy, Alexander Siddig, Ned Dennehy, Rory Keenan, Terence Maynard, Doug Cockle, Randall Carlton, Chris Kelly, Ben Thornton, Alice Krige, Malcolm Douglas, Dessie Gallagher, Martin Linnane, Denis Conway, Duncan Keegan, Laura Pyper, Berts Folan, Brian McGuinness, Barry Barnes, David Herlihy, Gerry OBrien, Paddy Foy, Anne Maria McAuley, Maree Duffy, Alex Meacock, David Garrick, Andy Goobold, Sebastian Siegel
‘Reign of Fire’ is an original film that contains elements of both a medieval and a dark post-apocalyptic world. For example, the castle in which the main characters live has a strong medieval feel and dragons are also basically creatures that usually appear in fables and myths from that era. However, the dragons have been used as a means of ushering in a sort of end-of-time era when humanity must finally relinquish its dominance and recognize that a stronger life form exists. We were previously introduced to such a scenario in Terminator, among others, where mechanical life forms end the rule of the human race. The makers of ‘Reign of Fire’ have certainly succeeded in convincingly portraying the post-apocalyptic world that has arisen after the takeover of the dragons. Cities and villages have become collections of dilapidated ruins and all trees, plants and shrubs have turned to ashes, reducing the landscape to little more than a large barren plain. The special effects are also impressive, especially when you consider that the budget of 50 million dollars for a film of the ‘Reign of Fire’ type is somewhat on the tight side. The dragons don’t come into view very often (this will probably have to do with the limited budget), but they look very nice. The huge male dragon in particular is an extremely impressive sight.
In terms of content, the film mainly focuses on the contrast between the two main protagonists Quinn (Christian Bale) and Van Zan (Matthew McConaughey). Quinn is kind of the conscience of the movie. On the one hand, he has a fervent desire to end the reign of the dragons, but on the other, he is unwilling to risk the lives of the people he has sworn to protect. However, Van Zan is the quintessential soldier who has no qualms about sacrificing both his own life and that of those around him. Both actors play their roles fairly convincingly, although Van Zan occasionally comes across as a bit cliché and seems to be a combination of the typical, dutiful American Marine and a kind of Mad Max. The rest of the cast plays a relatively marginal role and exerts little influence on the course of the story.
Story-wise, ‘Reign of Fire’ shows some weaknesses. In the beginning, for example, we are told that the same dragons that in the story take over world domination from humans were also responsible for the disappearance of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. The fact that the dragons retreat to their underground shelter for centuries afterwards and then return again in the 20th century seems somewhat illogical. Also strange is that the survivors, equipped with only a limited arsenal of weapons, a few military vehicles and a helicopter, are able to resist the dragons, when the combined armies the world has at their disposal were apparently unable to fight the dragons. fire-breathing creatures. The ending of the film is also not too strong and raises at least a few question marks.
‘Reign of Fire’ is a film that is mainly visually fine. The dragons look convincing and the film has a nice dark atmosphere that fits well with the story. Also the acting of Bale and McConaughey in particular is decent. That the story here and there has the necessary imperfections, is actually not so disturbing with a film of this type. Viewers who are waiting for a perfectly worked out and in-depth story might want to avoid this film, but this movie is ideal for a nice relaxing evening on the couch.