"I honestly do not understand all the bad reviews that Reign of Fire received when it opened. Most people expected an Independence Day style brainless special effects vehicle and instead they got a slow paced character driven sci-fi flick. I guess these are the same people who thought XXX was a masterpiece. Anyway, I love Reign of Fire for everything it is and isn't. Matthew McConaughey (who it is great to see in another great movie without Hollywood gloss, see Frailty to see what I mean) brings to life one of his best roles in the dragonslaying Van Zan, while Christian Bale proves once again that he isn't just female eye candy (for another example see American Psycho). Both actors are fantastic, while X-Files film director Rob Bowman moves the film at a purposely slow pace so that every time we get a glimpse of a dragon it leaves the viewer wanting more and eventually getting it. The dragons themselves must be seen to be believed, they breathe, move, and stalk like one would imagine a dragon would in real life. All in all, Reign of Fire is a masterful high grade B-movie that shines without the Hollywood gloss, and is a true treat of a film."
The Truth About Dragons
Joshua Koppel | Chicago, IL United States | 07/12/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A London construction project uncovers a horrible secret and a young boy loses his mother at the same time. A tunnel project has awakened a dragon. Soon they breed like rats and proceed to burn civilization and all life into oblivion. They have been here before but we did not recognize the signs. Their attack is so quick that years later humanity is all but completely wiped out.
The young boy is now a young man and in charge of a group of refugees trying to reestablish themselves. Dragons are getting desperate as their food supply is almost completely gone. But internal and external forces combine to bring great change. Some residents are losing faith and want to go against the community's plan. A group of American military arrive and they specialize in killing dragons. They also have a crazy plan for getting rid of the dragons for good but they need more men.
This tale of survivors facing impossible odds with an iron will to survive is well crafted and easily rewatchable. The acting is good while the effects are excellent. but this is not a movie about dragons, it is a movie about people and how they deal with adversity. Although the movie is really about people, the dragons are wonderful and full of menace. Definitely worth watching."
An atypical "B" flick with grade-A effects!
Michael Kramer | Menominee, Mi. | 07/13/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Sure, this movie is a mish-mash of Mad Max, King Arthur, and Dragonslayer. Sure there are holes and a few question marks in the plot. But then again...we're watching a movie about dragons and the people who live in a future time where dragons rule so, why question it to begin with?
I was afraid of seriously cheesey dragon effects a la Dungeons and Dragons, but WOW was I pleasantly surprised! The creatures were well textured and moved almost cat-like. The fire they breathed didn't look all pixellated like a lot of fire done with CGI. That all combined to deliver a good-looking (?) set of monsterous dragons.
The sound was probably the best I've heard in a long time. The theater I saw it in is set up for Dolby Digital surround...and let me tell you: this movie made FULL use of the sound system!!! Dragons flying all around you..and when they growled..whoa..puts a shiver down your spine!!!
Go see it, don't believe it....just enjoy it. The actors are all excellent, even though at times the British actors's accents were so thick it made understanding them all but impossible. This movie is around 1 hr. and 40 minutes long...not too short and not too long...but long enough enjoy the heck out of yourself!!!"
M. A. Bechaz | Australia | 07/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I won't beat about the bush: I LOVED THIS MOVIE! It was so exciting, I was on the edge of my seat the whole way through. At times, I even began to cheer!
I've been stuck in bed sick these last few days and I've had to endure watching some dreadful movies in that time. But this was a great change from those. Out of all the movies I've watched lately, this was far and away the best one.
The storyline of this movie is not entirely original--it definitely borrows elements from Mad Max, George A. Romero's Day of the Dead, and John Wyndham's book The Day of the Triffids. But all three of those were absolutely brilliant, and so is this.
I noticed that one Amazon reviewer complained that they could not understand the accents in this movie. Well, I would advise that reviewer to get their hearing checked because I didn't have a problem with the accents at all. If you can't understand the occasional very mild Scottish accent, you really need to get a life. FYI, though, most of the characters in this speak with an English or American accent, neither of which should be too hard for persons of average intelligence to understand.
I also read reviews that claimed there were too few dragons and not enough drama in this movie. Jeeze, those reviewers so didn't get it. As I saw it, there was a good reason why the dragons weren't onscreen the whole time and it had to do with building drama: the drama was actually in the 'when will the dragons come, will they find us, oh God, is that just the wind outside or the sound of a dragon coming to get us, aaargh!' type suspense. Silence of the Lambs didn't just feature Hannibal Lector and the other serial killer slaughtering people all the way through it--it relied on the suspense factor, the 'what will happen next?' feeling, the build up, the psychology. Suspense = drama, and in this movie, if the dragons were on screen the whole time, you'd lose that. (Be assured, though, that plenty of dragons do appear, and when they do, they're awesome!) Also, the reviewers seemed to miss the scintillating psychological drama of the 'enemy within' component of the story. The people living in the fortress were unsure about whether the well-armed and scary looking American soldiers they were letting into their midst were friends or foe. Were these new humans in fact more dangerous to them than the dragons outside? That was the same thing I loved about Romero's 'Day of the Dead', and I thought it worked well in this movie too. Let's face it, some people are scarier than the worst of Hollywood monsters, and the military certainly has its fair share of these people.
I could go on for hours pointing out the flaws in some of the other reviews, but I won't bother. If people want to be dumb, let 'em. There are some logic gaps in this movie's script, sure, but not nearly as many as the other reviewers say. Watch this for the entertainment value, not just to nitpick, and you won't be disappointed.
I loved the sense of humour in this movie--it may be set in a grim 'end of the world' scenario where the few survivors are forced to live in almost medieval conditions, but the people prove that they can still have a laugh and keep themselves entertained. (You MUST check out the 'Star Wars' panto they put on, it's an absolute hoot.)
The cast is top notch. Matthew McConaughy is awesome, and such an over-the-top gung-ho army guy that he's almost scarier than the dragons. Christian Bale is inspiring--he's strong, but at the same time very human and vulnerable, a good guy caught in a very bad situation. And Gerard Butler is as lovely as he always is in movies, and yet, very tough and heroic--girls, as if you needed another reason to watch this, there it is!
There was never a slow moment in this movie. The action was brilliant, the fiery explosions were good and big and loud, and the special effect that allows us to see the world through a dragon's eyes was pretty cool. But the coolest part was when you get to see the world through the eyes of guys who are falling from a helicopter without a parachute whilst trying to hunt a dragon--I've got a fear of heights, but even I couldn't look away, it was so compelling.
Watch this, I urge you, but be warned--you might wear out the edge of your seat! And your lungs, too, as you cheer the heroes on.
If Only This Could Have Been 4-6 Hours Long
lordkwll | Los Angeles, CA, USA | 07/17/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm sure the title of my letter has created a groaning noise all across the net, since there are so many movies that should have been shortened by three hours at least. However, this movie could have been enormous if ample time had been available to really explore its story.After reading other reviews, most seemed satisfied with the visual effects,were less than thrilled about the heavy accents,were even less thrilled wth the plot, but still couldn't go all the way to disliking the movie. I had the exact same response to Minority Report, which I forgot within 10 minutes of my theater exit. Throughout my Reign of Fire experience, I was amazed at how strongly I could feel the plight of the characters, particularly those in the background like the small children who were powerless against the threat that they faced. When attacked by the male dragon, with fire engulfing the last bastion of hope they had, there was an absolutely apocalyptic weight in the air, and I appreciated the efforts of everyone involved in creating that, because it's rare now to ever feel more involved in a movie plot than you would in the average Lottery commercial on T.V. You know; the one where there's only one winner, it's obviously not you, and no matter how hard you try, you just can't jump for joy about it.The explanation of events in the movie was believable, and they did a relatively good job of getting themselves out of the bind the trailer got them in; namely explaining how 40 people were going to defeat millions of dragons while resorting to such tactics as jumping off of rooftops with battle axes. However, I would like to have seen a lot more of the backstory portrayed on film, and a much more involved, developing resistance to the dragons resulting in far more unsuccessful rebellion attempts of increasing complexity and danger. The film felt really short, like there was so much ground to cover and such a mountain of a premise to overcome, and thus, defeating a million dragons was factored down to defeating just one real...dragon. I'd have taken the risk and played out a plotline based on the trailer's premise; it would have made the movie all it could have been.I agree with the consensus that there should have been far more interaction with the dragons themselves at a much closer range than what we saw. They ultimately appeared to be little more than a plot device scripted in to add urgency to the relationship between the lead characters. This was a major flaw, similar to but not as devastating as seen in that $98 million Heckle and Jeckle movie with the cameo by Godzilla. I was also not amused by the party scene with the Jimi Hendrix music playing in the background. Yes the roof is on fire, but hopefully because of the dragons, not because the music was funky. The intensity of the situations depicted simply demanded more in-depth experiences than we were given.All in all, Reign of Fire was enjoyable for what it was, even with knowledge of what it COULD have been. Sure, it borrowed from Jurassic Park, possibly Waterworld, and practically worshipped both The Terminator and Mad Max, but the premise, character acting, effects, and atmosphere more than made up for this. You may still groan at the title of my letter after what I've said, but for those who have seen it already, just think of what could have been done with this given the same running time as Lord of the Rings. For those who have yet to see it, see it now. Don't wait for the DVD, so you can be robbed of said atmosphere and the catastrophic power of many of its scenes..."