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Published on June 1st, 2008 | by simeon

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Reign of Fire

Resting for centuries far beneath the Earth, a creature from ancient lore, with the potential to eliminate humanity is about to be awakened. The aftermath of this action will result in mass destruction and death upon the nations of the world.
Fire-breathing dragon, long thought to be creatures of myth, turn out to be very real and very fatal for the unprepared populace of the world in the new film “reign of Fire” by veteran “X-Files” director Rob Bowman.

When a civil engineering project in London accidentally awakens a sleeping dragon, the cities of the world soon became a wasteland as a result of the dragons that are multiplying at an alarming rate as the feed upon the populace. Unable to halt the winged menaces, the nations of the earth turn to nuclear weapons in desperation with little effect. Scattered pockets of humanity remain twenty years after the first dragon was freed and humanity is facing a grim future.

The story centers on a group of survivors in Northumberland England who have taken refuge in a castle and face a constant struggle for survival due to limited food and the constant threat imposed by the dragons. The survivors are lead by a man named Quin (Christian Bale), who is a troubled individual weighed heavily upon the burden of keeping his remnant alive as well as by his past. The society is thrown into disarray by the arrival of Denton Van Zan (Matthew McConaughey), and his militia who arrive armed with armored vehicles and a helicopter. Van Zan claims that he knows how to defeat the dragons and this leads to a battle of wills between Quin and himself over the future of the survivors, as Quin believes the best chances for survival lay in waiting the dragons out. Caught in the crossfire between the two leaders is an attractive pilot named Alex (Izabella Scorupco), who is divided between her attraction to Quin, and her loyalty to Van Zan. Eventually the three soon set off on a quest to save humanity and this fits very well with medieval literature as Epic Quests and the notion of the Trinity were often prevalent themes, and this fits well with the mythos of the story.

While the film does have an interesting premise and solid work from it’s leads, there were some problems. The most glaring issue I had with the film was that of basic biology, as the reproductive history of the dragons as well as certain biological features that were established in the film and fuel a crucial plot point, yet contrast sharply to the initial rise of the dragons and basic biology. While this may seem trivial, upon seeing the film readers will better understand my complaint and see how this becomes a large plot hole in the story. There are also side issues regarding where Van Zan and the survivors are able to acquire fuel, electricity, spare parts, and other modern conveniences that they use in and out of the compounds, as there is no explanation given to how such things happen to not be issues.

That being said, “Reign of Fire” is one of the more entertaining and refreshing premises to come along for an apocalypse film in ages, and as a summer film, is at times a pleasant if albeit flawed diversion.

3 stars out of 5


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