Reign Of Fire DVD Review

Cover Art & Packaging: 8/10
This is a classic cover art that really represents the film appropriately. From the glowing orange and yellow fire to the flame tinted faces of the leading men, this cover is one of the few that I actually like. It’s rare to find a DVD that is marketed for what it really is. Reign of Fire is a tale of dragons and dragon slaying. Drama and action and a big flying lizard..hehe It’s pure Hollywood movie poster theatrics, but hey, it’s a DRAGON movie..what can we expect? Well done I say this time around for Touchstone.

Extras & Features: 7/10

  • “Breathing Life into Terror”- The Making of the Dragons – Brief but informative short feature showing a lot of the background of the making of this “monster” movie.
  • “If You Can’t Stand the Heat” Pyrotechnics Featurette – An excellent explanation of the process of how they got so much fire and fire effects in the film. With narration and conversations with the man in charge of the fire on-set you get a clear look at how complex and just how involved it is to get such great effects from the complexities of fire. From “Dragon Drool” to “Dragon Breath” you get a first hand look at the machines, chemicals, techniques and safety issues that the crew deal with everyday.
  • Conversations with Director Rob Bowman – It’s always great to hear from a director of a film. They can give incite to the origins of a story, the process of getting the film greenlighted and the day to day job of being at the helm of a Hollywood production. Bowman is passionate and enthusiastic about Reign of Fire, as well as his past work on The X-Files and other films. His main objective is to design a movie that entertains the audience. He understands and tries to learn more about what the audience will respond to and why. This is another excellent addition to the DVD which I do appreciate. Hopefully Bowman will call his fellow directors and get them to do the same.

Movie: 7/10
With an opening sequence that rivals any big time action movie, Reign of Fire takes a huge leap ahead of my expectations right away. With solid sets and lots of attention to details, this one gets kicked off in style. Some directors like to make you wait a long time to see the beast that will haunt and torture the leading characters, but not Bowman. We are shown, dare I say, introduced to, the dragon in the first few moments. And what an introduction. Ascending from flames, clutching to the metal cage of a shaft elevator, this monster made an entrance that I will not soon forget.

You have to take a leap of faith in stories that touch on myth and fantasy. Dragons are not something we are used to being afraid of. Serial killers, werewolves, vampires? Yes…… Dragons? No. Even though throughout the movie you will find very few reasons to get out the CGI radar in your 21st century head, there are a few moments when you have to use that leap of faith and use it hard. The story isn’t plausible, no. Why? It’s a movie people!!! Get used to it. It’s a tale of a world where dragons have returned to rule the roost and we, pitiful humans, are left to fend for our lives, prey for the winged ones.

Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey pull off respectable performances, if not occasionally over the top. But heck, how can you NOT go over the top when  you are playing a guy who slays dragons in the 21st century or a guy who has been traumatized by a life of living in terror. Both performances are right on par with the action adventure genre. They do what they can with the dialogue they get. And, that is one of the weakest things of the entire movie. Lots of shaky, fake, unnatural dialogue between the lead characters. I am a snob when it comes to conversations between characters in movies, so when it seems flat, boring, out of context, it does tend to bug me somewhat. I won’t slam the movie for this detail. I am fully aware that this is not an Oscar contender for best screenplay or anything like that. I can live with corny one liners and pat emotional dialogue. McConaughey seems to be trying to put together a combo character that is a cross breed of Robert Duvall’s borderline insanity stricken character in Apocalypse Now and Quinn from Jaws. A strange confidence/madness kind of approach.

Bale will always be Patrick Bateman to me, unfortunately. I don’t like to pigeon hole people, but his performance in American Psycho was pretty powerful, so it has stuck in my mind. This one is as far from that as you can get, and with the make up, hair, dirt and dingy world they live in, I almost forgot who he was sometimes, SOMETIMES.

I was really into the movie 75% of the time and when you see it you will know what I mean. I was not interested in the female lead, she was not really iatrical to the story so she was essentially a pretty face for no reason at all. Decoration.

I really loved the combination of old and new in this film. They have wonderful sets and props and stunts that combine so many different elements. There are horse riding sequences mixed with high tech helicopter shots. There is a castle and there are tanks. This is a visually pleasing film with all of the variety, that’s for sure.

Value: 6/10
For anything from $17.00 to $20.00, this is well worth the purchase price if you are a castles and tanks, action, adventure, dragon slaying, futuristic, kind of a person. For the rest of us this is an excellent rental on a weekend when you have a chance to watch the extras.

Over All: 7/10
I have a hard shell to crack when it comes to CGI monsters. Reign of Fire did great justice to their monster and to the fact that we, the audience, do not want to notice flaws or “cracks in the illusion” every time the beast hits the screen. I was impressed with the story and effects. I only wish the script had been more pumped up with quality dialogue and lose the’s a common mistake, I forgive them. I say this is a fun, sometimes impressive, always exciting flick that is a good way to spend a couple of hours.

Overall Score 7/10