Reign of Fire

Starring:
Matthew McConaughey as Denton Van Zan
Christian Bale as Quinn Abercromby
Izabella Scorupco as Alex
Gerard Butler as Creedy
Randall Carlton as Tito
Doug Cockle as Goosh
Maree Duffy as Diamond
Duncan Keegan as Michael
Rory Keenan as Devon
Alice Krige as Ms. Abercromby
Scott Moutter as Jared
Benny Nieves as Alvarez
Alexander Siddig as Ajay

Special Features:
“Breathing Life Into The Terror” – The Making of the Dragons
“If You Can’t Stand The Heat” – Pyrotechnics Featurette
Conversations with Director Rob Bowman
Original Theatrical Trailer

Other Info:
English and French Languages
Widescreen (2.35:1) – Enhanced For 16×9 Televisions
Running Time: 102 Mins.
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
DTS 5.1 Digital Surround
Captions Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles

Synopsis:
In present day London, young Quinn visits his mother at a subway tunnel construction site. While he’s there, workers tunnel into a void in the rock. There, they inadvertently awaken dragons who have slept for hundreds of years. Quinn is witness as the dragons emerge and begin to destroy the earth.

Flash forward to 2020 and we see that mankind has been brought to the brink of extinction. Millions of dragons now rule the world. Quinn, now a battle hardened young man, leads a group of survivors hiding in an old castle in the country. Their goal is to simply dig in and survive.

One day a lone military convoy rolls into their little complex. A group of American mercenaries led by Denton Van Zan, they have come to England to slay dragons. They have a theory about how to defeat the dragons once and for all. They quickly get their chance to show their dragon slaying capabilities. Despite an impressive show of technology, strategy, and force, Quinn doesn’t buy into their mission. He believes in simple survival, not an impossible suicide mission. The two leaders butt heads, but their resolution is the only hope for mankind on the planet.

“Reign of Fire” is rated PG-13 for intense action violence.

The Movie:
I originally reviewed this movie upon its theatrical release. You can read my original review here. I was really jazzed about a movie featuring dragons vs. modern weapons, but I ended up being rather disappointed by the final product. Reign of Fire has cool action scenes, awesome dragons, and an exciting plot, but it never quite reaches its full potential. It’s too light on the dragons and a little too heavy on the characterizations. (That’s a rare thing to say about action movies these days.) Fortunately on the DVD you can skip to the cool parts.

The DVD looks great on the home theater system. The dragon effects look spectacular and you can get a greater appreciation for their detail when watching them. The action scenes give your sound system a great workout with gunshots, explosions, and dragon roars echoing around the speakers.

While not necessarily a classic film, DVD and sci-fi fans will be interested in adding this one to their collections. You may also be interested to know that there’s a spinoff comic in the works from Dark Horse. The DVD does not mention this anywhere, though.

The Extras:
For a genre film, this DVD is really light on the extras. I suppose the performance of the film at the box office has a lot to do with that.

I was really hoping to see a feature on the creation of the CGI dragons. The good news is that there is one. It’s titled “Breathing Life Into The Terror” – The Making of the Dragons. The bad news is that it is really short. It’s about 8 minutes long, and that’s with the full trailer being shown at the beginning of it. I believe this is a convention promotion video that was slapped on this DVD. Anyway, they discuss the designs of the dragons and how they are rooted in real world animals like cobras, crocodiles, wasps, bats, cheetahs, and more. Rob Bowman also discusses trying to direct without the CG creatures visible to the crew or the actors. Overall you can tell a lot of effort was put into making these the best dragons ever shown on screen.

The second bonus clip is “If You Can’t Stand The Heat” – Pyrotechnics Featurette. While longer than the dragon segment, it’s still around 15 minutes long. It gets heavy into the process of how the pyrotechnics were completed. We see details of how the flaming dragon drool was made, the creation of the large blasts of dragon fire, and the pyrotechnics from the finale. It’s amusing to see them use fireplace logs for the random fires along the grounds. The featurette starts out fairly well edited but in the middle it starts becoming more like home videos from the set that aren’t terribly exciting. Fortunately it gets back out of this mode and into more focused behind the scenes details.

“Conversations with Director Rob Bowman” is the final bonus feature. It is short like the other features on the DVD, but it is fairly interesting. Bowman talks about how he got involved with the X-Files, his philosophy behind scary movies, his directing style, and more. As the title indicates, it’s a lot like sitting down and having a conversation with the director. It’s rather insightful and gives you a better idea of what he was trying to do with the film. You understand his “less is more” theory of horror, but after seeing Reign of Fire you realize he needed a little bit “more” than he delivered to make it satisfying.

The Bottom Line:
Sci-Fi fans will want to add this DVD to their collections. The dragons alone make it worth it. For everyone else, this one is probably more of a renter.

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