Reign of Fire seems different right away. There's just something about it that sets it apart from the usual computer graphic-laden Hollywood action flick. If you'll stick around to the very end of the credits, you'll see why: it's not a Hollywood action flick; it's actually a British/Irish film. This goes a long way to explain much of how the Americans are portrayed in this movie: not as heroes, but as boisterous, loud-mouthed bullies. Sure, the movie is about dragons, but it's more about the human will to survive, and the hard decisions that need to be made in a time of hopelessness. The larger conflict is of course with the dragons, but another conflict could shatter the fragile existence that Christian Bale's Quinn and his community of British survivors have managed to sustain in the ruins of an old castle. This conflict is the one betweem Quinn and Matthew McConaughey's Van Zan, who arrives with the scavenged remnants of the American army. While both men want the same thing, neither wants to relinquish control to the other, for reasons of their own. Their relationship is an interesting one and is played out well on screen. Bale is excellent as the caring and over-cautious Quinn, while McConaughey is almost unrecognizable as the hard-as-nails, borderline psychotic Van Zan. Their characters are well-written and develop nicely over the course of the movie. The film offers a very convincing look at what the world would look like after some sort of cataclysmic event. The settings are grim and depressing and thoroughly demolished, and the movie does well to make us believe that the world has been destroyed, even though we only ever see a small corner of it. Which brings me to the negatives. My main complaint is that we don't really get to see the dragons laying waste to the world, or any of the other acts of destruction that lead to the current situation. This part of the story is told through narration and photos and magazine covers. We also, as far as I can remember, never get to see anyone die. All the dying happens off camera; we either hear a scream or see a yellow blip on a radar at the moment of death. It's a minor complaint, but a movie that goes so far to establish a feeling of despair and hopelessness in a world with around six billion dead people should not shirk from showing a bit of death. It doesn't have to be gory or especially disturbing, but at least show something. The story itself is decent, it fits the theme of the movie, but the final act falters a bit by giving us a not-too-believable, easy solution that left me feeling a wee bit cheated. It really deserves an 8, but it gets a 9 because of the Star Wars play Quinn puts on for the kids at the beginning and just because the Yanks are so true to life here. A Hollywood production would never have portrayed Americans this way, and it just shows how the rest of the world sometimes sees them. Even when there isn't anything left to it, the Americans are still going to try to take over the world.
|9/10||newscott13@ - 400 reviews|
15.7.2002 - age: 26-35
Note: The review posted on this page is a personal opinion of our reader. We are not responsible for its content.