Sunday, April 19, 2009

Movie Review: Reign of Fire

First off, allow me to remind everyone that this is part three in a string of reviews. I know it's coming a little late, but this is Part 3 and There Will Be Blood and The Matrix were parts 1 and 2.

I must say that I personally love dragons, but I also must admit that this film simply did not do it for me. I didn't have too many problems with it, however, but you may be wondering why I would lump it in with other such films. Let's see....

First, a little history. Reign of Fire takes the position that dragons really did exist (similar to the much better film, Dragon's World .), but clearly humans no longer believe in their existence. They apparently caused the extinction of the dinosaurs (cue Evolutionist history of the Earth) and also were the cause of the Ice Age. Suspending my Creationist views for a moment, this made little sense to me as "THE Ice Age" most of us think of was, according to the Evolutionists, really just the last in a long series of them. Periods of extreme, uh, ice lasted for 100,000 approximately, and then were punctuated by 10,000 years of non-ice age conditions. (According to their framework we're due for another, by the way.) If the dragons caused the Ice Age, which one did they cause? I should say, however that my position is that of the general Creation science community--that there was one Ice Age (see the book Frozen in Time by Michael J. Oard). (It was the smoke and ash from their fire-breath, I should say.)

All right, back to the review here. In what amounted to a strange and ultimately poor explanation in my opinion, the dragons apparently survived (hibernated?) deep underground until being awakened in the opening sequence of the film. They come out and they come out hungry. They burn, destroy, and worse, they reproduce like rabbits.

Fast forward many years, and we have Christian Bale (yes, of Batman fame) playing the leader of a small band of humans holed up inside a castle in England (clearly an attempt to medieval-ize the film). Most of the world has been destroyed and the few remaining humans cling to life in small communities. Okay, fair enough.

As everything was burnt, blown out, demolished and destroyed, I kind of enjoyed this aspect as it reminded me of ApocaLego, and for fantasy I was at least able to accept it somewhat.

The dragons themselves were fairly impressive, although I felt that the viewer did not get to see them nearly enough. The explanation for their fire-breathing capabilities was admittedly convincing: two glands in the throat contain chemicals that, when combined, produce explosive flames. I did feel that these dragons seemed to have way too much to burn in the way that the poor humans had little chance, and from a purely entertainment point of view I much preferred the Dragon's World version, with the limited amounts of fire.

The dragons are pretty big, but one enormous male is the most impressive. Monstrous, ugly, hissing, burning, and demonic. Gnarly beastie. Something unique was the way the wings were done, instead of just being attached to the arms, the wing membranes stretched down onto the tail. (I wasn't too fond of the holes in the wings, though.) At the same time however, the membrane was completely removed from the hind limbs, being stretched behind the hip socket, freeing the legs up for other uses. You can kind of see this in images here, here, here, here, and here.

Anatomically interesting.

Besides all that, there is not really much else to go over. I will refrain from spoilers (but I will say that the way the last guy who dies goes, and I had nothing to object to. No sex, and little language. The movie, overall, was missing something and didn't really grab me, and as I said, I love dragons. Ermph. The most appealing scene in my opinion was the American dragon slayers--basically military men who risk their lives to take dragons down, one at a time. And they use a pretty sweet chopper to do it. Nice scene.

Okay, down to the overarching philosophy that I disagree with. Similar to what I said in my review of The Matrix, the whole idea that humans can be so threatened that they are near extinction is predominately Evolutionistic in my opinion, and is an unbiblical one at that. We are given the backdrop of Evolution to start with as Bale narrates, and then the rest of the film has the flavor of man vs. dragon, both embroiled in a struggle for survival. Survival of the fittest? I strongly disagree with these ideas, but to be fair, Reign of Fire was the best out of the three in this manner as it is intimated the the humans eventually win out, and to be 100% truthful, an apocalyptic event is not necessarily out of the question. While I seriously am unconvinced at anything of the nature of this film, if we change our outlook we would no longer see a survival of the fittest view, we would see something along the lines of a great catastrophe that, no matter how destructive, would never completely eradicate humanity. So, while this film's premise isn't entirely biblical in its approach, it at least isn't utterly "impossible" (in the sense of The Matrix--yes, I believe the events of Reign of Fire are impossible!). Although not having any "cool" fight sequences like The Matrix, this one is still undoubtedly the best of the three.

If you like dragons, you might want to check this one out. However, it is clear fantasy and isn't all that amazing either.



olde.fashioned said...

*claps hands with glee at another Spencer Movie Review*

I agree with you that aside from the relatively minor Evolutionary quibble, this movie kind of lacked a certain special "something." It's almost like how I felt about Amazing Grace (although I'm inclined to like the latter more than RoF) - the kindling is there, but there's no spark.

OTOH, those pics you found (which are FANTASTIC btw!!) have infected me with a strong desire to start drawing dragons!! Perhaps I'll start by copying those RoF models, since I'm scared of trying to create my own just yet. (Unless you have a really good quality pose in mind from A Dragon's World?)

Dr. Paleo Ph.D. said...

Uhm, it's Dragon's World, not A Dragon's World.

olde.fashioned said...

I don't think you'd like it if I pointed out YOUR typos. :-P

Dr. Paleo Ph.D. said...

It not typo, it whole wrong name.