In present-day London, twelve-year-old Quinn (Bale) watches as his mother, a construction engineer, inadvertently wake an enormous fire-breathing dragon from its centuries-long slumber. Twenty years later, much of the world has been scarred by the beast and its offspring. As a fire chief, Quinn is responsible for warding off the dragons and keeping a small community alive as they struggle to maintain a meager existence. Then along comes hotshot American, Van Zan (McConaughey), who says he has a way to kill the dragons and save humankind — a way Quinn's never seen done.
For more about Reign of Fire and the Reign of Fire Blu-ray release, see Reign of Fire Blu-ray Review published by Ben Williams on September 18, 2007 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Reign of Fire is a pretty strange movie. Anytime you can combine post-apocalyptic Earth with Dragons, you are in pretty original, albeit bizarre, territory. With that being said, I'm generally a sucker for these kinds of films - - original ones, that is. I saw Reign of Fire in the theater upon its original release in 2002 and wasn't that impressed. How would the second viewing stack up?
When a young Quinn (Christian Bale) stumbles upon a dragon's nest in central London, he is the first witness to the devastation that will accompany these dragons as they make their return from underground and wreak havoc on the stunned populace of Earth. As we flash forward a good number of years, we are immersed into a mostly destroyed Earth where the human element barely hangs on for survival. Quinn is amongst these survivors. When Van Zan (Matthew McConaughey) arrives on the scene with a tough bunch of American dragon slayers, Quinn and his party of rag-tag survivors will finally stand up and rebel against their draconian oppressors. Bring on the heavy-handed and out of left-field social commentary!
While Reign of Fire definitely gains some points for a very original plot, much of the movie didn't really work for me. I appreciate a good concept as much as the next guy, but when it is barely strung together by a series of over the top action sequences I do start to lose interest. With that said, the action sequences are, for the most part, really quite entertaining and the dragon effects are very nicely done. I would have liked to care a bit more about the characters, but there really isn't much character development to work with. All the performances are solid, the direction is nicely handled and the sets and effects are all very effective. What's left is a pretty standard movie that really could have been much more interesting. It does qualify as nice eye-candy though!
Disney is really getting consistent with their Blu-Ray releases. This is, yet again, a flawless transfer done up to perfection with the AVC codec. I found detail to be outstanding with a special emphasis on facial detail and the rocky, mountainous backdrops that are present for most of the film. This can be a pretty drab film from a color perspective, but when dragon-fire shows up on-screen, the reds and oranges pop very nicely. Shadow detail is superb and black levels are consistently excellent. Really, the best thing I can say about this particular transfer is that it is extremely consistent. There isn't a weak scene in the entire movie and the picture quality is exceptional throughout. Kudos, again, have to go to Disney for their exceptional commitment to providing us all with excellent quality transfers. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Reign of Fire certainly doesn't disappoint in the audio department. Disney continues their streak of delivering outstanding 5.1 PCM tracks with one of the most active and aurally exciting surround presentations in recent memory. There are a few nice, quiet moments in Reign of Fire that are very satisfying in their subtlety. Let's not kid around, though. Where this track really shines is in the amazing sense of depth and full 360 degree envelopment as dragons fly from front to back, side to side and kick the living hell out of everything on screen. Low frequency effects thunder from the subwoofer channel and fierce and almost frightening effects blare from each and every speaker at top volume. This PCM track is an absolute blast and is sure to really tick off your neighbors.
-"Breathing Life into the Terror"
-"If You Can't Take the Heat"
-Audio Commentary with Director Rob Bowman
-Original Theatrical Trailer
While not presenting the most comprehensive set of extras I've ever seen, Reign of Fire
does include all of the original DVD supplements along with a nice 1080p HD trailer for the film. I'm glad to see that they did include the trailer. I for one really enjoy theatrical trailers and consider them to be the only supplement that is absolutely essential for any film release. Both documentaries are standard behind the scenes material mixed in with your basic electronic press kit material. Nothing really essential, but if you are a fan of the film, I'm sure you'll find both docs interesting. Rob Bowman's commentary track is a little on the dry side. We are treated to a mainly technical discussion regarding Reign of Fire without much real insight into story or where changes might have been made to make the film a bit more compelling.
Reign of Fire is an entertaining film with a few key weaknesses that keep it from being a must see. Even so, it is fun and, at times, thought-provoking. It should prove to be thoroughly entertaining to fantasy and sci-fi fans, in general. Picture and audio quality is first rate and it is a good sign worth noting that Disney has taken such care on a catalog release that was never very popular at the box office. If Reign of Fire can look and sound this good, imagine what's in store for us with the likes of more popular Disney releases.