Reign of Fire

Year: 2002
Directed By: Rob Bowman
Written By: Gregg Chabot, Kevin Peterka, and Matt Greenberg


This movie came out during my senior year in high school and I was really surprised by how much I liked it. When I had heard about this movie coming out about dragons I specifically remember talking about how stupid it sounded. At that time I still worked in the upstairs of the movie theater part time and also at a video store. I lived and breathed movies with a snobbish mentality about what was and wasn’t good. I felt like I knew whether something was going to be good or not before it came out and had a really arrogant attitude about it. I remember feeling like I had been distinctly wrong about this movie and I have never forgotten that.

As odd as it is, the fact that I found a lesson with a lasting impression in this of all movies is ironic I know. A movie I have learned something from always has a place in our collection no matter what it is about. I have heard this movie receive a lot of criticism over the years but I have always felt like it was unjust. Yeah it’s a movie about dragons but it was taken seriously enough and it’s a well made movie. It has been part of our collection for more than ten years now going all the way back to the beginning and I still feel like it belongs.

I like this movie because it is a different type of post-apocalyptic story. Yeah some might think it silly that the setting is brought on by dragons but at least it is a unique idea. I love the scene early on in which Christian Bale and Gerard Butler are acting out a classic scene from Star Wars and the children are shocked and awed by the story. It’s cute how the kids react and how Bale jokingly takes credit for making up the story. You have all the necessaries for a post apocalyptic scenario here. Food is a need getting more and more difficult to come by as well as other basic supplies like bullets. Communication has broken down to the point that our main characters wonder if they are the only people left. Throw dragons into the mix and I have never quite figured out what people didn’t like about this movie.

This movie put Matthew McConaughey on the map for me. As Van Zant he was more of a badass than I thought he was capable of. I really liked his tattoos in this movie. I also has little knowledge of Christian Bale at this time. He, in time, would prove to be quite the capable actor to my surprise. Something I never realized until this viewing is the pre-300 Gerard Butler. Looking at him here you would never believe the guy had it in him to be King Leonidas.

Truthfully, I somewhat think this movie falls apart as it comes to a close. I still like it and think it offers plenty of excitement but I guess I understand the criticism now that I’m not 18 anymore and humbled in my own arrogant assumptions. The effects are cool and there is some creative action worthy of watching. The scene when the Americans take on a dragon in air is specifically nice. If you missed this one over the years though I wouldn’t go out of my way to see it. If you happen upon it randomly there are worse ways to spend your time. I’ll always consider this worth my time but I’ll leave it to you what you do with yours on this one.

NEXT MOVIE: Remember the Titans (2000)

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