Gerard Butler

Reign of Fire

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

RYAN’S REVIEW

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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300

Year: 2006
Directed By: Zack Snyder
Written By: Zack Snyder, Kurt Johnstad
Graphic Novel Written By: Frank Miller and Lynn Varley

RYAN’S REVIEW:

This movie works for me on two levels.  I graduated college with a history degree, even teaching high school world history briefly.  I taught the specific story that 300 is based on and while the movie isn’t really historically accurate it did serve as a perfect base to get the kids interested in the topic.  300 is recent enough that most of the high school freshmen knew of the movie and all liked it. I always enjoyed popular movies I could use while teaching because the kids really respond to them.  This movie also works well for me because it is based on a comic book, and I am a lifelong comic fan.  I haven’t read the specific comic that 300 is based on but I have recently read Frank Miller’s Batman graphic novels, The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One. Both were very good, and I have also been impressed by other Miller stories such as Sin City.

As for 300, it was both aesthetically pleasing and financially successful.  It made a name for Zack Snyder who has slowly become a comic book movie specialist. Since 300 he has also done two other DC Comics titles, The Watchmen and Suckerpunch.  He is in fact exceptional at taking the images from the comics and putting them on film.  His skills have brought him the reward/burden of trying to revive the Superman franchise as he is slated to direct the latest installment coming in 2012.  This current installment of Superman is entitled Superman: Man of Steel and is being taken very seriously by the studio, which is a credit to Snyder’s success.  Christopher Nolan has actually been brought into the fold as well, he has a strange role that was first referred to as “Godfather” of the film.  Warner Brothers is obviously hoping Superman will be as successful as Nolan’s Batman films. 300 also made Gerard Butler a instant star. Personally I feel he failed to capitalize on the success 300 brought him, but I’m sure many people would disagree with me there.  I can’t speak to it with any authority because I haven’t seen many of his films, but they have all appeared to be mainly ridiculous movies, Bounty Hunter, The Ugly Truth, and so on.  Michael Fassbender is a total badass in this film, and he is well on his way to being a great actor since his role in Inglourious Basterds and the upcoming X-men film coming out this summer.

300 is a very good film, I would call it good but not great though.  It is perfect for what it is I suppose.  It’s a little over the top at times but that’s appropriate for a comic book film.  It looks cool, the action is awesome, and the actors deliver great performances.  I don’t like the infidelity by Queen Gorgo and I found myself getting bored during the breaks in action.  The action makes it all worth wild though, the actors went through rigorous training to prepare for the film and it paid off.  In the end this movie will have its own place in film history, just as the actual story has its own place in world history.  If nothing else this tale of Spartans is one that inspires bravery, strength, and what can be done alone by determination and will power.

AMBER’S REVIEW:

FOR ME PERSONALLY I FELT LIKE I WAS BEING YELLED AT THE ENTIRE TIME. I THINK FRANK MILLER IS A GENIUS WHEN IT COMES TO WRITING GRAPHIC NOVELS, BUT THIS FILM WAS ALMOST TOO MUCH FOR ME TO HANDLE. EVERY SCENE SEEMS TO PAUSE TO SHOW A SLOW MOTION SCENE AS IF IT WERE A SHOT IN A COMIC BOOK, WHICH IS COOL, BUT WHEN YOU DO THIS IN FILM IT HAS A VERY 2D FEEL TO IT, AND FOR ME THAT DEFEATS THE PURPOSE OF A “MOVING PICTURE.” DON’T YOU WORRY, I KNOW I AM THE ODD ONE OUT ON THIS AS ALL OF MY FRIENDS LOVE THIS FILM, EVEN PAID TWICE TO SEE IT IN THE THEATER.

DO YOU FEEL LIKE I HAVE BEEN YELLING AT YOU THIS WHOLE TIME? YOU DO! WELL, I FELT LIKE GERARD BUTLER YELLED AT ME THE ENTIRE FILM. I WOULD LIKE TO END THIS NOW BY SAY..ERR YELLING…”RAHHHHHHH THIS IS MY BLOG POST!!!!!!!!!”