Reign of Fire
The Brits, led by the perpetually fearful but practical Quinn (Christian Bale), have adapted to the globally imposing threat of dragons, developing their own traditions and survivalist techniques in an underground system. Though routinely subject to dragon attacks or scorching—the dragons burn every living thing they encounter and eat the ash—their pragmatic approach to an insurmountable foe results in a comparatively decent survival rate.
Contrarily, the Americans, unwilling to adapt to anyone else's ethos and led by Denton (Matthew McConaughey), have developed an aggressive combat team with a strategy to kill dragons, seeking out the alpha male propagating the species, who, incidentally, killed Quinn's mother when he was a child.
This binary speaks for itself, and the inevitable conflict—the Americans align themselves with the Brits only to take over and endanger their lives when a difference in opinion arises—plays out exactly as expected. The distinction here is that while the gun-toting, optimistic/ignorant depiction of American cowboy willfulness proves problematic in a variety of ways, it does ultimately lead to freedom for the handful of Brits left standing.
Though broad, ignoring the intricacies of world politics beyond American domination, there is something at least interesting, albeit glib, about the presentation and implication of Reign of Fire and its rigid application of "evil." And since the fight is so clearly defined, regardless of the inherent ideological conflict brewing amongst the humans, much of the visceral battle component is able to drive the film is an aesthetically affable, if somewhat mediocre, manner.
It's just unfortunate that the global assertions weren't examined with slightly more intricacy and political consciousness. It would have made the double-edged sword of a message less laughable during the final moments when Quinn verbalizes a pat, hilariously stupid observation while walking into the sunset.
Reign of Fire screens at the TIFF Bell Lightbox as part of the Countdown to Armageddon screening series at 9pm on December 21st, 2012. (Buena Vista)
ReviewsOct 29, 2014
The BabadookJennifer Kent
At every Toronto After Dark Fest, there's at least one film that rides a wave of palpable buzz and has attendees clamouring to see it. Last ...
ReviewsOct 24, 2014
Films about time travel are some of the trickiest ones to create as far as sci-fi subgenres are concerned — it's not so much about the...
ReviewsOct 23, 2014
Why Horror?Nicolas Kleiman, Rob Lindsay
As a nerd, it's always pretty weird seeing your favourite genre rise to the surface of mainstream culture, and horror is no exception. In hi...
ReviewsOct 22, 2014
Time LapseBradley King
You don't fuck with time. That's the philosophical takeaway - an idea espoused time and time again by one of the lead characters - in Bradle...
ReviewsOct 21, 2014
John Geddes' Hellmouth is a kaleidoscopic vision of hell that tantalizes with some bewitching visuals but ultimately comes off more as funho...
ReviewsOct 20, 2014
Kumiko, The Treasure HunterDavid Zellner
In 2001, a woman named Takako Konishi was found dead in a remote area of Minnesota. Botched eyewitness information swirled into an urban leg...
ReviewsOct 19, 2014
Man, I really wanted to like Zombeavers. Based on the trailer, which currently boasts over three million hits on YouTube, the film seemed li...
ReviewsOct 18, 2014
ABCs of Death 2Various Directors
When producers Ant Timpson and Tim League announced that they'd be producing a followup to 2012's highly ambitious anthology film The ABCs o...