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Reign Of Fire
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Box Front Director: Rob Bowman (The X-Files:  Fight The Future)
Original Release Year: 2002
Running Time: 102 minutes

DVD Released By: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Video: Anamorphic widescreen
Audio: English 5.1, English DTS 5.1, French 5.1
Extras: Three featurettes, theatrical trailer, promotional spots for other movies and video games
Subtitles: Spanish
Closed Captions: English
Region: 1
Format: NTSC
Chapters: 11
Packaging: Keepcase
MSRP: $29.99
UPC #: 786936191417
Catalog #: 27206
Status: Available


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Reviewed by:  Zillamon51
The Film: An excavation project in London unearths a creature that has been lying dormant for millions of years:  A fire-breathing dragon!  Multiplying rapidly, dragons soon overrun the Earth.  These creatures are vicious, ravenous, and intelligent predators that feed on the ashes of their prey.  The world of man is reduced to a burned-out cinder, and humanity teeters on the brink of extinction.

Fast-forward to the year 2024.  A small community, led by Quinn (Christian Bale), struggles to survive.  Their predicament becomes even more complicated with the arrival of a band of American military personnel.  They are led by the intense Van Zan (Matthew McConaughey), who fancies himself a dragon slayer.  Tensions soon erupt between the two leaders:  Quinn wants only to keep his people safe, while Van Zan wants to take an assault team into the heart of London.  By analyzing the spread of dragons across the world, the Americans have concluded that all of the dragons are female.  Their eggs are fertilized en masse by a single male living in the remains of London.  If this male can be destroyed, the race of dragons will die out.  Does this rag-tag band of warriors have any hope of invading the dragons’ own territory, and killing the largest and most dangerous predator on the planet?

Reign Of Fire is a great modern monster movie.  The premise is intriguing, and the human characters are realized with intense performances by the lead actors.  The CGI effects used to bring the dragons to life are flawless.  The film effectively realizes its vision of a world that has been scorched almost clean of life, yet it doesn’t become visually bland (a common pitfall for ‘dark’ movies).  Best of all, the film is played straight (unlike summer 2002’s other monster movie, Eight-Legged Freaks).  Reign Of Fire is a serious action movie that doesn’t play its fantastic premise for camp or cheap laughs.  Grade:  A-

Video: Reign Of Fire benefits from an excellent anamorphic widescreen transfer.  While much of the movie takes place in dark caverns or desolate landscapes, the transfer is never too dark.  The level of detail remains high, without any grain.  Grade:  A

Audio: On the English 5.1 track, the dialogue, sound effects, and music all come through loud and clear.  Since I don’t yet have a DTS system, I can’t comment on the English DTS 5.1 track.  The disk also includes a 5.1 French dub.  Grade:  A

Extras / Menus: Three featurettes are included.  “Breathing Life Into The Terror” is an 8-minute look at the making of the film’s dragons.  Some of the FX artists comment on the influences that different animals had on the design of the dragons.  Some CGI work-in-progress is shown, as well as glimpses of early dragon designs and live-action props.  “If You Can’t Take The Heat…” is a more detailed look at the film’s many fire-related effects.  It runs 15 minutes.  “Conversations With Rob Bowman” is a 12-minute conversation with the director.  He discusses his experience directing many episodes of The X-Files, why he likes scary movies, and the techniques he uses to frighten and thrill audiences.  These featurettes are interesting, if not very deep.

The disc also includes the theatrical trailer for
Reign Of Fire, as well as a “Sneak Peeks” section.  This includes promotional spots for the 2002 version of The Count Of Monte Cristo, the Anthony Hopkins / Chris Rock vehicle Bad Company, the Reign Of Fire video game (for multiple platforms), and the Kingdom Hearts video game for PlayStation 2.  All of the menus have music, and the main menu has animated smoke and fire.  There is also an option to register your disk in exchange for product support.  Grade:  B

Final Analysis: A very good presentation of a great modern monster movie.  Final Grade:  A-
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