Reign of Fire (film)
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|Reign of Fire|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Rob Bowman|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Pictures|
|Box office||$82.2 million|
Reign of Fire is a 2002 dystopian, post-apocalyptic science fantasy film directed by Rob Bowman and starring Matthew McConaughey and Christian Bale, with the screenplay written by Matt Greenberg, Gregg Chabot, and Kevin Peterka. The film also features Izabella Scorupco and Gerard Butler.
The film is set in England in the year 2020, twenty years after London tunneling project workers inadvertently awakened dragons from centuries of slumber and the creatures have subsequently replaced humans as the dominant species on Earth. With the fate of mankind at stake, two surviving parties, led by Quinn Abercromby (Bale) and Denton Van Zan (McConaughey), find that they must work together to hunt down and destroy the beasts in a desperate attempt to take back the world.
The film was released by Touchstone Pictures on 12 July 2002. Upon release, it received generally mixed reviews from critics and audiences and became a commercial failure, grossing $82 million on a $60 million budget.
At an unspecified date in the early 21st century, during construction on the London Underground, workers penetrate a cave and a huge dragon emerges from hibernation, incinerating the workers with its breath. The only survivor is a boy, Quinn Abercromby (Ben Thornton), whose mother, Karen (Alice Krige)—the construction crew chief—is crushed to death protecting him. The dragon flies out of the Underground, and soon more dragons appear. It is revealed through newspaper clippings and the narration that dragons are the species responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs. They are speculated to hibernate after destroying most living creatures until the planet repopulates. Mankind's militaristic resistance, including nuclear weapons in 2010, only hastens the destruction, and by 2020, humans are nearly extinct.
Quinn (Christian Bale) leads a community of survivors at Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland. They are starving while awaiting harvest. Although most trust Quinn, some are restless and defiant. Eddie (David Kennedy) and his group steal a truck to pick tomatoes, though it is too soon for harvest. They are attacked by a dragon. One man is killed and the rest are surrounded by fire. Quinn, Creedy (Gerard Butler), and Jared (Scott Moutter) rescue them with old fire engines, but the dragon kills Eddie's son before escaping.
The Kentucky Irregulars, a group of Americans led by Denton Van Zan (Matthew McConaughey), arrive in an armored convoy with a Chieftain tank and an AgustaWestland AW109 utility helicopter, the latter of which is piloted by Alex Jensen (Izabella Scorupco). Van Zan has a system for hunting dragons and knows their weakness: poor vision during twilight. With Quinn's help, Van Zan, Alex, and their team hunt and slay the dragon who destroyed the crops.
The survivors enjoy a celebration at the castle that night but Van Zan is embittered by the loss of three of his men. Van Zan and Alex tell Quinn that all the dragons they have found have been female. The Americans believe there is only one male—if they kill it, the dragons can no longer reproduce. Although Quinn knows about the male dragon, which killed his mother, he refuses to help.
In open defiance, Van Zan orders his soldiers to enlist the castle's best men despite Quinn's argument that if they find the male it will kill them and put the inhabitants of the castle at risk. Quinn attacks Van Zan in front of the castle's inhabitants, but Van Zan gives Quinn a beating before the crowd pulls Van Zan off. Van Zan and some of the castle's men then depart, but true to Quinn's warnings, their caravan is attacked by the dragon in the ruins of a town 66 miles (106 km) from London. The dragon then finds the castle and kills most of the inhabitants. Quinn gets the survivors to a bunker, but they are trapped when the dragon returns; during its final attack, Creedy is killed.
Van Zan and Jensen return and free everyone trapped in the bunker. Quinn decides to help Van Zan and Alex hunt down the male dragon. They fly to London and find hundreds of small dragons, one of which is cannibalized by the larger male. Van Zan plans to shoot explosives down the dragon's throat with a crossbow. He fires, but the dragon destroys the arrow and eats Van Zan. Quinn and Alex lure the dragon to ground level, where Quinn fires another explosive into the dragon's mouth, killing it.
Later, Quinn and Alex erect a radio tower on a hill overlooking the North Sea. There has been no dragon sighting for over three months. Jared arrives to say they have contacted a group of French survivors who want to speak to their leader. Quinn tells Jared he is now their leader and dedicates himself to rebuilding.
- Christian Bale as Quinn Abercromby
- Ben Thornton as Young Quinn
- Matthew McConaughey as Denton Van Zan
- Izabella Scorupco as Alex Jensen
- Gerard Butler as Creedy
- Scott Moutter as Jared Wilke
- David Kennedy as Eddie Stax
- Alexander Siddig as Ajay
- Ned Dennehy as Barlow
- Rory Keenan as Devon
- Terence Maynard as Gideon
- Doug Cockle as Goosh
- Randall Carlton as Burke
- Chris Kelly as Mead
- Alice Krige as Karen Abercromby
- Jack Gleeson as "Kid" (uncredited)
Reign of Fire was filmed in Ireland's Wicklow Mountains, at the Glendasan Valley Lead Mines. Permission was given on the condition that the area was not damaged and the crew removed all sets once filming was complete. However, an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Europe stopped many planned scenes from being filmed due to quarantine restrictions.
"In recent years there have been several movies starring creatures with scaled surfaces. Among these are Jurassic Park, Dragonheart, and Lake Placid. The surfaces of these creatures have generally been constructed by layering painted textures atop displacement maps. This gives the model texture, but the scales stretch and shrink under the movement of the creature, giving a rubbery look that is not realistic."
In order to overcome this limitation, the then-groundbreaking work done by digital effects animator Neil Eskuri on Disney's 2000 release Dinosaur was utilized as a benchmark in order to create a realistic physical simulation of the dragon. According to Carlos Gonzalez-Ochoa, the film called for "100-foot (30 m) creatures with wing spans of 300 feet (91 m) that could undergo enormous speeds and accelerations. The artistic direction required each dragon to have wings that transition between a variety of physical behaviors and interact with the environment."
|Reign of Fire: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|Film score (Digital download / Audio CD) by|
|2.||"Enter the Dragon"||3:20|
|3.||"An Early Harvest"||2:42|
|6.||"Meet Van Zan"||3:49|
|9.||"A Battle of Wills"||5:31|
|10.||"The Ruins at Pembury"||2:11|
|12.||"Return to London"||4:11|
On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 40% based on 164 reviews. The site's consensus states: "Reign of Fire gains some altitude with its pyrotechnic action and a smolderingly campy Matthew McConaughey, but the feature's wings are clipped by a derivative script and visual effects that fizzle out." On Metacritic it has score of 39 out of 100, based on 30 reviews from critics. Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade B on scale of A to F.
Joe Leydon of Variety said of the film, "An uncommonly exciting and satisfying post-apocalyptic popcorn flick, Director Rob Bowman deftly combines an uncommonly satisfying mix of medieval fantasy, high-tech military action and "Mad Max"-style misadventure." Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly agreed, saying "the season could do with more grinning, spinning, un-self-important, happy-to-be-B throwback movies like this one." Elvis Mitchell of The New York Times noted that "the movie might have been a minor classic if it had maximized its own possibilities. But until the rush wears off, the picture is as much fun as a great run at a slot machine: even when your luck runs out, you're losing only pocket change."
Roger Ebert lamented the film as "a vast enterprise marshaled in the service of such a minute idea", adding that "the movie makes no sense on its own terms, let alone ours. And it is such a grim and dreary enterprise. One prays for a flower or a ray of sunshine as those grotty warriors clamber into their cellars and over their slag heaps."
|Saturn Awards||Best Fantasy Film||Nominated|
|Festival de Cine de Sitges||Best Visual Effects||Won|
In a 2002 interview, Christian Bale was asked: "Is there a sequel possibility to Reign of Fire?" to which Bale responded "Possibly. I told Scott Moutter, who plays my stepson in the movie, that he's well positioned to take the sequel from me because of the way the movie ends!".
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- Reign of fire at Box Office Mojo
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- Petti, Ernest J; Thompson, Thomas V, II; Lusinsky, Adolph; Driskill, Hank (2002). "Dragon Scales: The Evolution of Scale Tool for Reign of Fire". ACM SIGGRAPH 2002 Conference Abstracts and Applications. ACM: 172. doi:10.1145/1242073.1242185.
- Gonzalez-Ochoa, Carlos; Eberle, David; Dressel, Rob (2002). "Dynamic Simulation of Wing Motion on Reign of Fire". ACM SIGGRAPH 2002 Conference Abstracts and Applications. ACM: 174. doi:10.1145/1242073.1242187. ISBN 978-1-58113-525-1.
- "Reign of Fire". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 4 May 2020.
- "Reign of Fire". Metacritic. Retrieved 4 May 2020.
- "REIGN OF FIRE (2002) B". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on 2018-12-20.
- Leydon, Joe (12 July 2002). "Reign of Fire". Variety. Archived from the original on 28 September 2017.
- Schwarzbaum, Lisa (10 July 2002). "Reign of Fire". Entertainment Weekly.
- Mitchell, Elvis (July 12, 2002). "FILM REVIEW; Fire-Breathing Dragons Make It Hot for Humans". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 28 September 2017. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
- Ebert, Roger (July 12, 2002). "Reign Of Fire Movie Review & Film Summary (2002)". Chicago Sun-Times.
- Brandon Gray (July 15, 2002). "Blessed Business for 'Perdition' as 'Men in Black II' Hangs Onto Top Spot". Box Office Mojo.
- Phillips, Jevon; Phillips, Jevon (7 March 2003). "'Towers,' 'Report' top Saturn nominees". Variety.
- Sitges 2002 Awards
- Tyler Winegarner (October 23, 2002). "Reign of Fire review". Gamespot. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
- Clint Morris (2002). "Movies: Christian Bale Interview". MovieHole.net. Retrieved 2020-04-22 – via Webwombat.com.au.
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