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Reign of Fire (2002)

 

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Christian Bale
Director: 
Rob Bowman

Rating: PG-13

Studio: Touchstone

Review Posted: 12.22.02

 

By John Teves

 

The Movie

 

When a London tunneling project uncovers an unearthly fire-breathing beast from centuries of slumber, all hell breaks loose. Twelve-year old Quinn (Bale) sees his mother, one of the workers; die trying to escape this new terror. Twenty years later as a "fire chief," Quinn tries to keep a group of refugees alive with fierce dragons dominating the air and burning the land, Van Zan (McConaughey) shows up with a ragtag group of slayers on a perilous crusade to hunt down and destroy the beasts. Tempers flare when there is a struggle for leadership - until both men realize only one species is getting out of this alive.

 

The Video

 

REIGN OF FIRE appears in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 on this single-sided, dual-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The DVD transfer provided admirable picture. Sharpness looked excellent looking crisp and clear. There were no signs of softness or uncertainty. Jagged edges created no concerns, but I did notice a bit of edge enhancement and grit in a few shots. Colors seemed somewhat limited for this type of film, but when colors were apparent they were presented with intensity and point. Black levels came across deep and solid, whereas shadow detail appeared distinctive and dense. By and large, REIGN OF FIRE proved to be an outstanding transfer.

 

The Audio

 

REIGN OF FIRE is presented in both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS soundtracks. Overall both mix’s seemed comparatively similar, with the DTS mix giving the film a little more feeling of excitement. Audio came across normal and I noticed no signs of edginess. The sound field was dynamic. I felt the track used effects perfectly, creating a realistic atmosphere, giving the surround effects the ability to move between channels efficiently.

 

The Extras

 

- The Making of the Dragons: Breathing Life into Terror

- Pyrotechnics Featurette: If You Can't Stand the Heat

- Conversations with Director Rob Bowman

- Original Theatrical Trailer

 

Overall

 

REIGN OF FIRE is somewhat better than a cheesy B movie with a wider budget. If you can shelve your skepticism and just enjoy the film, then REIGN OF FIRE isn’t a half-bad film. I felt the film managed to be entertaining and fun if nothing else. Fans of this movie genre will most likely get a kick out of the film and undoubtedly enjoy the exceptional quality of the special effects. The DVD featured admirable picture with fantastic audio mix but lacking with a small roster of supplements. This film may not appeal to all, but I liked the film enough to recommend it.

 

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