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Reign of Fire

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Saw this with Rosy.

The previews pretty much give away that humans have stumbled onto dragons, who have been hibernating for a million years.  The dragons had nearly wiped out the humans and a small enclave was going to take them on.

The dirty and worn out set design along with the lighting was pretty good.  It set a believable tone.  The special effects were top-notch.  And the very vague premise that a few small bands of humans are struggling against the dragons could have been a good start.

But the story was a bit contrived.  And there were a fairly large number of verisimilitude breaks.  Things like:

One character says that the dragons eat ash.  That's why they burn stuff, to create ash to eat.  Well, if you know anything about biology then you know that ash is pretty much useless as a source of food.  Burning something is somewhat similar to metabolising it.  So ash has pretty much nothing left for an animal to metabolise.

Also, the dragons are supposed to be so omnipresent, yet the Americans seem to be able to move around an awful lot without being spotted.  And the enclave had apparently been growing food for years, yet the dragons don't find the plantation until some people go out to pick some vegetables?  Not once before did the people give away that location?  It's not like it was hidden in any way.  Why didn't the dragons spot it long before?

The entire sequence where guys jump out of the helicopter to sucker the dragon down was very silly.  How in the world did they come up with that?  It's a horribly complex sequence to shoot down what amounts to just a wild animal.  After all, the trick didn't work and Matthew McConaughey ends up killing the dragon with a spear gun, anyway.

The wild animal thing is prolly the most egregious problem with this entire film.   In the end, it doesn't take all that much to kill them.  It strikes me that a mini-gun, anti-aircraft artillery, modern fighters with vulcan cannon, etc should have easily dealt with these beasts, pretty much no matter how fast they bred.  Throwing out some ash as bait and setting up a coupla claymore mines or most any other kind of booby trap would have been a far more effective solution than the helicopter stunt.

And then there's the plot device that there's only one male in the entire world of millions of dragons.  First, this is backwards.  A queen, like in Aliens, is how it would work.  And even then, there would prolly be multiple nests.  That's an obvious survival trait.  Otherwise, that single female would be the species' Achilles Heal.  Kill it, and the species is gone at the end of that generation.

On my brother's Total Movie Value Scale, Pay Per View.  The special effects in the movie were mostly top-notch.   I wanted to like it.  But just a few too many verisimilitude breaks for me.

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Last modified: June 14, 2004
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