Reviewed by: Alan Roberts
Starring: Christian Bale, Matthew McConaughey, Izabella Scorupco, Gerard Butler, Alexander Siddig | Directed by: Rob Bowman | Produced by: Richard D Zanuck, Lili Fini Zanuck, Roger Birnbaum, Gary Barber, Jonathan Glickman | Written by: Gregg Chabot, Kevin Peterka, Matt Greenberg | Distributor: Touchstone Pictures
“Reign of Fire” from Touchstone Pictures is a typical Hollywood production that reflects much that Hollywood holds high (much of which Christians must reject in favor of allegiance to our Lord, on multiple levels.) It speaks philosophically about two major themes: evolution and post-apocalyptic nightmarish life.
“Reign of Fire”, starring Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey, features fire-breathing dragons as the vehicle for an evolutionary message, along with their demise at the hands of the “smart apes.” The post-apocalyptic nightmare is the vehicle for Hollywood’s standard Freudian self-analysis and self-flagellation over the current state of affairs in the world and human self-destruction. Hasn’t Hollywood been beating this same drum for some 50 years now?
The initial plot portrays a pre-teen boy, shades of Harry Potter, accidentally reawakening an ancient prehistoric monster, to the immediate destruction of his mother. Plot holes immediately follow, as well as huge strains on credulity. For example, if this is sci-fi, shouldn’t there be internal consistency and some believability, e.g., how do monsters hibernate for 50 million years? But total fantasy and evolutionary doctrine reign supreme over logic, common sense and plot consistency. By the way, what construction company permits a boy to visit his mother at work in the heart of an underground tunnel construction effort?
The movie offers a brief illogical explanation of how we arrive at the post-apocalypse that occupies the rest of the story. The portrayals of life in such a climate are extremely well done, the stark bleakness of the landscape a very worthwhile cinematic effort. But plot explanations of how the dragons achieved ascendancy over the world are insulting.
The rest of the movie is a page lifted out of evolutionist hypothesis of how our Neanderthal forbears did battle with mammoths and saber-tooth tigers, with the addition of some modern hardware which mysteriously always seems to fail at the critical moment in battle, or is deemed worthless against the outsmarting dragons. So the old handheld weapons are best in the minds of the characters. The conclusion to “Reign of Fire” references evolution yet again.
We Christians certainly believe in an impending apocalypse, but we have hope in Christ for deliverance and future glory. This movie fashionably suggests that we will always have to tough it out ourselves, a reprise of the theme of Invictus, especially at the defiant climax.
The best part of this movie is the wonderfully somber cinematography. The worst is the ridiculous plot explanations and devices.