Prayer Focus
Movie Review

Reign of Fire

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense action violence

Reviewed by: Alan Roberts

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Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Year of Release:
Poster art for “Reign of Fire”
Relevant Issues
Do you know the truth about…
  • Evolution: is it the best answer for the origin of life? Go
  • Aliens:: what’s the Bible say about alien life? Go
  • Fossils: what does the fossil record teach us about evolution? Go

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.

Viewer Comments
Negative—Overall, the plot is very bad, there was a huge potential for an interesting movie that was missed. I was shocked when I heard the so-called prayer. I guess evolutionists still needs to pray for something, even if they think there is no God. The quality of the cinematography was good, the rendering of the dragons were very well done. Again, the negatives parts for the movies (apart from the plot who was simply bad), the evolution point of (error) view and the so-called prayer that bugged me. Wait for the video.
My Ratings: [Average / 3]
—Eric Demers, age 31
Positive—This movie is a typical post-apocalyptic story with a twist—mankind has little or nothing to do with the apocalypse. However, like most movies, the redemptive message is the antithesis of the The Gospel. I was taken aback at the concept of “prayers” in the movie.

The story line had much more potential than was taken advantage of. The cinematography was above average, and the special effects were good. The acting was average and the character development was only fair. My advice: wait for the video.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 3]
—P.A. Harrington, age 47
Positive—Heroism, humility, selflessness and loyalty are always eminently biblical and this little flick holds more than a fair smattering of each. Special effects are excellent—the dragons quite believable. The potential for gratuitous gore was huge but the director and writer(s) showed admirable restraint (for whatever reason).

The post-apocolyptic settings were realistically drab and dangerous and I found the strange story-line leading to the near extinction of humanity refreshingly new. After all, mankind has never been able to predict God’s path through history—why not dragons? I also liked how the story line indirectly pointed out that much of what science presents as likely fact is mere theory (i.e., the disappearance of the dinosaurs theories).

There are no sexual overtones, minimal language problems and good character is clearly held up as a goal to shoot at (in addition to the dragons of course!)—humility is lauded over arrogance, loyalty over disloyalty, sacrificing self for others…
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—David Katz, age 45
Reign of Fire had good special effects and great heroism (saving children’s lives). It had no sexual immorality. I didn’t hear any profanity or obscenity. The hero told one lie; he told the children that he wrote “Star Wars.” I heard one vulgarity, something along the lines of, “Well, I’m buggered if I know why you let them in.” It had lots of violence, of course, people being burnt up and eaten by dragons.

I would not bring a small child to see this movie, but my twelve-year-old daughter was fine with it. Actually, the most objectionable thing about the movie was that the hero led the children in “prayers” that were not prayers, but a litany of how to avoid being killed by dragons, sort of like “Stop, drop, and roll.” It has a thoroughly secular world view; the heroine remarks to the hero (closing scene) “Well, let’s hear it for evolution.” And LOUSY military tactics.

It was very refreshing to go to a movie where I didn’t have to cringe through bad language and sexual immorality. It’s easy enough to talk to children about how lucky we are to have a God who answers prayer, and how prayer is not what the movie portrays, and how if the hero had prayed for wisdom, he might have been able to slay the dragon without losing so many men.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 3½]
—Cynthia Walker, age 45
Positive—The movie, overall, was good. There were a few references to evolution, but they were slight and one was, in a way, sarcastic. The special effects are not too shabby, and the acting is good too. My only complaint was that sometimes the music was too loud to hear the dialog. It is an enjoyable movie, would caution takeing some children: you see a dragon in pieces and some people get eaten, also a number of deaths. I give the movie a thumbs up!
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Michael, age 25
Neutral—This movie was very action-packed… and that’s about it! The lead characters could’ve been more interesting but the attempts to bond us with them fell short. Also, the plot left me asking many questions, most of which I could imagine answers to, but it would have been much better if the movie had provided the answers.

For instance, how had Quinn’s group survived for at least 8 years, largely above ground, without being destroyed by the “millions” of dragons? But the special effects were very good… the dragons were incredible! The first 5 minutes brings an intensity that lasts the whole movie. Matthew McConaughey does a great job as usual. There is a fair amount of profanity, especially when any of the characters references the dragons, although the English accent of most of the characters could have kept me from understanding other offensive words! :-) Evolutionary theory is mentioned but not emphasized. There are absolutely no sexual themes or nudity. Mostly, it’s a shallow but decent action flick.
My Ratings: [Average / 3½]
—Rachel, age 24
Positive—I thought this was a fairly entertaining movie. The plot is rather simplistic. Basically the heroes are trying to kill a dragon in the year 2020. Morally this was an alright movie. There was not much cussing and of what there was, a good deal of it was referring to the dragons. I saw no sexual content other than a couple (I think they were married) sleeping in the same bed.

There is of course a lot of action. It is quite intense in many places and the dragons, technologically awesome, are also quite scary. I would not recommend taking kids. Visually, it’s a very cool movie. Some of the writing and acting could be better though.
My Ratings: [Average / 3]
—Riley, age 20
Positive—I really loved this movie. Please, please ignore the comments made by the reviewer at the top of this page about the movie being filled with Evolutionary theory. It certainly was not. One would have to sit down and grasp for straws and be out to get the movie to say it was filled with Evolution. Any mention of evolution is, at best, used to simply move the story, which isn’t that important anyway, and isn’t emphasized as a statement of faith.

I loved this movie for one reason and one reason alone. It was a very unique action flick. I went in expecting it to be a dumbed-down Arnold movie with no plot and terrible characters, but something just caught my eye and it seemed smarter than the average action/adventure movie. The cinematography is excellent. This is a beautiful movie (even though it’s supposed to look ugly and post-apocalyptic).

There is some language, gore, and a scene where a mock prayer is recited, but other than that it’s just your normal “blow stuff up” action movie as far as immoral acts are concerned. Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey are wonderful in this movie. My only complaint is the fact that this is supposed to be a post-apocalyptic film… and the leading lady has too much makeup and lipstick on. Where did she get the time in all this dragon-slaying to clean up and put on a bunch of cosmetics?
My Ratings: [Somewhat Offensive / 4½]
—Ben Tyler, age 19
Movie Critics
…doesn’t really strive to reach the post-apocalyptic zenith of “On the Beach,” “A Boy and His Dog” and “Terminator.” It instead settles somewhere in Kevin Costner territory, between “The Postman” and “Waterworld”…
—Michael Machosky, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Comments from young people
Negative—This movie was horrible! There was no plot, just a bunch of dragons running around killing people. I found it extremely boring and with little moral value.
My Ratings: [Average / 1]
—Laura, age 17
Negative—This movie was horrible. The plot was horrible. It was pretty much just watching stuff get burned or blown up. The worst scene of the movie is when they make fun of Star Wars. Don’t see it. They use middle age weapons (axes and crossbows) in the year 2020. American soldiers use British equipment. There were to many things that were unexplained or unexplainable.
My Ratings: [Average / 1]
—Peter R., age 14
Positive—This movie was great. Not a lot gore or cussing, just the way I like my movies. A lot of action. I wouldn’t send kids from the age 9 and under to see this movie. I really liked this movie.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4½]
—Miles, age 11
Positive—“Reign of Fire” was probably one of the best action/sci-fi movies I have ever seen! Great graphics, magnificent actors, Wonderful script… awesome movie overall. Very little language (5 cuss words, 7 uses-of-God’s-name) and very little gory violence.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—Anna, age 11