Evan's Eyes

Reign of Fire

When you see scenes of movie characters creeping through murky spaceship corridors, do you yell at the screen "WHY is it dark and hazy inside a spaceship?" If so, you may struggle with Reign of Fire. There are a number of scientific inaccuracies, illogical behaviors, and obvious plot contrivances, and I'll let you have the thrill of spotting all but two, which I can't help but address:

1) Flying dragons. I love the concept of dragons, flying or otherwise, but when set in the "real world," they'd have to contend with the mass-square law. If you are unfamiliar, it says that when one doubles the size of a creature, its mass is squared. So a flying dragon wouldn't look like a lizard with bat wings grown big; the wings would be disproportionately huge, like a lizard with two beach umbrellas for wings, grown big. Such huge structures would have the consistency of tissue paper, or be too heavy to move, making the dragons slow-moving gliders, rather than nimble hunting predators. Huge, slow, fragile dragons aren't scary. They'd be killed off by rednecks with shotguns, and there's the end of the movie.

2) Supposedly, these dragons eat ash, and have burned off so much of the Earth's combustible material that they're starving. Therefore, all the forests are gone. Therefore, the global oxygen supply isn't being replenished. Therefore, EVERYBODY dies (Basic lesson from high-school biology: No Oxygen = No Life). Maybe the cockroaches will survive. This is a downer of an ending. No wonder nobody mention it.

I know that the movie world is governed neither by physics nor logic, but by Art Directors. It's less about what's accurate and more about what Looks Good. If you can suspend your disbelief (and knowledge of science) for the duration, you can focus on the action, of which there is a lot. Don't ask where they get the fuel for all of their vehicles. Don't ask if paratroopers with nets is a good way to kill dragons. Watch for the dragons, which are really cool.

This movie really isn't about whether or not flying dragons could happen, it's a thinly-veiled allegory of the Chinese threat to Western global domination. The blatant "them or us" mentality is rather disturbing when applied to international political relations (and it's interesting to note that in the cinematic world, it's the dragons' life cycle that is inherently all-destroying, not the humans). I can only hope that George Bush doesn't see this film, and decide on pre-emptive nuclear strikes.

If you liked the movies below, you'll probably like this one (and visa versa):

  • A Boy and His Dog
  • Jurassic Park
  • Dragonslayer
  • Godzilla (1998 version)
Overall Rating: 4 (where 1=Worthless, 10=Fabulous)

Eight-Facet Info Rating, rated on a scale of 0 (None) to 4 (Lots!)):

Humor: 0
Nudity: 0
Sexual Reference: 0
Sexual Activity: 0
Action: 4
Gore: 1
Violence: 2
Profanity: 0


© 2002 Evan M. Nichols