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Poster for Reign of Fire
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Reign of Fire

Director: Rob Bowman Run Time: 101 min. Format: 35mm Rating: PG 13 Release Year: 2002

Starring: Christian Bale, Matthew McConaughey, Izabella Scorupco, Gerard Butler

The apocalypse has been imagined in many forms – extreme weather, alien invasion, pandemics. As far as we can tell, Reign of Fire is the sole film that posits “What if all the subterranean digging we do unearths a sleeping dragon that immediately multiplies itself and scorches most of the human population?”

Dirt-and-sweat laden Quinn (Christian Bale) and Van Zan (Matthew McConaughey) are at cultural odds on how to overcome the seemingly unbeatable beasts. Quinn has been nurturing a community posted up in a castle, hoping the dragons will go back into hibernation, when Van Zan and his American military muscle arrive, having had success in killing some of the creatures. Without much choice, they pool their resources and manpower, determined to survive. Directed by Rob Bowman, frequent helmer of episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and The X-Files, Reign of Fire makes great use of location, effectively creating a landscape of ash and rock, with early use of CGI that isn’t always bad. Set in 2020, from our vantage point now it feels like the only potential humanity destroyer that didn’t occur that year.