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Review written by: Alex Sandell
What's that crazy Osama up to now?!?!
is the latest in a long line of monster movies that don't actually feature many
scenes with monsters. Spielberg perfected this grand tradition in the
mid-seventies with Jaws. It is a tradition that was born out of
necessity, rather than creativity. Strangely enough, it works.
budget forcing the filmmakers to focus on creating clever ways to make the
monster (in the case of Reign of Fire it's "monsters") scary
without actually filming many scenes with the beastie, we are given a creature
that comes to life through our own imaginations rather than big FX. The
filmmakers can't get Lucas-Lazy™ by injecting yet another dose of CGI
eye-candy whenever things start to slow down. Instead, they have to
entertain through anticipation, expectation, and trepidation ... not computer
doesn't feature a complex or innovative story, but there is a story
involved, and it isn't riddled with plot holes like a lot of the big popcorn
pics of late.
Pesky dragons wake up every so often and do their best to wipe out civilization,
as we know it. The Europeans are being all European about the whole ordeal
and are basically just letting what happens happen in hopes that it stops
happening soon. Then, in comes George W., err, Van Zan (Matthew
McConaughey), a gung-ho American who is determined to wipe them damn
out. It turns out that dragons reproduce in that same boring intercourse-free
way that fish seem to favor. The female dragon lays a bunch of eggs and the male comes along later
and fertilizes them. So, if the male (for some reason there is only one male) is wiped out, the
breeding stops and everything goes back to normal.
The film does lower itself to using CGI in a few spots. The effects
aren't particularly good, either. Think the original Dragonheart and
you'll be on the right track. Unlike Dragonheart, and so many other
PC monster movies, lately, the dragons in this movie are scary and we need to slay
them. There's no dragon walking around with Sean Connery's voice and
half-baked one-liners. There's no cuddly baby dragon for a meager peasant
to adopt. There's just a bunch of dragons burning the shit out of
everything humans hold dear and a bunch of pissed off humans that want them to
stop. It makes for a damn fun time, even if you have pretty much seen it
days before Industrial Light & Magic went crazy and began ramming
live-action cartoons down our throats, I may not have considered Reign
of Fire to be the fun film that I currently do. But it is 2002, my
standards have been lowered by years of trash, and I
have a bad case of CGI fatigue. After being burned out by a computer Yoda,
computer E.T. and computer Greedo shooting first, I automatically give bonus
points to a film that relies on more than a mouse, a keyboard and 3D Studio Max
to tell its story.
Whenever I see sets, character development, semblances of a plot and other
old-fashioned things in a popcorn movie, I get mega-nostalgic and enjoy the
picture far more than it probably deserves to be enjoyed.
On a scale of 1-10?
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Text ©(Copyright) 2002 Alex Sandell [All Rights Reserved].
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