Reign of Fire

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: -1

Set in London of the near future, this science-fiction fantasy blends medieval legends of fire-breathing dragons with modern weapons of war. As a child, Quinn sees the first dragon re-awaken in a cave underneath London, when his mothers engineering crew digs a tunnel through it. Burning the earth to feed on the ashes of organic matter, the dragons quickly turn England and the world into an almost medieval state. When his mother dies in the dragons exit, the orphaned Quinn (Christian Bale) grows up to be the fire marshal/leader of a small community living an almost stone-age existence in a castle on the English countryside. Having survived the seemingly invincible dragons for twenty years, Quinn and his community are skeptical when American Van Zan (Matthew McConaughey) arrives with a troop of tanks, a tale of killing the beasts and a plan to end the dragon rule. Alex (Izabella Scorupa), the daring helicopter pilot for Van Zan, flies the skydiving archangels who lure the flying dragons into his guns. When the American team kills one dragon, hope is renewed. But after a dragon scorches Van Zans brigade and threatens to destroy his community, Quinn must face his past by helping Van Zan and Alex battle the dragon king. Tense action highlights this sparse storyline, but the computer-generated dragons will generate some interest.

English countryside and charred buildings are frequently covered by smoke and fog enhancing the medieval look of the scenes. Touches of topical humor, such as Quinn acting out the "Star Wars" story for community children, mix with moments of religious allegory as the children recite lessons in dragon survival like a memorized prayer, complete with folded hands. Although he seems to care about his men, Van Zan also acts like Moby Dicks Captain Ahab in his dogmatic focus on killing the male dragon. Numerous crude expletives along with some strong profanity, mostly used by Van Zan, color the dialogue. But, while a fist fight gets briefly brutal, most of the violence is limited to attacking dragons. However, a number of scenes imply people are burned by the beasts, and a few show dragons grabbing people in their mouths. Several tense scenes may upset children under ten and strong profanity drags down the REIGN OF FIRE.

Preview Reviewer: Paul Bicking
Buena Vista Pictures (Touchstone), 500 S. Buena Vista St., Burbank, CA 91521

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (14) times Mild 8, moderate 6

Obscene Language: Once S-word

Profanity: Several (6) times Regular 4 (GD 3, J); exclamatory 2 (OG)


Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Few times cigarette smoking, homemade alcohol drinks, cigar chewed but not smoked

Other: Boy jokingly offered cigarette/ comments about drinking, comment about being destroyed by ignorance, dragon safety action recited like catechism with hands folded in prayer, skydiving dragon chasers called archangels, London 66 signpost has third 6 scratched on it, flock of dragons fly from London like bats, Comment about evolution - used in sense of changing but not Darwinian

Running Time: 100 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and adults

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