Reign Of Fire

Reign Of Fire (2002)
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Cast: Matthew McCanaughey, Christian Bale, Izabella Scorpuco
Extras: Featurettes, Trailer

I admit it, I did not expect much from ’Reign of Fire’ but got all the more out of it. The movie actually turns out to be a well-crafted post-apocalyptic fantasy tale. It borrows quite heavily from some other movies, such as ’The Road Warrior’ at times but the scenario of a high tech world that is laid to waste by fire-breathing dragons is definitely good for a bucket of popcorn.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment is presenting ’Reign of Fire’ in its original 2.35:! widescreen aspect ratio on this DVD in a transfer that is enhanced for 16×9 TV sets. The transfer is free of blemishes and defects, creating a bold image that is clean, clear and absolutely stable. The level of detail in the transfer is also very good giving the image a good richness and definition. Colors are nicely reproduced and vibrant without bleeding. Blacks are deep and solid, helping to paint the ominous pictures of doom. Slight edge-enhancement is visible on occasion but nothing to be worried about and the compression is without flaws.

The Audio on the release is presented as an aggressive 5.1 channel Dolby Digital mix as well as a 5.1 DTS track. Both of them make very effective use of the surround channels throughout for a truly immersive experience. The track has a very good bass extension, adding a lot of low end punch to the track, while the high ends are clear and well-defined. The dynamic response is beautifully restoring the film’s sonic experience by finely delineating even the most subtle ambient noises while maintaining good headroom for the explosive scenes. Overall it is a very modern and aggressive surround mix that makes full use of the format.

The DVD contains a featurette called ’Breathing Life Into Terror’, a featurette that sheds some light on the making of the film with interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. The featurette ’If You Can’t Stand The Heat’ is a very interesting look at all the fiery effects seen throughout the film. It takes you behind the scenes to learn how the filmcrew prepared the countless small and large-scale fires required for the film and how the made them match the dragon’s movements. The DVD is rounded out by an interview with director Rob Bowman and the film’s theatrical trailer.

’Reign of Fire’ is a solid movie that knows how to entertain. It may not make complete sense and it may not offer unexpected plot-twists, but the post-apocalyptic world its takes us to is interesting and menacing enough to keep us interested. As soon as the dragons enter the screen however, they clearly steal the show, as they are masterfully created, animated and integrated into the live action footage. Check it out for some mindless, explosive entertainment.