Resident DVD Reviewer
A New DVD Review: Reign of Fire (Buena Vista) & Comments on Alien vs. Predator
Saw the "ultimate dragon flick" Reign of Fire when it first debuted theatrically in the summer of 2000, and I remember walking out of the theater with my friend thinking how bad it sucked for how much it was hyped.....after borrowing the Buena Vista DVD from another friend of mine the other day, I was able to re-visit this title with the little woman on my home theater, in DTS no less.
And STILL I came away with the feeling that this could have been so much better....I mean, sure, the premise is really, really cool....that actual real-life dragon creatures are what destroyed the dinosaurs and eventually wipe out mankind except for a band of refugees living somewhere in England....until Mathew McConaghey arrives with a band of soldiers who have been fighting these things in Kentucky (I believe) and rallies with Christian Bale's men in England to fight a massive male dragon that has been living in downtown ruined London....the film begins with Bale as a kid, years earlier, who discovers the dragons living beneath a construction site his mother is working on....she dies, and years later, as an adult, Bale is leading this refugee group in surviving the now-dominating dragons, who spit fire, eat ash from what they burn, and look REALLY REALLY cool in CGI....the only problem is that this film leaves way too many unanswered questions; why does the group need to simply kill that last giant male dragon in order for there to be an "end of the movie"? Where are all the other dragons? Do they want me to believe that there was only one giant male flying around what is left of London, and there are no more inhabiting that area? There is a reference at the end by Bale's character to the likes of "we dont know IF there are more...." or something like that, but its still too vague....and there were just way too many moments of stale action where nothing was taking place....but the technical aspects of the DVD seem to make up for this.
Buena Vista, who has been, of late, supplying lots of non-anamorphic titles, presents Reign of Fire at a widescreen ratio of 2:35:1, and it looks fine. I did notice some tiny bits of grain and some other video imperfections during VERY difficult scenes to film, of which there are many because of the real dark, murky scenery of burned-out countries. But overall, a fine DVD to look at.
The audio was awesome; there are two choices on this rare Buena Vista disc: Dolby Digital 5.1 and a kick-ass DTS 5.1 track. I, of course, auditioned the DTS mix, and it was overtly active, especially when the dragons were onscreen and flapping their huge wings....absolutely reference-quality audio here. A mix that puts you in the middle of the action. Also refreshing was the fact that here, for the first time in a long time, was a mix with a very clear dialogue channel that seemed to be pumped up just enough to make it real clear and smooth above the other action going on....real nice.
Didnt watch any of the extras, but the trailer was cool. Makes the film seem better than it really was. And watch for a pumped-up Matt McConaghey; MAN did he get in shape for this role.
On a different note, has anyone seen Alien vs. Predator yet? Saw it opening night, and just dont know what to make of it.....a chick getting friendly with the predator creature? This just didnt do it for me. First of all, I had many problems with this film's plot....WHY were the alien creatures there in that temple in the first place? If you go according to what online plot reviews of this film say, the human team who find this temple in the Antartic (lead by Lance Hendrickson who played "Bishop" the robot in the first Alien film for those of you who remember; the story goes that this guy Hendrickson plays in this film somehow was the BLUEPRINT for the robots that eventually make it to the spaceship in Alien; its pretty far-fetched) are actually lured in by the predator creatures, who have been using this place as a secret training ground for their teenage population (I NEVER got this from watching the film --- only from reading online reviews). Supposedly, the predators need to hunt the alien creatures, but in order for the alien creatures to spawn, the humans were needed...or something like this....I just didnt get it. What the hell were the alien creatures doing there anyway? If the predators are hunting the aliens for sport, and they need to fight, then why did the predators need to bring the humans in? And then how does this follow in the timeline of the predator and alien films?
And I gotta tell you....the mother alien creature in this didnt look like the one we came to know and love from the Sigorney Weaver original. Seems to me this was an attempt to cash in on the "Freddy Vs Jason" thing, and we should probably expect to see more of these in the future. The same way a sequel was left open for Freddy Vs Jason, here at the end of AVP we have a sequel hole. But on the plus side, there were some major very cool fight sequences between the two creatures, much like the awesome fights between Doc Oc and Spidey in Spider Man 2.
Feel the Tempo
It was clearly stated in "Reign of Fire" that there was only 1 male. Didn't they say the male flew above all the females and spread his seed across them all? There wasn't enough food for the dragons anymore, they were starting to starve. The other dragons ran away from the male because he was eating them. Also it wasn't a good movie, nice to look at though.
It's nice to think that when people of our ruined future tell their children stories of the past, they will still start off with "A long time ago in a galaxy far far away"
AVP- also fun to look at.... Story? Well, Aliens and Predators are cool!
I agree, humanizing the Predator didn't seem right. I didn't like them excellerating the Alien lifecycle either.
What's not to get about needing the humans to host the Alien young. The alien needs a place for it's infant young to gestate. I wouldn't expect the predators to sacrifice themselves. Why not convince a primitive culture you are a god and have them lay down willingly to be alien hosts. It's not about "needing" to hunt Aliens. It's about proving oneself by hunting the most dangerous creature they could find, like the tribesmen in Africa who hunt lions with spears. The queen was obviously being kept there to lay eggs and keep the hunting preserve viable. It seemed to me that the predators understood the danger free aliens posed to any and everyone, hence the reason for the scene atop the Aztec pyramid. They did say that Bishop Weyland was the father of modern robotics. The biggest problem I had was with the queen attacking the predator, the one with the baby alien growing inside him. If previous movies are any indication, Aliens will not harm their own.
AVP was far from perfect and full of holes, I still had fun though.
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