Reign Of Fire (2002)

Reign Of Fire (2002)

Original Theatrical Release: July 12, 2002
Director: Rob Bowman

Humanity has been decimated by dragons; creatures thought to only have existed in myths and fairy tales. Quinn Abercromby (Christian Bale) and Creedy (Gerard Butler) lead a ragtag group of survivors living in an abandoned castle in the English countryside, trying to survive day by day. When a group of American warriors led by Denton Van Zan (Matthew McConaughey) shows up and claim to be able to slay the dragons once and for all, Quinn has to decide if they can do what they say they can do.

This is one of those movies I always seem to forget about, and I think a lot of other people do, too. I recently re-watched it because my girlfriend had never seen it so I figured what the heck.

The first half of the movie is really interesting and draws you in, but then it seems to lose focus in the later half. I appreciate the dark feel of the film and I think the idea behind the “Archangels” is really great, where specialized shock troops jump out of the helicopter to attack the dragons. (Life expectancy of an Archangel: 17 Seconds) And hooray for the Star Wars reference, as well!

Bale and McConaughey are actually really great in this, playing off one another and bringing their acting chops into this action film, which is always refreshing. Butler is good, too, as well as Izabella Scorupco as Alex Jensen – the pilot of the chopper – though they don’t really get as much screen time as Bale and McConaughey.

For a film that’s around ten years old, the special effects hold up surprisingly well. There are only a few instances where you can tell they were using a green screen, which, in the scheme of things isn’t too shabby. It could’ve been a lot worse! My only other gripe is that one of the characters, toward the end, dies in a really anti-climactic way. My jaw dropped open and I just sat there in disbelief in how lame it was.

This film is a fun option if you’ve been jonesing for a dragon movie, but it has its own particular take on the dragon species and there may be other films out there like How To Train Your Dragon that provides a better dragon experience, especially for the kiddos – because this is definitely not a kid’s flick. (But it is a completely different flavor of movie so I guess it’s like comparing apples to oranges.)

JOE Rating: ★★★

Movie Trailer For Reign Of Fire

Advertisements

Labyrinth (1986)

Labyrinth (1986)

Original Theatrical Release: June 27, 1986
Director: Jim Henson

Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) is a fifteen-year old girl who lives her life in a fantasy world after her mother dies. She is unhappy with her current stepmother (like in any good fairytale) and resents being left home to watch her baby brother Toby while her father wines and dines the would-be-replacement mother. In a fit of rage, she wishes for the Goblin King, Jareth (David Bowie) to take him away. When he does, she realizes the mistake she’s made and must traverse Jareth’s labyrinth and make her way to his castle in only thirteen hours or Toby will be gone forever.

When this movie first came out, I was five years old. Back then, Jim Henson was a god (and still is, I guess), at the height of his popularity. Sesame Street and The Muppets were king…along with Fraggle Rock and all those other Jim Henson vehicles.

This was a movie we watched every year, and I still do. Jennifer Connelly was as beautiful and talented as ever back then and David Bowie’s role in this movie is untouchable, even though at one point they were considering having Michael Jackson as Jareth. (That would be so weird!)

Some of the special effects, by today’s CGI standards, are outdated but still hold a certain charm not available to CGI characters. The sets are beautiful and Jim Henson’s creations really shine and come to life.

The characters are all amazing and even though the story is simple and sort of familiar, drawing on many fairy tale and fantasy tropes, everything else combined makes it stand out from a lot of other films and media with the same types of themes.

The music is where it’s really at, though. The mood. The relationship between Jareth and Sarah. It’s all very well-conceived and I think even if you didn’t grow up with the film you could still watch it today with your kids and let them enjoy it before they are indoctrinated with all the CGI effect-laden films and cartoons we have today.

This is one of my favorite films of all time. Can you tell? This is me, cosplaying as Jareth himself.

407321_10151157450666931_1604512467_n

JOE Rating: ★★★★★

Movie Trailer For Labyrinth

Timeline (2003)

Timeline (2003)

Original Theatrical Release: November 26, 2003
Director: Richard Donner

An archaeological team has been working hard, digging up the past. When their leader, Professor Johnston (Billy Connolly), goes missing – his son Chris (Paul Walker) wants answers. After discovering a piece of parchment along with the professor’s glasses and a signature that is carbon-dated to the year 1357, the group is told by a secretive company that they have accidentally sent Professor Johnston back in time. Armed with their wits and protected by a group of combat experts, the archaeology team must survive in the past long enough to find the professor and make it back to the future…but they only have eight hours before they’ll be stuck in the past forever, and they’ve landed smack-dab in the middle of a war between England and France.

Timeline. When I first heard about the film, I had extremely high hopes. It was based on a Michael Crichton novel of the same name. The premise was cool, for sure, but the film just didn’t have enough momentum for me. For sci-fi fans, the sci-fi is sort of weak and not done well and for action fans, there wasn’t really enough cool action sequences included for a movie about medieval war. Even the love story part of it was brief and didn’t have much meat to it.

The characters are basically “faxed” into the past so as far as time travel movies go, it was also weak. The premise alone was not enough to carry the film. The biggest turn-off for me was the acting. These characters, all archaeology students, WENT BACK IN TIME and witnessed history first hand. What did they do? Walk around like it was nothing. The whole thing felt like an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer to me. (Meaning, there are all these crazy things going on, and in Buffy, the characters treated it like normal, everyday occurrences….same in this movie). Not only would TIME TRAVEL blow their minds, but getting to see things and how they were really done back then would give these people intellectual boners. Them not caring led to me not caring.

I think it’s worth watching at least once, but there are other, better movies dealing with time travel. I just wish that this one had been as cool as it could have been.

JOE Rating: ★★★

Movie Trailer For Timeline