Reeling Post-Apocolyptic 'Fire'





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What the fucking fuck? I mean, you've got to have some expectations when it comes to summer movies. Just because they're brainless blockbusters doesn't mean they have to suck. Shall I tell you of the great post-apocalyptic action movies that don't suck? Okay.

Foremost among them is "Mad Max," the most fucking awesome movie ever. Max is so mad. Like, he's so pissed off that a bunch of hooligans killed his wife and kid. Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Max. That movie knew what was fucking rad, what was fucking badass, and it just fucking did it. It swaggered confidently and came on your face like a fucking bitch. Yeah. Yeah!

Um, what else was there? There was "Delicatessen." That was post-apocalyptic. Not in the same way, no. More somber and pretty, that future. Whatever.

"Reign of Fire." Hmmm. What? It didn't have to suck. Who were they trying to please? Everybody? They thought a lot of stupid dramatic talk would make this film serious and good and right? No, no, no. That's not the way to go at all. All that ponderous pity-talk just makes the movie heavy, sluggish, shitty. God.

They had cool ideas, I tell you. You see, it's 2084 A.D. and London and whatever and a bunch of dragons took over the world. Turns out they were living underground the whole time. Whoops. So mankind is totally fucked and all the cities burn and everyone retreats into the countryside. Into, ahem, castles. And they fight with, er, crossbows, and, uh, axes. Yeah, like, they're fighting dragons, so they go all medieval or whatever.

Whatever. Okay? It doesn't fucking matter. They live in a future medieval world and that's fucking cool, okay? Like, the movie seriously considers the psychological effects a scarcity of resources might cause, just like "Mad Max" seriously considered a society of scare gasoline. This part is good, this part is great. Random neat bullshit is what you want from a summer film, right?

What you don't want is a lot of shitty tedium. Blah blah blah everyone says to everyone else. Blah blah blah here's the plot let's do the plot okay we're doing the plot and here's a witty one-liner. Boring boring boring boring boring. What we want to see is dragons tearing shit up and people tearing up dragons. Dragons, man. That's a real good idea. Like, they're all heavy and fast and fly and breathe fire. How could they go wrong? They do. They make the dragons boring and slow and predictable and blurry and shitty.

Well, that's enough of that. There's other ways to look at this movie. As a heavy shitty movie, it wants badly for you to understand the symbols it throws your way. As young intellectuals we are trained to see material in terms of symbology: the author uses this to say this, this thing means this idea, blah blah blah. Good authors and directors never bother with that shit. It's simplistic-logical rather than expressive. No decent director would ever constrain themselves to the symbol game. They play games of tone, of errata, of mystery. But "Reign of Fire" is a shitty movie with boring ambitions, and so it is quite happy to blast bullshit your way and let you, you stupid fuck, be all, "oh yes, I understand this, I'm very very smart."

So, fuckhead, here it is. Multiple symbologies. Break it down.

Number one: this is about terrorism. An enemy comes from the underground and destroys the great Western metropolises. Their motives are unclear, their tactics wily. More to point, they fly through the air, full of fuel, leveling skyscrapers. Ahem, do you get it? The movie makes sure you do. Jerk. By the way, it turns out that there's only one male dragon (oops, spoiler! Sorry!) that fertilizes all the female eggs, and if they can just kill that one dragon, they can restore the world order to its proper balance. Do we have to name names? Is it clear what this is about? Okay, good.

Numbers two and three: Various things about being gay.

God, aren't you bored by all this? It's okay if you are. The movie is very boring. Go watch "Mad Max." That's a really good movie. Don't watch any of its bullshit sequels. "Road Warrior?" Fuck you. No, watch "Mad Max." Ignore this dragon shit. The sets are okay and that's it. The end. Fuck you.

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