Film Review: Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
Directors: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daily
eOne and Hasbro Studios
In Theaters: 03.31
The failure of Dungeons & Dragons (2000) was so infamous that a second shot was a dicey proposition, and dedicated fans the world over have been holding their breath for Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.
Edgin Darvis (Chris Pine) is a charming minstrel escaping years of imprisonment with his partner in crime, a barbarian named Holga Kilgore (Michelle Rodriguez). The two are searching for a treasure that includes a magical relic known as a tablet of resurrection, which would give Edgin the ability to bring his late wife back from the dead. Standing between them and that goal is an old friend turned enemy, Forge Fitzwilliam (Hugh Grant), a resourceful and treacherous rogue who has allied himself with Sofina (Daisy Head, Shadow and Bone), a powerful Red Wizard with dark ambitions. Bringing together a team of hearty and daring adventurers, each with their own set of skills, Egdin and Holga must complete the most audacious and perilous quest of their lives.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves has assembled the right group of players to make it all work and the perfect Game Masters in the writing and directing team of Jonathan Goldstien and John Francis Daley, who wrote the screenplay for Spider-Man: Homecoming. The duo capture the fun and spirit of a typical gaming module and commit to the adventure without taking it too seriously. The epic fantasy world known to gamers as the Forgotten Realms campaign is brought to life with great detail, using a successful mixture of CGI and delightful practical effects that recall ’80s fantasy films.
The movie’s tone owes as much or more to Ocean’s Eleven as it does to The Lord of the Rings, and it’s a choice that pays off handsomely. This smartly paced and infectiously entertaining film manages the impossible: balancing the twin missions of pleasing hardcore fans and being accessible to those who have never sat down with a character sheet and a pair of 20-sided dice. The end result is a magical romp that packs more fun into two hours than any other popcorn blockbuster in quite some time.
Nobody does comic adventure better than Pine, and he’s perfectly cast as the Harrison Ford–like scoundrel with a heart of gold. Rodriguez brings a thrilling physicality to her role. The deliberate staging of her fight sequences left me practically hearing the roll of the dice as each move and counter move was determined, though no literal acknowledgements of gaming are ever made. Justice Smith (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) is funny and lovable as Simon, a sorcerer with serious self esteem issues, and Sophia Lillis (It) is adorable as a shape shifting “tiefling” called Doric. The biggest scene stealer may be Regé-Jean Page (Bridgerton) as the Paladin Xenk Yendar, whose overly earnest demeanor and dashing charisma annoy Edgin to no end. Head provides us with an effectively spooky villain who makes the stakes palpable and adds tension without being too scary for younger viewers.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is a clever and exciting adventure film that actually feels fresh and innovative, and if there’s any live-action movie in recent memory that I could honestly say has something for nearly everyone, this is it. So gear up and get ready to sally forth to your local multiplex and join in a game where everyone who plays is a winner. –Patrick Gibbs
Read more reviews of action movies drawing on intellectual properties outside film:
Film Review: Jumanji: The Next Level
Film Review: Uncharted
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