Dungeons and Dragons Honor Amongst Thieves leaps from the game board to the big screen with Magic, laughs and quests galore
Dungeons and Dragons or D&D as it is affectionately known is one of the most popular board games in the world. But for those who play, this is something more. D&D requires you (or a ‘Dungeon Master’) to create the story and quest points the players will encounter, meaning no two games are ever the same. In this world, imagination is king, if you can dream up a creature, it can be in the game.
My son is a D&D player, so I have some idea how much investment there is in this world and these quests. When the movie was announced, I personally had concerns over how this big screen adaptation would be taken by ‘real fans’ of the game. Despite its popularity, Dungeons and Dragons hasn’t so far transcended its ‘geek’ image to become part of pop culture in the way comic book movies have. Could this be the film that takes this to the mainstream?
Directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein (Game Night), Dungeons and Dragons finds Chris Pine on a full charm offensive as Edgin, a slick thief and bard, assembling a team to go on an epic quest. Their mission is to retrieve an ancient and powerful relic to save his family from the deceptive Lord Forge, played by Hugh Grant.
For some reason, the set up gave me flashbacks of ‘The Blues Brothers’ Movie (anyone old enough to remember that?!) With two old friends getting out of prison and reaching out to other old friends (and some new) to complete their quest. Edgin is joined by powerhouse Holga (Michelle Rodriguez), Simon (Justice Smith), a wizard with serious confidence issues and Doric (Sophia Lillis), a shape shifter and crack shot with a slingshot.
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Despite having Dragons, magic and quests, this is nothing like serious fantasy movies like Lord of the Rings. This movie keeps its tongue very firmly in its cheek, but not to the point of slapstick. The directors here are much more interested in delivering laughs and fun rather than ‘world building’. This ensemble cast of characters are thrown from one quest to the other with each character’s individual skills and talents allowed to shine and help them problem solve their way through their adventures.
The movie is a bit cheesy in parts, but not in a way that really diminishes it as in a way that’s partly the point. This is pure fantasy none of this is real and they are not trying to convince us it is either. It’s an adventure game in movie form, with the sole intention being to give audiences an over-the-top family fun thrill ride. It’s got big positive energy and has themes of loss, new family and redemption running through.
The team work well together with most characters given their own personal arcs to overcome which is admirable considering we have only just met the characters for the first time in this movie. Hugh Grant has officially moved on from his younger days of playing the bumbling English man in rom coms to now being the villian you kind of enjoy watching.
Watch the full trailer here
Speaking of villains, watching British Actress Daisy Head as evil witch Sophina was interesting. In a film so eager to be big and fun, she didn’t break character once, no smile, no knowing smirk, for most of the movie she was quite reserved and menacing, but the intensity and irritation was coming off her in waves which made her fantastic to watch.
Dungeons and Dragons Honor Amongst Thieves is a delightfully fun family adventure. A bit like the Marvel movies used to be before they all had to be tied to every other film and world ending event. I’m interested in how the movie will be received by D&D fans, if they feel it stays true or strays too far from its source material to appeal to a wider market.
If it is successful then the doors are wide open for a sequel and dare I say it, a D&D universe! It also had a proper ending without lose ends so it could also quite happily end with this one film. Either way, this the kind of big adventure the whole family could and should enjoy