Dungeons and Dragons: A Movie For All or Just the Fans?

by: 
hello world!
| April 2, 2023

I am pretty sure that I saw plenty of tweets and posts about how the Dungeons & Dragons movie will be a complete disaster and just another thing that gets ruined by Hollywood. Now, I would like to talk to the people who said these things. 

Movie fatigue is real, y’all, and I’ve been struggling with it for a while. It’s awful, and I don’t like it, but honestly, as hard as I tried, I barely watched anything in February. March got a lot better, but nothing had me as excited as the D&D movie. Why? Because 

based on the teasers and trailers, it looked like so much fun. I felt that excitement that I thought was lost (possibly) forever. I couldn’t wait to get into the cinema and finally watch it. 

And boy, was I in for one of the best rides in a long while. 

Spoilers ahead for Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves!

I started playing Dungeons & Dragons with friends 2 years ago and got sucked into the Critical Role world as well. I am glad that I’m finally discovering this amazing world and the joy it can bring. I knew about all of it beforehand, of course, but I didn’t think it was something I would enjoy very much. Oh, how wrong I was… 

So, with my added knowledge, I went into this film with an extra sprinkle of excitement on top of the existing one. 

Chris Pine's character on a table
Chris Pine on the set of Dungeons & Dragons

First things first: You don’t need to be a fan or someone who plays D&D actively to enjoy this film. 

Second, it felt like watching a campaign that had just started, and we got to see how the characters evolved. 

Conclusion: Excellent, amazing, real adventure movie with plenty of fun and great jokes along the way. 

I got ahead of myself; forgive me. We have a Bard, Edgin (Chris Pine), his best friend, a Barbarian, Holga (Michelle Rodriguez), a Sorcerer, Simon (Justice Smith), and a Druid, Doric (Sophia Lillis). Their big quest is to rescue Edgin’s daughter: Kira (Chloe Coleman), from their friend who betrayed them: Forge (Hugh Grant). However, Forge’s entire treasure and Kira are protected by strong magic and a wizard worse than anyone the team has ever faced. So, they must embark on an adventure to get magical items and as much help as possible to succeed. 

Edgin and Holga looking at soemthing intensly
Edgin (Chris Pine) & Holga (Michelle Rodriguez)

But don’t be fooled by my quick summary. The adventure is there from the very beginning. Edgin and Holga’s prison introduction is probably the funniest thing I’ve seen in a while, and it also manages to turn the tides toward the more emotional part of the story. While exposition can be overwhelming and, in many cases, done completely incorrectly, in this setup, it works perfectly. And I think that’s what they captured so well. We are meeting new characters, and there needs to be a sense of who they are. Why should we root for them, but if it’s done through exposition upon exposition? It’s not done right. Obviously, this first movie (we will likely see them again) focuses on Edgin and his struggles, but they so smartly managed to make all the others lovable and pique the viewer’s interest in them. 

A cast promo banner for DnD Honour among thieves
Simon (Justice Smith), Xenk (Regé-Jean Page), Edgin (Chris Pine), Holga (Michelle Rodriguez), Doric (Sophia Lillis), Forge (Hugh Grant)

Obviously, this is also achieved through the fantastic casting of the movie. I honestly didn’t think that one day I would be watching a Dungeons & Dragons movie starring Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, and Hugh Grant. But they were all spot-on choices, along with the younger cast. I remember my friend pointing out that Sophia Lillis was in this movie when the first trailer came out. Being a big IT fan, I was like: “Shit, how did I miss her? Maybe they’ve only shown her for a second?” And then my friend looked at me and said: “She is one of the main characters?” Say what!? I honestly did not recognize her at all. And then I realized that the first IT movie came out in 2017. That’s right, folks. It’s almost been 6 years… I know I feel old too. Justice Smith has done so many things already, and honestly, he was the perfect choice for the role of the Sorcerer who can’t seem to find himself or where his true power lies. 

Although I was surprised by Regé-Jean Page’s role, as I expected him to be in the movie for a lot longer. His character definitely has huge potential going forward, so it will be interesting to see what they will do with him. 

Xenk Looking forboding
Xenk ready for battle

What these movies tend to get wrong is the villain. They either feel boring, flat, or just really dumb. Here, both Hugh Grant’s Forge and Daisy Head’s Sofina were spot on. Grant’s over-the-top, cunning thief suited him perfectly and was completely believable as the puppet of Sofina. They balanced each other out perfectly. To be completely fair, yes, this could have worked with just one of them, but the movie’s premise definitely became more interesting with both involved. 

I adored the fact that they chose to use practical effects whenever and wherever they could. The scene in the cemetery might be the funniest thing I’ve seen in a while. Truly resonates with campaigns where you can’t just simply get an answer but instead have to run ten different circles around it. A nice nod from the filmmakers. 

The heart and soul of it all is definitely this team of thieves and misfits who embark on a great (and really funny) adventure. I thought it would be just another of those movies where you have a good laugh and kind of forget about it, but it quickly proved itself to be more than that. It’s safe to say that it will step up as my new feel-good movie, and I hope we will get to meet these characters again.

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