Nick C. Goins Jr.
The Pissed Take - Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
Release Date 03Mar2023
DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS: HONOR AMONG THIEVES -or- GULAGS AND MONITOR LIZARDS: THE THOR RAGNAROK EDITION *AKA* At least it's better than the 2000 movie?
This is an OK movie, and only barely that, but not worth a movie ticket. Stream it out of curiosity for yourself - if you must, or for teenagers.
DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS: HONOR AMONG THIEVES is the second feature film based on the long running fantasy table top gaming series DUNGEONS & DRAGONS. The game was designed by GARY GYGAX and DAVID ARNESON, and published originally by TACTICAL STUDIES RULES (TSR) in 1974. It was acquired by WIZARDS OF THE COAST in 1997 who has published it since.
Inspired by miniature wargames of the time, a 1971 game called CHAINMAIL was used as the initial rule system. Departing from wargaming, individual characters are created by players (instead of military formations), a party is formed, and an adventure set out upon. Serving as the game's storyteller, referee, and as the voice of NPCs (non-playable characters) is the DUNGEON MASTER (DM). This person generally (hopefully) is an experienced player who knows the rules of the game, and maintains immersion.
This madness has gone on for nearly 50 years, involving millions of people from all over the world, and generating a dragon's horde of money from most forms of media. With a wealth of storytelling and world building at their fingertips, why does this movie (especially the 2000 movie) kinda suck like an illithid?
1. Fantasy is expensive! This movie had a budget of 150 million, yet still manages to look cheap... well, at least like a movie made 10 years ago.
2. Fantasy makes executives "scurr'd"! To make fantasy films not look like braised nad satchels, you're spending the type of money only a scant few properties have made back.
3. Writer's aren't thinking "Fantasy" when it comes to their careers! Unless you're talking some big prestige property like LOTR or GOT, decent screenwriters aren't jumping at the chance to write these movies. So, to the scrubs go the scraps... ew.
There are some genuinely funny moments in the movie, nice ones that catch you off guard with their spontaneity and ease. A joke about what needs to be done to cross a bridge in the UNDERDARK (a famous location in the game) is the best in the movie. The cast is actually quite likable, better than the trailers made them seem - even MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ, who plays the exact same character in every MF movie! There are also nods to the game's legacy throughout the picture.
This movie is not memorable in the slightest. leaving the theater, I really couldn't tell you what the thing was about... the characters, the story - anything that should have stuck with me... gone upon exit. The story is generic, none of the depth, the mechanics, the specificity of the game that could have made this interesting is even attempted. THOR: RAGNAROK casts a heavy and obvious shadow over D&D : HAT. The choice to make this a joke-a-minute, comedic farce, does little to hide the writer's lack of confidence in crafting a story. A story that is as paint-by-numbers, and convenient as it gets. There are nods to the game's legacy throughout the picture... and they get half or better wrong! A bit of advice to writers: NEVER introduce an object or character of great power and utility, then throw it away right before a situation it would have been really useful occurs. Immersion breaking nonsense at it's best.
There is, good or bad, a smell on this movie ... like cheap cologne or an egg-fart, that lingers like pain after a jump kick in the D20s.
If you must, wait to stream it. It is worth at least a casual view, but not in the theater, even current matinee prices. Strictly a small screen watch.
DON'T SEE IT!
If you were waiting for a good D&D movie... this ain't it, and you will be disappointed. There's better sport in challenging tree sloths to a game of Jugger.