Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves movie review: The period heist drama adventure offers dollops of fun and fantasy
What: Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is a cinematic translation of the popular RPG video game with the same title and acronym-ed as DND. Set in the forgotten realms campaign setting, it is directed by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley and stars Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Rege Jean Page, Sophia Lillis, Justice Smith, and Hugh Grant in lead roles.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves movie synopsis
In this infectious cocktail of fun, action and fantasy, Pine plays a liver-tongued bard named Edgin Darvis , Rodriguez plays a divorced barbarian who start off with a simple challenge of escaping a fortified tower – a donjon in Old French, before the English redefined dungeon as somewhere underground – to reunite with his estranged daughter Kira (Chloe Coleman). The duo is expanded to a quartet when a shape shifter, Dori (Sophia Lillis of IT fame) and Simon (Justice Smith), a half-elf wild magic sorcerer and descendant of a notable wizard.
When they learn that Kira is under the thrall of a con man (Hugh Grant) who is himself under the thrall of a wizard (Daisy Head), they start out on the deadly mission to save her and retrieve a lost relic. Like the game, the team’s initial mission rapidly spirals into detours; the goal is less interesting than the brainstorming sessions that get them to the finish.
Goldstein draws inspiration from Marvel and the template is pretty much the same, but offers you dollops of action and adventure with the power of VFX and CGI created bizarre creatures – fire spewing dragons, an owl bear, and what not. The action, fashioned like a joyride, particularly keeps you on your toes with spellbinding visuals of castles, volcanoes and yurts and exquisite lensing of the countryside – thanks to DoP Barry Peterson (shot in Iceland, Belfast, and Northern Ireland).
Though there is a nifty yet stylish one-shot chase sequence where Lillis’ druid hastily shape-shifts among a housefly, a cat, a mouse, and a slender deer, it begins you exhaust with all the going on. A common man like me who never played RPGs will find the whole plot difficult to comprehend and assimilate. There’s no momentum and emotional wallop behind the father-daughter story line, so the closer the plot lurches toward all those hugs and tears, the more excuses Peterman throws in terms of the action-and-chase romp. The film, produced in part by Hasbro, makes no direct reference to the actual game outside the frame. Yet its mechanics are felt in ways both affectionate and sarcastic. I wish the 2- and 15-minutes long film had subtitles.
I enjoyed the gritty and compelling fights involving Michelle Rodriguez where she slays a slew of soldiers off their heads. She comes across as a tough and tenacious woman, albeit not entirely in agreement to the tonality of the period the film is set in. Pine lends a cocksure dimension to Darvis but barely overcomes the inherent stiffness of his persona. Smith and Lillis are impressive as the anti-establishment druid and defeatist sorcerer respectively and together they form a formidable gang.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves final words
The lure of transforming toys and games into movies and TV is hardly a new one, including an earlier roll of the dice on this franchise in 2000. And “Dungeons & Dragons” delivers enough laughs and thrills to justify braving a trip to the theater. purposes, that’s game, set and match.
I go with 3.5 stars out of 5 for Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves