The contrast between our Editor as a child and a Dungeons and Dragons player could not be more stark. One has no social skills spending their time locked in their bedroom in a world of fantasy fuelled by MMA style Page 3 girls in leather bikinis whilst the other was a role playing fan of the most popular board games ever (‘You’re fired!’ – Ed). Though the game is huge it has a very specific niche it’s a bit of a gamble to expand it into an expensive blockbuster fantasy film but Dungeons & Dragons Honour Among Thieves, according to the film makers, has intended this film to be for everyone And its certainly been made with an eye to a wide demographic.
Led by Chris Pine as Edgin Darvis he was part of a group called the Harpers but after his wife is killed by the Red Wizards he is imprisoned along with Holga (Michelle Rodriguez) having tried and failed to steal an item that will resurrect his wife. But they escape and find that his daughter Kira (Chloe Coleman) has been taken by their now former rebel friend Forge Fitzwilliam) who betrayed them all in get riches and power for himself and it is him who has forged an allegiance with Red Wizard, Sofina (Daisy Head) looking like the unholy consummation of a panda and an alopecia ridden Meghan Markle.
So Edgin and Holga embark on a mission to save Kira, get revenge on Forge and in the course of doing so they will reunite with faltering wizard Simon (Justice Smith), suave nobleman Xenk (Rege-Jean Page) and a shape shifter Doric (Sophia Lillis). Together their skills should help them achieve their goal. Directors Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis along with writer Michael Gilio have come up with a number of very entertaining sequences that include a stage coach robbery using portals, a fight to the death puzzle a la The Maze Runner and best of all a fat dragon chasing them around an underground cavern – think Gemma Collins looking for a Greggs in Wookey Hole and you get the idea.
But the tone of this is far lighter than the previous attempts to get the board game on screen which reach all the way back to 1983’s animated TV series to the far more sombre big screen version in 2000 with its eclectic cast that included Jeremy Irons, Marlon Wayans, Thora Birch & Rocky Horror man Richard O’Brien and directed by Courtney Soloman whose career as a helmer spluttered to a halt after the film bombed. Dungeons & Dragons Honour Among Thieves is far better with a cast playing it often for laughs with Hugh Grant on Paddington 2 style scene stealing form. There’s enough here for D&D fans with Easter eggs that will please them whilst going over the heads of anyone else but without detriment to the film. Pine is an engaging lead ably supported by the rest of the cast with several amusing scenes notably one set in a graveyard with reanimated skeletons only able to answer five questions before they collapse again that has something of Evil Dead 3 about it.
With Lord of the Rings still maintaining the lead in fantasy films Dungeons & Dragons Honour Among Thieves is a little overlong and the world building is not as strong as it should be with such a property rich in its own legend. And as expected this is CGI heavy but there’s enough practical effects here to take the edge off what is exuberant and often spectacular fun that should make this a monster hit
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Here’s the Dungeons & Dragons Honour Among Thieves trailer…..