TL;DR – An enjoyable film that captures the chaos of a DnD session right down to the nat-20 dice rolls.
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid to see this film.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves Review –
Between a combination of Critical Role finding a moment in the streaming space and the wave of nostalgia birthed from Stranger Things, it has rarely been a better time for Dungeons & Dragons. Many people started their own DnD campaigns, and I am not immune to that, so what do you do? Well, you bring your party to the cinemas and experience a one-shot.
So to set the scene, we open in prison surrounded by an icy wasteland. Two prisoners were Edgin Darvis (Chris Pine), a bard and his best friend Holga Kilgore (Michelle Rodriguez), a barbarian trying to get a pardon by explaining their tragic backstory. Or … you know, you could do a little prison break. Because when Edgin was captured, he left his daughter Kira Darvis (Chloe Coleman) in the care of his party member Forge Fitzwilliam (Hugh Grant), rogue. Only Forge is now the Lord of Neverwinter and might have turned Kira against the group.
I was interested to see how well DnD would translate from the tabletop game to the big screen. There have been attempts to do this before that I vaguely remember being good, but I am not confident in that memory. The game’s mechanics can get a bit clunky, and I was not expecting the film to stop so everyone could roll initiative. Overall, the film has a fluid momentum to it that might not represent the game, but it makes for an entertaining watch. The only major game mechanics they explore are attuning and spell range.
While there is not a significant explicit exploration of game mechanics, you can still feel them beating under the surface. There are moments where you can feel that a character just rolled their nat-20 or failed their dexterity save. This is surrounded by a plethora of references as we make our way to The Sword Coast. From the soaring towers of Neverwinter to the mysterious lich Szass Tam (Ian Hanmore), and wait, was that a Halfling? Sure, if you know what a gelatinous cube is, you will get a chuckle at its inclusion, but I think that they are not so overwhelming that someone who has not engaged with the game will be lost.
What elevates the film is that it looks like most of the cast is having fun, which translates from the screen. Chris Pine has to do much of the heavy lifting with the narrative, but they made him a bard, so it works. Michelle Rodriguez completely captures the energy of a barbarian as she rages through waves of underlings. Also, it must be said that the film is made better for every moment Hugh Grant is on the screen. I loved watching them put the team together and go on their heist because that is just 100% my jam. While most of the action scenes are fine, they are very generic and could have been a touch more refined.
In the end, do we recommend Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves? Yes, we do. I had a lot of fun with this film. The cast is a joy, the setting is fun, and even if the narrative is a bit predictable, I didn’t mind. If you like Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, we recommend Shazam! Fury of the Gods.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
Directed by – Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley
Story by – Chris McKay & Michael Gilio
Screenplay by – Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley & Michael Gilio
Based on – Dungeons & Dragons by Hasbro
Music by – Lorne Balfe
Cinematography by – Barry Peterson
Edited by – Dan Lebental
Production/Distribution Companies – Paramount Pictures, Entertainment One & Hasbro Studios
Starring – Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Regé-Jean Page, Justice Smith, Sophia Lillis, Hugh Grant, Chloe Coleman & Daisy Head with Spencer Wilding, Will Irvine, Nicholas Blane, Bryan Larkin, Sarah Amankwah, Clayton Grover, Ian Hanmore, Paul Bazely, Kenneth Collard, Jason Wong, Hayley-Marie Axe, Bradley Cooper, Darren Kent, Claude Starling, Richie Wilson, Philip Brodie, Paul Lancaster, Michael Redmond, Daniel Campbell, Sharon Blynn, Appy Pratt, Luke Bennet, Moe Sasegbon, Trevor Kaneswaran, Emer McDaid, Seamus O’Hara & Edgar Abram and Mark Bonanno, Broden Kelly & Zachary Ruane
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: PG; Germany: 12; New Zealand: M; United Kingdom: na; United States: PG-13
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