Most fantasy games in the modern day can trace their origins or their inspiration back to the Dungeons & Dragons tabletop role-playing game. Some of the biggest video game releases and even fantasy movies from the 80s and 90s have taken some level of inspiration from the franchise as well. But ever since a cartoon series from 1983 and a movie released back in 2000, there haven’t been many big Hollywood projects based on the Dungeons & Dragons (DnD) series. That is until Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, a movie set in a universe where many of the locations and aspects of modern DnD are rendered authentically for the first time. But rather than leaning on a more serious fantasy story, fans are treated to something that has a lighter tone with a sense of humor that will catch them by surprise.
The plot of the film follows Edgin Darvis, played by Chris Pine, who is on a journey to save his daughter Kira (Chloe Coleman) back from a former ally named Forge (played by Hugh Grant) after spending time in prison for two years. Edgin and his partner Holga (Michelle Rodriguez) escape prison and find that Forge has become a Lord of Neverwinter while acting as guardian for Kira. Yet at the same time, Forge has allied with a Red Wizard that plans on taking over the city for a cataclysmic purpose. In order to rescue his daughter, Edgin will have to find allies and undertake a quest that will coincide saving his daughter with saving Neverwinter from the Red Wizards.
The biggest thing everyone will have to do when seeing this movie is just accepting what is happening and roll with it. Unlike many other fantasy stories on film, Honor Among Thieves doesn’t take itself too seriously, despite having a few emotional and heart-wrenching moments that will stick out. There’s a big sense of humor that is littered throughout the film that will make you laugh more times than you realize, especially when you don’t see it coming. The humor may become too much in some cases, especially towards the middle of the story, but it won’t overshadow the moments that try to stay serious when the movie needs to be.
This also means not thinking too much about some the world itself in most cases. Unless you’re already familiar with aspects of Dungeons & Dragons as a player or longtime fan, you might be lost on some things that are referenced or brought up in conversations between characters. A lot of the names and rules for magic or spells might seem a little weird, but when taken at face value the scenarios that play out on screen can be fun.
Some of the jokes play off some of the stipulations for how magic is used by the sorcerer Simon, played by Justice Smith, which can be pretty funny. A lot of the personality of Chris Pine’s Edgin is rooted in humor and sarcasm, which plays off great with Michelle Rodriguez in some scenes. However, not every joke will always land as good as others and some conversations may come off as too tongue-in-cheek for the moment to remain interesting.
The bad guys of the film are interesting, specifically Hugh Grant’s Forge when things come to a clash with Edgin early on. The Red Wizards on the other hand are a bit shallower in comparison, with Daisy Head as the necromancer Sofina. There’s a creepy vibe from her on-screen that is comically obvious and can make some of the scenes look silly when she’s interacting with the unsuspecting nobles of Neverwinter. It can get to a point where it would’ve been far better to have her take on a more convincing disguise that didn’t make the common folk seem so stupid.
However, the oblivious caricatures of the noblemen could have been a conscious choice to keep a joke going, but it may not work for everyone. The same can be said for some dialogue between the heroes, where conversations might feel a bit out of place with their responses, coming off like people attempting to sound fantastical at a DnD table, rather than people being within the universe. This might be intentional as well but it’s never truly clear in most cases.
The best part of Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is the visual effects, for both the mystical creatures we see and the magical effects. There are a few battles that take place where magic is used and it looks fantastic. Whether it’s Simon using elemental spells against foes or the druid Doric (Sophia Lillis) changing into an owl-bear, the effects look really good. If you wanted to see some good-looking dragons on the screen, the movie has you covered. You’ll be surprised at how they appear.
A few scenes have the group going to places where the environment changes drastically, along with a giant foe chasing them, and the effects of how things transform look solid. Some scenes will stand out more than others for some viewers, but there isn’t a spot where the special effects take a nosedive in quality. Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves looks consistently good throughout the entire two-and-a-half-hour runtime.
If you’re not a big Dungeons & Dragons fan or player, you can still enjoy watching Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. The movie doesn’t have a lot within it that will prevent anyone who isn’t a big DnD enthusiast from finding something cool-looking or interesting to follow the story. And yet things aren’t perfect in this fantasy adventure, especially with how things can become too silly when they don’t need to be. Luckily, none of that is bad enough to ruin the good stuff in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. There are great visual effects that make this world of Dungeons & Dragons look very neat and interesting enough to warrant a return for a sequel. If you end up taking the plunge into this DnD adventure, just roll with it and you’ll have a good time.
Will you be watching Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves in theaters? Do you play DnD with your friends? Tell us about everything in the comments and let your thoughts be heard, no roll for initiative is needed!
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
The movie has a sense of humor that works more often than it doesn’t. Some dialogue between characters can be awkward or feel silly, but there’s a lot of other moments that will overshadow what doesn’t work. The visual effects are great and look really good in motion, especially with the CG creature effects. Those that aren’t in DnD won’t be forgotten and can still have fun watching the story unfold.
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