The influence of the board role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons on modern culture is almost impossible to fully assess. Without D&D, we would not have almost any cult RPG of the level of Fallout and Neverwinter Nights, many famous novels, period films and interesting TV series. And just a very large number of modern creators of the level of Jon Favreau were inspired in one way or another by D&D. Only this universe has been unlucky with feature films for a long time. “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor of Thieves” is an attempt to correct the situation. We tell you in our review how successful it was.
“Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” / Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
Directed by John Francis Daly, Jonathan Goldstein
Starring Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Hugh Grant, Rege-Jean Page, Justice Smith, Sophia Lillis, Chloe Coleman
Release year 2023
The bard Egin (Chris Pine) and the barbarian Holga (Michelle Rodriguez) live as robbers. The couple has its own principles, because they do everything for the sake of Egin’s daughter Kira (Chloe Coleman). But one unsuccessful case still leads to imprisonment. Aegina and Holza manage to escape, but they learn that their former comrades have betrayed them. Now they must not only clear their reputation in the eyes of Kira, but also return the loot and fight off a nearby threat that could destroy the entire kingdom.
The universe of Dungeons and Dragons is so vast and developed that you can take just a small piece of it – and it will be enough to build an entire franchise. But the authors of the movie “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor of Thieves” decided to take a different path. Using the setting of “Forgotten Kingdoms” only as a basis and ground for fanservice, the film crew tells an independent and unique story. Which, at the same time, perfectly conveys the very spirit of the party in tabletop D&D.
Not quite a traditional fantasy unfolds before the audience. The magic and fictional races in the film are just a beautiful and elaborate entourage. After all, first of all, “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor of Thieves” is a movie about a robbery.
Which, moreover, works according to all the canons of the “Ocean Trilogy”. Here you have betrayal at the very beginning as the engine of the plot, and the gathering of a team, and thinking of a plan to get into a protected storage, and the eternal bad luck of the main characters, due to which they have to constantly adapt to new conditions.
Even the soundtrack and some directorial techniques are sometimes very reminiscent of classic heist films. But everything is done so qualitatively and, excuse the banality, with soul that it does not cause rejection at all.
“Dungeons and Dragons: Honor of Thieves” is much better than the trailers or the tie-in suggest.
Let the first few minutes of viewing not get rid of the feeling that you are watching a somewhat banal fantasy straight from the “scratch”, which, moreover, was filmed immediately for television, but the impression quickly begins to change for the better. And by the middle of it, you realize that you are watching a very creative movie, which has enough interesting solutions.
Take, for example, local action scenes. Almost every one is based on the unique abilities of the main characters and emphasizes their characteristics. Therefore, all active actions in the film have an amazing and original look. And when the characters begin to work in a team, as every game in D&D forces, the level of pleasant impressions completely breaks through sky-high heights.
Magic adds color to the film, thanks to which almost all scenes have a textured and stylish look. Dungeons and Dragons fans will clearly appreciate the level of implementation and references in this element of the film. To everyone else, the charms will seem almost one hundred percent outstanding. The final battle of the spells, in which every “hit” is felt on an almost tactile level, may very well be one of the best scenes of the year.
“Dungeons and Dragons: Honor of Thieves” does not lose the atmosphere of a fun adventure for a second of its time. Here, even the most terrible dangers and heartless enemies can be overcome if you act together and wisely. And it seems that such an attitude towards the script seems somewhat naive, but in the general context it is not thought about at all.
The film amuses and laughs without falling into banality. Its magical setting freed the witty screenwriters’ hands and allowed many interesting situations to be realized.
The general dynamics of cinema also favors impressions. The locations are constantly changing, they are thematically diverse, but at the same time they always fit into the framework of the general concept and do not look superfluous.
The Dungeons and Dragons universe already had experience with a cinematic adaptation, but in the middle of the “zeroes” it turned out to be as mediocre as possible. Therefore, the previous expectations from the new film could not be described as anything other than skepticism. But it is all the more pleasant that the movie turned out to be great.
Perhaps fans of Dungeons and Dragons lore will be able to find fault with the local terminology, which does not delve too deeply into the long-standing canons of the universe. But against the background of other merits of the story about one magical robbery, there is absolutely no desire to do something like this.
Pros: creative action scenes in which magic is combined with the ingenuity of the main characters and interesting directorial decisions; funny humor that actively uses the “charm” of the setting; a great mix of comedy, fantasy and heist films; careful attitude to the canons of the Dungeons and Dragons universe Cons: some simplicity and naivety of the plot; Dungeons and Dragons fans may be missing references Conclusion:
“Dungeons and Dragons: Honor of Thieves” combines such different elements that sometimes you even wonder how and why they work. Such a turbulent mixture leaves enough pleasant emotions to want more. And there is no more eloquent feedback about a movie than the questions people ask after watching it, asking their more knowledgeable friends to join them for their first ever Dungeons and Dragons tabletop game.