The influence of the tabletop role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons on modern culture is very great and it is almost impossible to fully appreciate it. Without D&D, we would not have almost a single cult RPG of the level of Fallout and Neverwinter Nights, many cult novels, interesting TV series and landmark films. A very large number of modern creators like Jon Favreau were in one way or another inspired by D&D. But for some reason the setting had no luck with feature-length 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 turned out to be.
Pros: creative action scenes that combine magic with the resourcefulness of the main characters and interesting directorial decisions; funny humor that actively uses the “magic” 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 not get enough references
Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
Directed by John Francis Deli, Jonathan Goldstein
Cast: Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Hugh Grant, Regé-Jean Page, Justice Smith, Sophia Lillis, Chloe Coleman
Release year 2023
The bard Ejin (Chris Pine) and the barbarian Holga (Michelle Rodriguez) live by stealing. But the couple has their own principles, and they do everything for the sake of Ejin’s daughter Kira (Chloe Coleman), but one case still brings the tandem to prison. Egin and Holga manage to escape, but they learn that their former comrades have betrayed them. Now they have to not only clear their reputation in the eyes of Kira and return the loot, but also fight back an emerging threat that could destroy the entire kingdom.
The Dungeons and Dragons universe is so vast and detailed that you can take just a small piece of it – and this will already be enough to build an entire franchise. But the authors of the film “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor of Thieves” decided to go a different route. Using the Forgotten Realms setting only as a basis and ground for fan service, the production team tells an independent and unique story. Which at the same time perfectly conveys the very spirit of the party in tabletop D&D.
Even a not entirely traditional fantasy unfolds before the audience. The magic and fictional races in the film are just a beautiful and elaborate setting. After all, first and foremost, Dungeons and Dragons: Honor of Thieves is a heist film.
It works according to all the canons of the Ocean’s Trilogy. Here you have betrayal at the very beginning as the engine of the plot, and gathering a team, and thinking through a plan to get into a protected storage facility, and the eternal bad luck of the main characters, because of which they have to constantly adapt to new conditions.
Even the soundtrack and some of the director’s techniques are sometimes very reminiscent of classic heist films. But everything was done with such high quality and, excuse the banality, with soul that it does not cause rejection at all.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor of Thieves is much better than the trailers or premise might lead you to believe.
Even though in the first few minutes of watching you can’t help but feel that you are watching a somewhat banal fantasy straight from the “zero”, which was also filmed directly for television, but the impressions quickly begin to change for the better. And by the middle of it you realize that you are watching a very creative movie, which is full of 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. That’s why all the action in the film looks impressive and original. And when the characters begin to work in a team, as every party in D&D is forced to do, the level of pleasant impressions reaches sky-high levels.
Magic also adds color to the film, thanks to which almost all scenes look textured and stylish. Fans of Dungeons and Dragons will clearly appreciate the level of implementation and references in this element of the film. To everyone else, the magic will seem almost one hundred percent outstanding. The final battle of spells, in which each “blow” is felt almost on a tactile level, may well become one of the best scenes of the year.
“Dungeons and Dragons: Honor of Thieves” never loses the atmosphere of a fun adventure, in which 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 scenario seems somewhat naive, but in the context of the general situation I don’t want to think about it at all.
The film is fun and makes you laugh without slipping into banality. Its magical setting freed the hands of witty screenwriters and allowed them to realize many interesting situations.
The overall dynamics of the movie also benefit the experience. The locations are constantly changing, they are thematically diverse, but at the same time they always fit into the framework of the overall concept and do not look superfluous.
The Dungeons and Dragons universe already had experience with cinematic adaptation, but in the mid-2000s it turned out to be as mediocre as possible. Therefore, preliminary expectations from the new film could not be described except with skepticism. But it’s all the more pleasant that the movie turned out to be excellent.
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 given the rest of the merits of the story about one magical robbery, there is absolutely no desire to do something like that.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor of Thieves combines elements so different that you sometimes wonder how and why they work. However, such a violent mixture leaves enough pleasant emotions to want more. And there is no more eloquent response to a film than the questions from people after watching it, begging their more knowledgeable friends to go with them to their first game of the Dungeons and Dragons tabletop game.