Fantasy board game becomes a hit movie for watchers


Noah Bihan

Dungeons & Dragons is a film that can be enjoyed by all.

Noah Ellinger, Staff Writer

In 1974, Dungeons and Dragons was the first role-play board game released, sparking a new genre in media and entertainment all together. With the vast imagination of creating your own story or following one, it was an instantaneous hit for kids in the 70’s and 80’s.

The first movie adaptation released in April of 2000 was a complete failure. The plot was horrendous, there were barely any recognizable monsters, CGI was noticeably cheap and the acting felt way too forced.

Having played the game a few times and due to these reasons, when I heard of the making of a new movie adaptation my expectations were immediately low, despite the cast having incredible actors participating, such as Chris Pine, Justice Smith, and Michelle Rodriguez. I felt a sense of doubt that they could perfectly highlight the vast world of Dungeons and Dragons.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves released on March 3, and gained a respectable score of 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes with an audience score of 95 percent, with critics praising Chris Pines performance and other supporting roles. Seeing this I had a sense of hope and satisfaction that maybe this movie did some things right.

With that said, walking into the theater I was surprised to see it mostly full with families and adults all ready to watch the movie. My expectations were already low and I was fairly surprised to see the amount of people there. Mentally preparing myself for a disaster to unfold, I was surprised at how well the movie did with the world of Dungeons and Dragons.

The characters of this movie carry the story in an endearing, humorous way. Each character has a certain struggle and personality trait that gives them more depth and dimension. To give an example, Justice Smith’s character is a frail wizard who has a very low self-esteem. This causes funny interactions with certain other characters like Michelle Rodriguez’s being a strong, stoic-like character who loves charging into battles. The characters in the movie perfectly highlight some of the banter that happens when you play the board game with friends. 

The movie flawlessly highlights this aspect when a certain character makes a decision and another character has a slightly unfriendly remark or opinion in response. This causes the movie to become a banter comedy, with the characters working together but also, slightly offending each other along the way.

However, there are some downfalls in regard to this form of comedy. Some of the banter and jokes told can be off or unnecessary, and while most quips got a chuckle out of me, others had me skeptical or annoyed as they were off putting or unnecessary. 

Another aspect that this movie does right is the monsters and creatures the characters encounter on their adventure. I was treated to hidden Easter eggs of certain monsters and beasts that I encountered in the board game, but this time it was on the big screen. Seeing the characters react to and encounter Themberchaud, an overweight dragon was such a treat. It was almost as if I was seeing my friends in the characters by making remarks and jokes towards the dragon when he first appeared. 

Viewing the dragon struggling trying to attack the characters because of his weight was hilarious to see. Seeing the characters also avoiding his attacks in unique ways and working together perfectly highlighted the fun and quick decision making of Dungeons and Dragons. 

To touch on some of the behind the scenes decisions the movie made, I loved the use of practical effects of the film. John Francis Dailey, the director of the movie, released several behind the scenes looks on the making of the movie. I was surprised at the amount of use with practical effects in the making of the movie, most of the film was filmed at real world locations and old castle ruins. Even some of the creatures in the movie were practical effects. Seeing this in the movie was stunning, making the movie give off a Lord of the Rings vibe. When watching this you will feel immersed and serenaded by the environment of each scene and confrontation.

One issue I have with the movie is the pacing, the pacing of the first half of the movie seems very rushed. The movie starts off with a short backstory of our main character Agden played by Chis Pine. The back story seems too quick with very little information on the world that we are immersed in. This caused some of my family members to ask questions on some certain creatures and roles the characters played. Though, once it gets to a certain scene where the party of characters are in a graveyard the movie starts settling into an enjoyable pace. It’s more relatable to people who play board games and is overall a fun scene finally throwing us into the main plot of the story.

Dungeons & Dragons is a film that can be enjoyed by all. With many Easter eggs and hints to the board game and a decent amount of explanation for newcomers, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves deserves a good few hours of your time to watch and enjoy by yourself or with your family.