Dungeons & Dragons.
Commonly referred to as ‘DnD’, is a tabletop role-playing game. One that I have never had the opportunity to play. I have seen it at conventions and even live streamed online. Whilst there has been a screen adaptation of the gaming genre before, I have never seen them before. That is, until now with the reboot of the Dungeons & Dragons film franchise with, Honour Among Thieves.
Co-Directed and co-written by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, with its original story by Chris McKay and Michael Gillio, Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves is a fantasy comedy heist film. Three of my favourite genres rolled into one neat little package! After seeing a singular teaser trailer a couple of months ago, I was excited for this film’s release. However, with the original three films receiving terrible reviews, can this reboot redeem the franchise? I think, ‘yes’!
Starring Chris Pine as Edgin Darvis, a once honourable man that became a thief and allied himself with a band of individuals completely with various abilities to help him steal from those in great power. However, when a heist goes horribly wrong, Darvis finds himself needing to not only save the ones he cares about the most, but also save the entire realm from destruction.
With the barbarian Holga Kilgore (Michelle Rodriguez), sorcerer Simon Aumar (Justice Smith), and druid Doric (Sophia Lillis), the band of unlikely heroes must devise a plan to defeat evil. We are also introduced to Xenk Yendar (Regé-Jean Page), a paladin that the group encounters during their travels.
Even though I have never played the tabletop game before, this film still had introduction to the lore of Dungeons & Dragons enough to ensure a fresh audience doesn’t get lost. At no point was I confused as to what has happening or what each character was capable of. The film is also perfectly paced without getting bogged down into the backstory of how these characters came to be.
Having attended the screening with a couple of friends that have played DnD before, it was clear to me that a lot of thought went into the film’s writing. When playing the tabletop game, typically, the players would openly discuss what path to take or plan to enact to achieve victory. Sometimes their plans do not always play out how they would have hoped, or they would find themselves having to devise a new plan, or simply think on your feet and wing it and hope for the best. The writers included all of this in the plot. There is also plenty of gameplay style humour that, whilst at times was subtle, was extremely funny.
The visuals of this film are stunning! The wide variety of beautifully filmed assist the audience in building an image of the realm in their minds. Much the way a Dungeon Master would at a tabletop game. Add to that the detail in the villages, the grandeur of the castle and the incredible costuming and makeup, and I really felt like I was living amongst the characters of this film.
Nothing felt out of place or over the top. The whole creative team perfectly captured the essence of what I would expect a DnD realm to be like. Not to mention, the action sequences of this film are absolutely incredible. Everything together makes for one hell of a film.
There are two main antagonists, and whilst I cannot go into much about them, I did enjoy and relished in Hugh Grant’s performance as a villain. Playing the persona of a conman, he was perfectly charming and devious as Forge Fitzwilliam. Putting his famous smile on the face of a villain was quite the sight to behold.
It is hard to pick out a singular performance amongst the heroes, sorry, thieves of this film. Each has their own defining moment that is pivotal to their characters’ development and overall success of their mission. I don’t think any one of them outshone the other and I think this is due to the cast working so well together on screen.
Justice Smith is fantastic as the sorcerer that is unsure of his own abilities. I felt his anxiety and self-doubt as he felt the burden of his responsibilities. Sophia Lillis is great as the shape-shifting druid. Michelle Rodriguez is awesome and hilarious as Holga Kilgore. That classic Rodriguez death stare is in full force, but we also get to see the fun side of her acting with a bit more heart in her character.
And of course, Chris Pine as Edgin Darvis, a character that is not necessarily physically strong, but one that is determined to never give up with a subtle humour that made his character likable and enjoyable. Let’s be honest though, I am yet to see a film with Chris Pine that I have not loved. Arguably the most superior Chris in Hollywood.
I enjoyed this film so much, I wouldn’t mind seeing it again. Just don’t wait for streaming, because the action sequences in this film deserve to be seen on the big screen.
There is so much to love about Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves for both the uninitiated and DnD fans alike. The visuals, the action, the humour, the costuming, even the music made for a thoroughly enjoyable film. I really hope this is the start of a much larger franchise, because with this genre, the possibilities are almost endless. So, roll the die and give this film a chance.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves is in cinemas now.