In terms of high fantasy movies, generally there’s only a handful of successful movies of this genre that springs to mind. Lord of the Rings being the biggest elephant in the room. Well, this isn’t that type of Fantasy. I dare to say, it might be slightly better?
Directed by self-proclaimed dungeons and dragon’s enthusiast’s John Francis Daly & Jonathon Goldstein comes Honour amongst Thieves. An adventure epic followed by Michelle Rodriguez’s Barbarian and Chris Pine’s Bard that takes us through familiar territories well versed DnD players will recognise. Rounding out a stacked and youthful cast are Hugh Grant, Justice Smith, Sophia Lillis and Rege- Jean Page as a Thief, a Half Elf, Druid and Paladin respectively. Yes, it really does stay true to the source material.
The film did an excellent job of balancing fantastical elements with story progression and what might seem like beat for beat plot points are made more fun and bearable by the chemistry between the characters whereby it actually looked like they were having fun. At no point during the 2 hours and 14 minutes does it feel like you are doing a chore. Chris Pine and Michelle Rodriguez drag you along your seats as if you are riding alongside them.
The comedic presence is thick from the first minute. The movie is littered with scenes where each character shows off a little of their comedic chops. From Justice Smith’s Half Elf Druid having magical dysfunction to Michelle Rodriguez stealing the limelight playing the straight (wo)man and Hugh Grant well playing a fantasy version of Hugh Grant. It’s comedy gold.
Not everything is well in the land of fairies and giant eagles however, as with most connected IP these days, everything is being made for the next thing. DnD suffers from this in that if you haven’t played this in your momma’s basement or swash buckled your dragon through your friends dungeon, or something like that, then some references would fly over your head as quick as that one scene with a dragon.
The film introduces the antagonists in the red wizards but fails to build upon motives or history. In a nutshell, they are bad because they are bad! With a DnD tv series bound for Paramount + in the near distant future one can only sense that the producers were tasked with reigning in some rich backstory to be explored later on.
Overall, DnD : Honour amongst Thieves is a testament to being faithful to one’s decades long rich vein of history and having fun with it. It’s a movie about family, for the family and like family, we can overlook the imperfections because we love it and want to see what the future holds. While it may not be a Lord of The Rings, It sure is different.
Bring on the TV series!
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