my Movie

Movie Details

Title:   Eye of the Beholder: The Art of Dungeons and Dragons
Director:   Kelley Slagle, Brian Stillman
Year:   2019
Genre:   Documentary
Times Seen:   1
Last Seen:   11.14.21

Other Movies Seen By This Director (0)

Notes History
Date Viewed Venue Note
11.14.21Internet This is a kickstarter doc about the art of DnD throughout the years and editions. I didn't know it existed until I was browsing Amazon Prime's videos last night, which is a shame because I probably would've pledged. I did in fact pledge one history-of-dnd doc that never got made so I'm glad the state of the hobby is now popular enough to actually get stuff like this made.

So I guess it's been over the past 8-10 years now that this interest in Dnd has re-emerged. I'm at the point now where i'm running 2 games, play almost every week, and have a shelf full of books to go along with a directory full of pdfs from which to draw inspiration. They came out with a history book a few years ago which represents a lot of the artwork discussed in this film, but it's still pretty cool to see interviews with many of the original staff and freelance artists that created the stuff that fueled my imagination through highschool and continues to do so now.

Of course, this doc had one criteria for me that it lives or dies on, that being mention of Brom's artwork in the Dark Sun campaign setting which most prominently sticks in my memory as being a huge driver for what I loved back then. It got maybe a minute in here, but it did get mentioned and they did interview Brom so that checkbox is marked. The largest chunk of the movie seems to involve this core 4 artists that came on in the AD&D 1E days - really when TSR moved from the more basic stuff of the early days to full color paintings for their cover art - which I can't disagree with since so much of that stuff defined what most people think of when they hear the term 'fantasy art.' It's funny to learn that a lot of the chainmail bikini tropes that people looks down on today mostly came from one dude who liked painting sexy women. It kind of reminded me of some random TCM documentary I saw a long time ago about this one movie poster painter who liked painting women who's underwear just happened to fall down around their ankles while they were out grocery shopping or crossing the street or whatever. I guess sometimes the artist is also a perv and you gotta tell him "hey this is a screwball comedy so keep Katherine Hepburn's panties on" but in the case of DnD back then, when most of the audience was pre-teen and teenage boys, eh... so be it! She has "magical" armor in addition to that chainmail bikini! Yeah, that's the ticket! As one of those teenage boys back then, you can't tell me the DnD stuff was any worse than what was going on with comics like the X-Men (Psylocke... whew!), but it's cool that they brought it up (even though Satine Phoenix's personal opinion on the matter may not reflect most women or most people's today).

So yeah... while this did have that feel of a lower budget kickstarter vibe (most notably with the music), I also thought they interviewed the right people, told a coherent story, and most importantly showed a lot of the artwork that people were discussing. So you get that showcase of what's so cool about it, but also the nerd deep dive that one would expect with this specific of a subject matter. I liked it.
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