|Title:||Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Amongst Thieves|
|Director:||John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein|
Other Movies Seen By This Director (1)
- Game Night
|05.03.23||Internet|| I watched the D&D movie!|
I think I've mentioned several times on here that after many dormant years my D&D itch started up again about ten years or so ago. For a while I tried to scratch it a couple different ways (mostly with play-by-email games that became long writing projects) but eventually started playing again with co-workers about six years ago and started a home game in 2020 with college friends thanks to the pandemic. For several years in my youth, my high school friend group had a regular game for years that I really enjoyed. Looking back, I count myself lucky that the friends I found back then were on the cool side but also rather gamed than drank or did drugs for a hobby. We weren't really as nerdy as the kids sitting around the table in Freaks and Geeks, but we definitely played in the same way. Of course, there were a couple odd things... the guy who mainly ran games was in college so we'd play with his roomate sometimes which I think is mostly ok, but there was also a full-on adult who sometimes came by to play para-military games like Twilight 2000. That's... pretty odd. Nothing untoward happened or anything like that, but I'd feel pretty weird playing with high school kids now. Of course, there was not a female in sight in my main group, although someone's girlfriend played in the cooler, more goth Call of Cthulhu game that another friend ran. But I digress.
So through the years I've always wanted some kind of cinematic representation of the cool art and imagination-fueled stories that filled my mind during those years. I remember we got a VHS-assisted boardgame at one point with like 15 minutes of piss-poor video sequences that were supposed to be triggered by the game (There was a wave of these during the fad, which eventually morphed into the SceneIt series in the DVD era, and now I guess lives in Jackbox games). Even attempting such humble things as sneaking past a guard or scaling a wall looked laughably terrible. All the 80s and 90s fantasy movies were also mostly low-budget trash. The Conan movies were good but it was a slightly different fantasy and the effects were minimal. Really, we just had one movie that felt like it got close to what we were imagining in our heads and that was Dragonslayer. Really just the one or two scenes featuring the Dragon; the rest of the movie wasn't great. Dragonheart came out once CGI was a thing but once again we got a shit-poor movie. The first official D&D film is now notorious for how crap it is. That was just the way until Lord of the Rings came along. Game of Thrones as well, but you can't mention that show without cringing at the end.
And finally we have this movie which I think is actually good. I liked it quite a bit!
There are a bunch of IP-related references and easter eggs which nerds like me appreciate. Stuff like the Axe Beaks and the locations, more exotic player races, actually seeing game-specific spells in use. All that stuff is exactly what I wanted to see in an officially-licensed D&D movie which is fantastic. Just with that stuff, the story and performances could've been completely mediocre and I still would have enjoyed myself but really I think this would be a good movie even without the Wizards of the Coast IP. I didn't find any character annoying at all. They all played their classes really well I thought! I think it comes through that the writer/directors have actually played the game.
And how perfect is it that one of the co-writer/directors WAS Sam in Freaks and Geeks!? I love how his career has developed.
So... I can see how some hardcore game nerds would complain about the movie not being 100% rules-as-written, but these people don't know the pain of waiting 30 years for something like this. Who gives a shit if the druid can't wildshape into an owlbear in the game? Or wildshape six times in a row. Those scenes are cool as shit and really they should be complaining about the game not letting them do that instead of the movie "making stuff up."
So yeah, I thought this was good and had a great time with it. It nails the tone of playing the game very well, showcases a lot of what's cool about it, and has the luxury of directly representing a lot of iconic stuff from the brand. I'd be watching this on repeat if it came out in 1994.