Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves Review

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves opens in theaters March 31, 2023.

Even if you’ve never rolled a 20-sided die, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is a fun, fully accessible fantasy adventure that delves into the spectacle and silliness of D&D campaigns. Sure, there are plenty of jokes and easter eggs to delight hardcore roleplayers, but they’re never in danger of losing any newcomers. It’s a film rich with imaginative quests and colorful characters, and together they bring the realms of Baldur’s Gate to Icewind Dale to life – like a softer, family-friendly version of the excellent animated series The Legend of Vox Machina.

The cast is very clearly having fun playing familiar character types you’d choose from at the start of any home D&D campaign – in this case, a heist-like quest to save a kidnapped girl from the clutches of an overlord. traitor. Chris Pine shines brightest as wise Edgin, a lute-playing man with all the shots — shots that usually require a few iterations, adding more humor as he improvises on the fly. Michelle Rodriguez is herself typically badass as the axe-swinging warrior Holga, and Regé-Jean Page steals scenes as the virtuous paladin Xenk, who speaks in mind-blowing prophecies. Everyone – including Justice Smith and Sophia Lillis, respectively playing a not-so-supreme wizard and a straight-faced druid who doesn’t trust humans – fall into the groove as unexpected teammates with a common goal and personalities. contrasting.

Writers and directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein focus on lighthearted entertainment that elevates Honor Among Thieves above cumbersome lore. Sprawling maps with unrecognizable territory names tease the grand universe where the story (co-written by Michael Gilio) takes place, but the actual essential information is easy to digest. As the Red Wizards corrupt less powerful innocents or the party of heroes must explore underground to search for hidden artifacts with special abilities, the spectacular nature of lava lakes or battlefields where the rain of balls of fire immediately attracts attention. There’s never a moment when all the fantasy world building becomes overwhelming, because we’re only told what’s necessary.

Honor Among Thieves is a visual feast of fantastic landscapes.

Honor Among Thieves is a visual feast of fantastical landscapes, from lush treetop villages where woodland dwellers reside to quaint towns that resemble architecture with favorable comparisons to The Shire in The Lord of the Rings. There’s fantastic hands-on costume work that showcases dragon-human hybrids and furry tigers, and a graveyard scene oozes Sam Raimi’s dark humor (think Army of Darkness) where corpses – in a top-notch zombie makeup – come to life to get asked questions by Pine’s impatient. business. There are also plenty of digital effects that produce adorably chubby dragons and all sorts of fantastical races made of different hybrid species with scales, fur or gills. A few choice sequences feature floating orbs or other less compelling animated objects, but those tougher moments far outnumber all the visual effects magic.

The two biggest issues with Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves are its length and the way all of the best moments rest on the shoulders of just two of the main characters. While Daley and Goldstein are able to find cheeky humor in poking fun at dungeon masters who complicate puzzles or do obscenely absurd challenges, running over two hours leaves too much time for comedy that can fall flat. And while there’s plenty of room for an all-time cameo as Holga visits her ex-boyfriend, and Hugh Grant chews up the dialogue as a dastardly overlord, serving as a splendid main antagonist (although that is a bit more complicated than that) Honor among thieves is never better than when Pine and Page take control. When they step back, the energy drops, and what is otherwise an exuberant castle crash becomes a more mundane series of sword-and-shield clashes.

Running over two hours leaves too much time for comedy which can fall flat.

That said, Pine and Page are so charming as medieval bards and soldiers that Honor’s lulls among thieves seem less disruptive. Be prepared for some well-deserved belly laughs scattered between Pine’s likeness used as a distraction or Page’s hatred for the irony. Not to downplay the action sequences where Lillis’ druid transforms into an owl bear head-butting or Smith’s wizard throws gusts of wind from his hands, which are thrilling moments. Daley and Goldsmith just put the comedy front and center in most cases – they’re the filmmakers behind the hilarious comedy Game Night, and they make sure we don’t forget.

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