I saw the new D&D movie this weekend with my wife. Woohoo! Convinced her to see a nerdy action movie with me!
The movie follows the adventures of Edgan (Pine) and Hulga (Rodriguez) as they try to steal a magical tablet that can bring Edgan’s wife back from the dead. Along the way they team up with Simon (Smith) and Doric (Lillis). The film’s main emotional focus is on Edgan’s obsession with gold versus his connection to his family and friends. The movie is a mix of an adventure movie and a heist movie. The action is mixed with comedy and splashy special effects.
As you can tell from the poster, the cast list for this movie is pretty solid. Of the six main cast members, I’d say only Page and Lillis are unknowns. Bradley Cooper also had a minor role. Pine and Rodriguez are definitely typecast based off their roles in Star Trek and Fast and Furious franchises, but they’re both good at what they do. Smith and Grant provided great secondary roles. I feel like Lillis wasn’t given the chance to show off her personality and talent. Her character, Doric, is remarkable silent compared to the others.
The first and third acts of the film are very tight and well put together. The second act ranges all over the place with about a dozen different scene locations. It seems like some kind of check list the producers gave the script writer. “We need to have a dragon, and some undead, and a scene in the Underdark, and…” I followed along due to my familiarity with the source material, but I could see others having issues.
Costumes and special effects were great. References to D&D icons were all over the place. Rust monsters, mimics, displacer beasts, question limits on the speak with dead spell. All of it! The film is set in Faerun. Edgan is a member of the Harpers. The villains are the Red Wizards of Thay. Most of the action takes place around Neverwinter with a few scenes in Icewind Dale. If you like the Forgotten Realms world, then seeing all these places come to life will be a great experience.
While Honor Among Thieves has many of the trappings of a D&D movie, I feel like it’s still not quite it. I’ve always felt that to truly be a D&D movie, the script has to include the players as well as the characters inside the campaign. Honor Among Thieves is about Edgan, Hulga, Simon, and Doric, but not about the players that are roleplaying those characters. Without that part of the experience, this is really just a fantasy film sprinkled with some copyrighted material from Wizards of the Coast. For a better adaptation of the full D&D experience I think movies like The Gamers (2002) or Gamers: The Movie (2006) are better since they represent both the players as well as the characters.
So, should you see the movie? I’d say if you like adventure movies or heist movies its a good fit. A Fast and Furious trailer played before Honor Among Thieves, and I’d say the films share a lot of traits. Honor Among Thieves isn’t a stand-out representation of either genre, but its a good blend of the two. If you like D&D, but you don’t like those types of movies, I don’t actually think this is a good movie for you.