Review: Dungeons & Dragons – Honor Among Thieves

As a kid, Dungeons & Dragons was always what launched you into super nerd-dom. It was one thing to be into Star Wars or Lord of the Rings, but you and your friends sitting around a table rolling dice and making up scenarios was next level geek. I avoided it in high school because it meant I wouldn’t be able to get laid, even in a brick yard. Now? Nerds rule the world. I love it.

D&D hit the mainstream on 80’s Saturday morning cartoons and, even though it only lasted a few seasons, I LOVED this show. It premiered during the height of home videogaming and led me to such classics as Adventure on the Atari 2600, Dragon’s Lair in the arcades, and Final Fantasy on the NES. I suddenly developed a sweet tooth for fantasy, but nothing on the market held that team dynamic such as the D&D cartoon. We only had access to some “meh” fantasy movie offerings at that time such as the animated Hobbit/Lord of the Rings films, Dragon Slayer – A Disney film with a brief full frontal male nudity shot. Dicksney? – and… that’s about it. Fantasy was mostly meant for novels and film studios couldn’t depend on the “Mom’s Basement” crowd to take a chance on sinking money into a fantasy film. At least that’s my interpretation of it. Introverts didn’t believe in sunlight.

And then New Line Cinema decided to toss out a little foreplay to the folks awaiting Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. Damn them. Damn them all. It had a Wayans brother in it. Even Jeremy Irons couldn’t save it and he’s a total bad ass! 2000’s Dungeons & Dragons movie is painful to watch, but it was all we had at the time. In fact, it was so bad, it killed the Dungeons & Dragons name to the casual consumer for years. A year down the road, the above-mentioned Peter Jackson masterpieces began and set the bar for fantasy films from then until the end of time. Everything else with a dragon, elves, or any other type of fantasy moniker was doomed to fail. I literally laughed out loud at how crappy the trailer looked for Honor Among Thieves and believed it would be just as big of a pile of trash as the 2000 film. I’d like to take this moment to thank Chris Stuckman for pointing me in the right direction. His YouTube movie reviews are the only ones I watch. He’s a great dude, at least from my perspective, and I’m looking forward to watching his upcoming film Shelby Oaks. Check him out if you get a chance.

Here is the trailer for Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

When I first watched the above, I thought this would be yet another springtime offering of Hollywood’s movie trailer trickery. Normally, the good stuff doesn’t hit until summer, but the artists and editors lead the most ignorant among us to the theaters January – April of the year. I was dead wrong.

This film is hilarious and a lot of fun. You don’t need to know a whole lot about the tabletop game to enjoy it, yet it pays homage to the hard-core players as well in a perfect balance of fantasy and humor. The synopsis:

A charming thief and a band of unlikely adventurers embark on an epic quest to retrieve a long lost relic, but their charming adventure goes dangerously awry when they run afoul of the wrong people.

That’s all you need to know.

I won’t go into the individual talent in this film, just know that Paramount Pictures managed to mix a lot of middle of the road actors and actresses into a perfect storm of laughter, set pieces, and popcorn plot into a film I enjoyed more than any other fantasy offering since Peter Jackson’s Return of the King. Is it on as grand of a scale and will it change the way we view fantasy films? No. Was it a fun time at the movies and will I buy this film for repeated home viewings? Absolutely!

If I had to compare it to anything, this film is the fantasy equivalent to 2005’s Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. It wasn’t Star Wars, but it gave me a space fix with a lot of aloud laughter. None of the talent in that film deserved their own trading card, but the mixture of all things together made for a cult classic which will never die. I have a feeling that Honor Among Thieves will be viewed in the same way somewhere down the line. Just as long as they don’t ruin this film with a ton of useless, half assed sequels, it should be fine. I know Hollywood, though. All too well. I’m sure a D&D cinematic universe is on the way. Enjoy this film while you still can.

Again, I don’t believe in including spoilers in my reviews, but I’ll say that the best movie Easter Egg I’ve ever seen happens in a couple of “blink and you’ll miss it” moments near the end of the film. 80’s kids will damn near faint. It was worth the price of admission alone. It was nice to see dragons, castles, and sword fights in an environment other than an incestual family drama landscape. George R.R. Martin might have some problems in his mind which could require professional help.

4 out of 5 Fat Dragons


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