Review: The Fun but Flawed Adventure into “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves”

Review: The Fun but Flawed Adventure into “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves”

Dungeons & Dragons might be at its height of popularity right now. The game, once ridiculed by those who thought they were too cool for such activities, is now unstoppable. It’s the backdrop for the massively loved Stranger Things, big name Hollywood stars have their own game nights, and web series like Critical Role have millions of followers. So, how come the property hasn’t translated so well into the world of cinema? And does the new film (unassociated with the earlier trilogy, yes there was a trilogy) finally do a good job of bringing the game to life?

Edgin Darvis (Chris Pine) and his companion Holga Kilgore (Michelle Rodriguez) have been imprisoned for the crime of theft. Along with their clan mates, they went to rob an ancient stronghold. Mainly for the gold and riches, but Edgin had an ulterior motive. He was in search of a resurrection tablet to bring his wife back to him and his daughter. Edgin and Holga and the only ones caught though, and upon their return to the rest of the world, they find many things have changed.

Most dire though, Edgin’s daughter has been turned against him by his former clan mate Forge (Hugh Grant). Not Edgin has to gather a new group of misfits to break into the fortress holding his daughter, and win her back. Of course, there is more going on than meets the eye and these brave thieves are up for the challenge of a life time.

There is more to do with the underwhelming success of the previous attempts to bring a good D&D movie to the big screen other than tone. But Honor Among Thieves seems to prove that not taking yourself too seriously is the way to go. While players can be stressed out and overly emotional in completing a campaign at home, D&D is a game and it’s meant to be fun. Portraying the world of the game as an overly serious quest ala The Lord of the Rings deflates the purpose a bit. Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves often times feels more like the imagination of a group of gamers brought to life through movie magic.

Fun and games is one thing though, still needing a good story is another. The lighthearted nature and comedy of Honor Among Thieves masks a cliché tale that is rife with holes and inconsistencies. The villain’s grand plan is concocted as a time saver and doesn’t need to be as convoluted as it is. Setting side the fact that they show you a flashback of the same type of plan being enacted and working, but no explanation as to what came of that plan.

Not even a lazy, “and they were defeated.” Stack on an extra grand villain you only get glimpses with no clarity if they are dead or just in some other realm or a figment of someone’s imagination without revisiting it, is plain lazy. Having a good time and just buying into the fantasy is one thing, but letting it down with such a porous script is another.

The film is also hindered by an uneven balance in the effect department. Some wonderful practical creatures (I want the Cat-Race baby, now!) and well tuned digital effects are counter balanced with some awful CGI on a different scale. It’s no different than most major blockbusters these days, but the bad is terribly jarring and the good is standard for the time. Not every big name fantasy film is going to have the budget to make every inch of its special effect be perfect, but a balance is needed to keep the immersive nature of your story intact.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves isn’t a waste of money if you want to see it at the theater. There are plenty of things to love for hardcore D&Ders and those who never played the game themselves. I’m sure theaters full of fans of the game will rejoice in uproarious applause when certain “characters” that have bled into every fantasy game in the work make their appearance…but that doesn’t fully make up for the faulty pieces used to make this campaign.

Final Grade: C+

Check out more of Matthew’ articles.

Here’s the trailer of the film.

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