By Samuel M Acosta
As a newly minted but incredibly dedicated Dungeons and Dragons fan, I was both excited and scared for this movie. While movies based on games have had a rough history, in recent times they have been achieving higher levels of quality, but not enough to create a consistent pattern. So I knew this movie would either be incredible or absolutely awful. Well, I am proud to report that “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” is an amazing movie worth seeing in the theaters.
“Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” follows Edgin (Chris Pine) and Holga (Michelle Rodriguez) as they escape prison in an attempt to reunite with Edgin’s daughter, whom they were separated from when they went to prison for a job gone wrong. They find that she is staying with a member of their criminal crew, Forge (Hugh Grant), who is now the Lord of Neverwinter. It is discovered that Forge was the reason that Edgin and Holga were caught and is working with an evil sorceress trying to create an undead army. Now the pair must form a new group in order to save the world from this new danger.
First off, the cast here is fantastic and makes each of the characters come to life in a way that makes it very easy to invest. Stars such as Chris Pine, Michelle Rodrigeuz, Hugh Grant, Sophia Lillis, Justice Smith, Rege-Jean Page and Daisy Head create a dynamic core of protagonists and antagonists that bring the fantasy world to life. I don’t think there are any weak links in the acting and truly did enjoy every performance.
Before I go into some of the details of what I loved about this movie, I do have to first address a common complaint that I think has a valid argument. While this movie is titled a Dungeons and Dragons movie, it isn’t explicitly so. There is no meta-moment, like many fans wanted, of people crowded around a table playing the story out. For those who don’t have knowledge of DND lore, this just seems like a fantasy movie.
Despite this, however, the film is incredible and pays subtle homage to the beloved franchise. The chaotic nature of the plot is incredibly reminiscent of what an actual campaign feels like. It may seem a little jarring at first, but the randomness has a charm that becomes endearing as time goes on. There are also subtle references to classes and abilities that, while not explicitly named, are clearly present. Plus, many DND factions, such as The Harpers, make appearances in the story.
This movie also nails its comedic elements in a way I did not expect. I don’t think much of modern comedy, but “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” has such a perfect blend of stupid and witty that I found myself cracking up at almost every single joke. I think this was enhanced by the charm of Chris Pine, who brought a large majority of the laughs. While it may not be the cleverest comedy out there, it is exactly what the film calls for, which is what made me love it so much.
The action is also just ridiculous fun as well. The completely unrealistic combat exhibits moves that real Dungeons and Dragons players would attempt. Plus, each character acts in a fight in the way their classes are intended to. Holga, as a barbarian, dives right into the fray and takes on anyone who was near. Doric, as a druid, uses her wild shape ability often to turn into an owlbear that could devour opponents. Then you had Edgin, a bard, with no real combat skill, who simply runs, hides, or attacks out of complete necessity. It feels true to the spirit of the game and creates enjoyable action scenes.
The story, while chaotic, has feel-good tones that have you leaving the theater with a smile. It is predictable, to be sure, but not in a distracting way. The concept of “found family” is pretty evident and helps motivate me to cheer for the heroes to defeat the villain. The genuine character relationships layer on top of the ridiculously over-the-top plot to create a wonderful blend of cheesy and serious that all Dungeons and Dragons players are very familiar with.
Overall, I love this movie. While it might not have been as explicitly themed as I would’ve liked, it dedicates itself to radiating the spirit of the game. It is true to the chaos that those of us who love Dungeons and Dragons are familiar with, while also adding its own spin and taste to the world. I definitely recommend this movie to all fans of fantasy movies and especially to players of the game.
I give “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” an 8/10
“Dungeon and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” is now playing in theaters
Samuel M Acosta is a Senior Theatre Comprehensive Major and an Arts and Entertainment writer for Cedars. He likes spending his time watching movies, drinking Dr. Pepper and writing plays.