Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

‘Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Amongst Thieves’ manages to perfectly convey the magic of Dungeons and Dragons on the big screen

A hilarious and faithful adaptation of D&D filled with magic, monsters and adventure
Image courtesy of IMDB.

Directed by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Amongst Thieves” sets out on the almost impossible task of capturing the adventure, creativity and improvisation that goes into a D&D campaign. They accomplish this with flying colors, delivering an enthralling adventure chock full of funny, heartwarming and epic moments.

The film stars Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Justice Smith and Sophia Lillis as the main party, playing the roles of the Bard Edgin, the Barbarian Holga, the Sorcerer Simon and the Druid Doric, respectively. We follow this party as they embark on a quest to take down Forge, the Lord of Neverwinter, portrayed by Hugh Grant and his advisor Sofina, a Red Wizard, played by Daisy Head. Justice Smith and Sophia Lillis particularly shine in their roles, delivering hilarious and charming performances.

The group goes through many side missions, encountering an interesting cast of characters and monsters in typical D&D fashion. They travel to villages and settlements, explore a dungeon filled with traps and execute a very improvised yet extremely creative heist. In one particular sub-plot, the party goes to a graveyard to get information from the dead, resulting in one of the movie’s funniest moments.

Goldstein and Daley deliver some of the best action sequences I’ve ever seen in a high fantasy movie. The fight choreography is outstanding, and the camerawork was perfectly done to encapsulate the audience’s attention to these characters. Each character gets their own moment to uniquely showcase their class abilities. The best of these is Doric’s infiltration into Forge’s castle and subsequent escape, where she shows off her ability to Wild Shape into a variety of different animals.

The greatest thing to come out of this movie by far is Regé-Jean Page’s performance as Paladin Xenk Yendar, who aids the main party’s quest to take down Forge. Xenk’s character is introduced to the audience as a legendary hero who spends his time aiding those who need him. From the beginning, every one of Xenk’s lines is completely hilarious, as it seems that the character himself is putting on a performance, delivering every line as if he was a character from “The Lord of the Rings” in a world that is much less stoic than Middle-Earth. The character never makes eye contact with the main characters and walks in what feels like a scripted manner, which is all made even more funny when you realize that this character was meant to be an NPC the entire time.

The final act of the movie delivers on the conclusion of the questline that was hyped up since the beginning of the film. Our main characters plan a heist into the vault containing Forge’s fortune and other treasures. Like any improvised D&D plan, they come up with a simple, yet genius plan to infiltrate the castle using a portal gun-like staff. The subsequent heist is thrilling and fun, filled to the brim with in-game references and frustrating setbacks typical to any heist movie. Our cast is captured by Forge’s forces and thrown into the on-going High Sun Games where they must survive against monsters and traps pulled straight from the D&D Monster Manual.

The final boss fight of the movie against the powerful Red Wizard Sofina is everything a live-action D&D fight should be. Audience members familiar with the game will recognize the subtle ways in which the characters follow the game’s mechanics, yet people who haven’t played the game are not excluded from the fun. It is an awesome fight overall with amazing CGI magic effects mixed in with stellar practical ones.

“Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Amongst Thieves” is a must-watch whether you are a fan of high fantasy, a D&D player or just someone looking for a great time at the movies. The film is perfect in being faithful to the tabletop RPG it’s based on, yet it does not alienate anyone with its mechanics.

Gustavo Atencio Flores can be reached at [email protected].

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