DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: HONOUR AMONG THIEVES

★★★

ALMOST A NATURAL 20

THEATRICAL REVIEW
By Chris Dos Santos
22nd March 2023

'Dungeons & Dragons' or 'D&D' is a role-playing game that got its start back in 1974. While there are official books with campaigns to play in, the appeal of 'D&D' is that you can be anyone, go anywhere and embark on quests and adventures. Yes, I know there is more to it than that, but on a basic level that is 'D&D' in a very brief overview. Heavily inspired by 'The Lord of the Rings', the fantasy game has really taken off in recent years, with the books being able to be purchased everywhere from Zing to JB Hi-Fi; 'D&D' has hit the mainstream. While an animated series ran for three seasons in 80s and a trilogy of films was released in the early 2000s, it didn't quite hit the masses the way Paramount is hoping to with their new hopeful franchise starter 'Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves'.

Taking inspiration for a few of the 'D&D' books, the film adaption follows bard Edgin (Chris Pine, 'Don't Worry Darling', 'Wonder Woman 1984') and barbarian Holga (Michelle Rodriguez, 'F9', 'Widows') as they enlist paladin Xenk (Regé-Jean Page, 'The Grey Man', Netflix's 'Bridgerton'), druid Doric (Sophia Lillis, 'It', 'Gretel & Hansel') and a sorcerer Simon (Justice Smith, 'Jurassic World: Dominion', 'Pokémon Detective Pikachu') to take on the Red Wizard (Daisy Head, 'Wrong Turn', Netflix's 'Shadow and Bone'), who plans to capture the town for their own control. The team face are set out on a quest where are meet dragons, gelatinous cubes and talking corpses all in the hopes to save the day.

SWITCH: 'DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS: HONOUR AMONG THIEVES' TRAILER 3

'Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves' is a nice, fresh franchise in the current cinematic landscape. It has a very funny adventure with a great cast of characters. It's not groundbreaking, but compared to its competition it's a really fun blockbuster sure to stratify the popcorn film crowd.

The film does suffer a little due to both trying to go for mass appeal while not losing the 'D&D' fanbase. It tries not to showcase too much classic 'D&D' lore but also struggles to invite non-players in. It also overstays its welcome and could do with some trimming to really make it soar, but there is no denying that it's a fun flick and both fans and those not in the know will get enjoyment out of this. As someone who knows little of the 'D&D' lore, most coming from friends who play and listen to 'Critical Role' (yes there are cameos from the famous team), the film came across as fine and I could understand the more lore-heavy moments while getting wrapped up in the fun adventure.

It has a very funny adventure with a great cast of characters. It's not groundbreaking, but compared to its competition it's a really fun blockbuster sure to stratify the popcorn film crowd.

The film also has that awful trend of adding in voice actors for specific international releases. Here in Australia a set of corpses are voiced by Aunty Donna who I adore, but it just feels off here more than in other cases. The comedy trio are trying to do voices, but because they are real physical corpses it doesn't work as well as when done in animation, since it's very noticeable.

'Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves' is a successful franchise starter - it has fun action, a ridiculously charismatic cast, and is an engaging adventure. In the current cinematic landscape, it's nice to have a new franchise standout and while it would be nice to get something that's not based on an existing property to become a tentpole film, brand name recognition is all that's getting greenlit right now. If you're in the need for a fun night out, then look no further.

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