The review of Dungeons & Dragons: Honor among thieves, the film that adapts the popular RPG and its world for the big screen, with Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Sophia Lillis and Hugh Grant. In theaters from 29 March 2023.
It will seem strange to you, but we have been preparing thirty years for this review of Dungeons & Dragons: Thieves’ Honor, because we have been dedicating ourselves to the popular RPG launched in the 70s for all this time, with more or less sustained attention, but never absent. As with many role players, Dungeons & Dragons it was the first approach, the first love, before experimenting and dedicating ourselves to something else, and seeing it translated for the big screen in a film that he could render its spirit has long been a dream that we feared not to see realised. Luckily we were proved wrong by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, who had already intrigued us in Lucca and confirmed how good their approach to that world is.
A simple but effective plot
It doesn’t have a complex history Dungeons & Dragons: Thieves’ Honor, but it is well suited to constructing the kind of film the directors had in mind. We start in prison, a suggestive prison in the Cold Wind Valley, where we meet two of the protagonists, the bard Edgin Darvis, a former member of the Harpers, and Holga Kilgore, whom the writing effectively presents to us, allowing us to immediately fire their features. Needless to say, the two won’t be locked up for long as they begin their journey to reunite with Edgin’s daughter and find an artifact capable of bringing his wife back to life. A dual enterprise that will lead them to contend with Forge, a con man, their old ally, who has obtained the noble rank in the city of Neverwinter and is now in cahoots with the dangerous Red Mage Sofina.
A splendid party of (anti)heroes
If we have praised the writing that manages to outline the characters of Edgin and Holga with a single scene, the same is true for the acting rehearsals of Chris Pine e Michelle Rodriguez that bring them to the screen. The two immediately create a close-knit and well-blended couple, for a party that is composed in a complete way with the subsequent addition of Sophia Lillis’ Doric and Justice Smigh’s Simon: the four are the perfect on-screen translation of a party of ( anti)heroes and create the right dynamics to make the approach to the world of Dungeons & Dragons that the two directors have chosen for their adaptation, perhaps the only one possible to convince and involve longtime players.
A good cast, therefore, which is completed by supporting actors of absolute thickness: one cannot in fact overlook a name like Hugh Grant as the antagonist Forge, to whom he gives the right shades of slimy and opportunistic con man, accompanied perfectly by the mysterious Sofina of Daisy Head. But he deserves a special mention the champion Xenk of a priceless René-Jean Page, who not only proves to be perfectly in part, but also gives the feeling that he had a lot of fun playing this role.
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The magic of the gaming table
The cast is a non-negligible strength of Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, because it is on the characters that the authors have built the dynamics necessary to reproduce that unique magic that is created around the gaming table, when we are the players passionate about bringing the action to life. And we can think of at least a couple of sequences in which the dialogues, comic timing and situations proudly wink at the gaming experience that we all (and we bet the directors too) have lived with our adventure companions.
For this reason we can safely overlook the not always top-level visual effects or some more hurried passages: if the characters work, if we believe in their interactions and let ourselves be involved in their (mis)adventures, then the film can be considered successful in entertaining , entertain and demonstrate how much Dungeons & Dragons may still be alive and full of narrative opportunities fifty years after its birth. With or without dice to decree the success of the businesses that are told.
Irony, adventure and the strength of the group of protagonists make the adaptation of the popular RPG that we told you about in the review of Dungeons & Dragons: Honor among Thieves a success. The two directors Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley have found the right approach to bring to the screen that world so loved by gamers for fifty years by focusing on the group of adventurers and the dynamics between them, effectively translating that splendid alchemy that is created around a table, dice in hand. Thanks also to the cast, which has embraced this spirit and has carefully outlined the respective characters, in perfect balance between irony and lightness on the one hand and epic fantasy on the other.
Because we like it
- The approach of the two directors, perfect for rendering the atmosphere created by engaging in the role-playing game.
- The cast that has embraced this spirit by giving the right appeal to each of the protagonists of the story.
- The balance between irony and epic, between lightness and adventure, perfect for involving both spectators who already loved the game and those who will discover it thanks to this film.
- The visual effects are functional to the storytelling and the creation of the world of the story…
- … but suffer from lack of homogeneity and some decline in quality.
- Less suitable for those who prefer more epic and serious dynamics to bring fantasy to the screen.