Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
MOVIE | Fantasy heist delivers captivating adventure and epic humor
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➤ Rated PG-13
Dungeons & Dragons has been around for almost 50 years, but the tabletop role-playing game has never been more popular than it is today. It’s not surprising that D&D’s parent company Hasbro would want to capitalize on its recent surge in popularity with a feature film. What is a little surprising is that Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves isn’t just a corporate cash grab. It’s actually a really good movie.
Filmmakers Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley have created a fantastic romp likely to appeal to both die-hard fans and casual moviegoers.
As in a typical game of D&D, the movie features a party of adventurers with different backgrounds who work together to complete a quest. Edgin the bard (Chris Pine) and his friend Holga the barbarian (Michelle Rodriguez) enlist a half-elven wizard of middling ability (Justice Smith) and a shape-shifting druid (Sophia Lillis) to help them rescue Edgin’s daughter from the villainous Forge (Hugh Grant). Along the way, they encounter both dungeons and dragons, and in true D&D style, they must complete a side quest or two.
Honor Among Thieves is set in D&D’s Forgotten Realms, a fantasy world partially inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Similar to Tolkien’s Middle Earth, humans, elves, halflings, and orcs inhabit the D&D world, but it also has myriad other intelligent races. Tolkien’s story took place in a low-magic fantasy world, but wizards and magical items are commonplace in the Forgotten Realms.
Hundreds of pulp fantasy novels have been set in the Forgotten Realms, but Goldstein and Daley work from an original story, deftly dropping the audience into what feels like the halfway point of a much longer adventure taking place in a fully realized world. Despite beginning in the middle of things, we immediately understand this bizarre, yet relatable, land of magic and mayhem.
The action scenes showcase solid choreography with special effects that support the story rather than distract from it. Too often the high-fantasy genre indulges in self-importance striving for epic status. The fate of the universe always hangs in the balance in an eternal struggle between the forces of good and evil. The stakes in Honor Among Thieves are high, but they’re not that high.
This film doesn’t aim for epic status. At its core, it’s a heist movie, albeit a magical heist—more akin to Ocean’s Eleven than Lord of the Rings. Edgin must assemble a team, make a plan, and break into a fortress. The heist’s execution is both inventive and delightful.
Goldstein and Daley also made the wise choice of abandoning the fantasy genre’s serious tendencies and doubling down on the humor. Chris Pine shows off his comic chops, and Michelle Rodriguez plays an excellent straight man. The film might not be an epic, but it’s epically funny.
Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films by gross earnings
- The Return of the King / 2003
- The Two Towers / 2002
- The Fellowship of the Ring / 2001
- An Unexpected Journey / 2012
- The Desolation of Smaug / 2013
- The Battle of the Five Armies / 2014
Source: Box Office Mojo
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