EVER since its initial announcement, Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves has received a great deal of attention from fans of the classic table-top game.
It is also the first D&D film to be released in theatres in nearly two decades, following a disastrous 2000 film starring Justin Whalin and Jeremy Irons.
Directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves takes viewers on an exhilarating adventure as they follow a group of people on an epic journey to retrieve an artefact and save a little girl. Along the way, they encounter enemies, allies, monsters, and chaos, resulting in a classic D&D campaign.
The Paramount Picture film includes the traditional components of fantasy movies, including gripping battle scenes, exhilarating action, and compelling characters, making it the perfect movie for viewers of all ages. Whether you are an avid fan of the D&D board game, or know very little about it, you can still enjoy the film.
The plot and storyline of the film are also quite simple to grasp. Even if you’re a newcomer who thinks it’s just about being trapped in a dungeon and fighting dragons, this film delivers much more than that.
It’s as if you were a member of the party, travelling from one place to another in pursuit of a quest.
The cast members were clearly having a good time playing their D&D character and matched their role perfectly. Chris Pine and Michelle Rodriguez play Edgin Darvis and Holga, criminal partners and hapless thieves on a desperate journey.
The two are joined by characters played by Justice Smith, Sophia Lillis, Rege-Jean Page, and Hugh Grant.
Pine’s portrayal of Edgin – a lute-strumming man with no superpowers or combat abilities but who is the mastermind of the team, whose plans sometimes require a few iterations, and only exists for hilarity – works extremely well and proves he is an excellent choice for the film’s lead hero.
He plays Edgin as a man full of charisma and enthusiasm for the entire journey. Despite having a bad past, he never fails to motivate the other members of the team.
Alongside him, Michelle Rodriguez’s axe-wielding warrior Holga fights against multiple guys. Rodriguez depicts a really strong barbarian, and her fight sequences are terrific.
They both also have good ‘friend chemistry’. Every single scene with the two of them brings on the fun. Their contrasting personalities lead to a heartwarming friendship that is impossible not to root for, and I’d like to see these two actors work together on screen again in the future.
Then there’s also the Bridgerton star, Regé-Jean Page who steals the show as the prophetically eye-rolling paladin Xenk. He plays a serious character surrounded by silly people and is definitely a great addition to the action, demonstrating his sword-fighting prowess with the Red Wizards of Thay.
Als , Hugh Grant should play more villains after his brilliant work in Paddington 2 and Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre. The actor is especially charismatic in a role where he can portray the very definition of a smooth criminal with a little smug humour, and Daisy Head adds appropriate menace as a dark wizard.
Let’s not forget Justice Smith’s Simon and Sophia Lillis’ Doric bring an amusing pair to the screen: a self-doubting sorcerer and a straight-faced druid.
Despite their differences, the two form an unlikely partnership, with a common goal to strive until the end.
For Honor Among Thieves, John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein really focused on the humorous entertainment, which makes the tale more engaging and not just boring history, which is welcome, given that it runs 134 minutes.
The action sequences are expertly choreographed; there are no shakycam or cheap quick cuts that would cause the audience to lose their composure.
The film was shot in Iceland and Northern Ireland, and that’s where the cinematography really shines when it captures the breathtaking hillside landscapes.
The only drawbacks to the film are the lack of screentime given to Page’s Xenk and Lillis’ Doric. Xenk only appears in a few crucial scenes, which leaves us wanting more; and Doric, who despite possessing the strongest abilities among the characters, occasionally feels as though her character’s backstory isn’t really revealed and that her scenes were lacking.
Regardless, this D&D film is a lot more fun than I expected. Even though it had its flaws, the stellar cast and endearing script elevated it to one of the brightest surprises of the 2023 movie lineup.
It does a decent enough job of creating a fantasy world that could be explored again in a sequel.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves will hit theatres on March 30.
Cast: Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Regé-Jean Page, Justice Smith, Sophia Lillis, Hugh Grant
Director: John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein