Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

Any Role-Playing Game is an opportunity to walk vicariously in your alter ego’s shoes. (Heck, you can even tailor-make those shoes!) Whether played with dice on a tabletop or through a video game campaign, the RPG is an extension of self—your noblest or darkest self.

Created in the early 70s, revived by Stranger Things pop culture, and glorified by unathletic Americans who wear flannel and smell of patchouli oil, Dungeons & Dragons is perfect fodder for a movie.

Before seeing Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, I wondered if the filmmakers would take the Jumanji approach in which regular joe humans gather around a gameboard to be cinematically transformed into their player characters with adaptive power traits. Wisely, Directors Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley (Vacation, Game Night) go against the predictable grain and simply throw their audience and protagonists in a chapter of DnD lore that feels as if it has existed before.

The results are outrageously fun with less MCU Mad Libs fill-in and more scrappy charm geeky gamers know best.

We follow a bard thief named Edgin (Chris Pine) who must form a team to rescue his estranged daughter (Chloe Coleman) from infamous con artist, Forge Fitzwilliam’s (Hugh Grant). Edgin partners up with Holga, the barbarian (Michelle Rodriguez), a shapeshifting druid (Sophia Lillis), an insecure sorcerer (Justice Smith), and a paladin who only walks in straight lines (Jean Page).

Yes, there is a typical underworld, an impenetrable vault, and a plethora of magical spells to conjure, but there’s also a dragon that can barely walk over its pudgy belly. There’s that incredible scene when the shapeshifter alters from fly to rat to hawk to cat to deer in one of the most exciting, CGI-justified sequences I have ever seen. There’s also Chris Pine performing hilarious ditties on his lute.

Pine is the comedic glue that keeps the laughs flowing amid the action with his under the breath glib (a la Jason Bateman in Arrested Development). Most impressive is the use of pyrotechnics, animatronics, and on-location shooting. Finally, we have a special effects movie that doesn’t rely so heavily on the chroma key screen.

This is a fantasy adventure that needs to be evaluated as a fantasy adventure, and if you enjoyed Princess Bride, Willow, and The Lord of the Rings, you will understand why I bring them up.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is meant for the IMAX theatre at least two times (with fellow patrons who wear flannel and smell of patchouli oil).

**** out of *****

8 thoughts on “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

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  1. Nice to see this post! A good, better than standard spring blockbuster, and with a trace of Princess Bride wit. And good spot; that shapeshifter scene was great, I’d completely forgotten about it with so much else going on…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Always good to hear from you! When my daughters finally learn how to sleep, I look forward to seeing more movies. I miss that dark sanctuary, haha! I agree – this was a pleasant surprise for me, and I look forward to seeing it again. I hope all is well. England is still #1 on my bucket list. How difficult is it to score Gunners tickets?


  2. Hey, Bernie! Very nice to see a new post here. This one snuck up on Mrs. Chess and I as we figured it wouldn’t be much good, but you have now joined a lot of other folks who report having a great time with it. We’re going to see it next week, hopefully in Imax. Hope the family members are all doing great!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The IMAX is the only way to do this one. For the adventure and comedy, I think it’s worth it. I really do! Thanks for stopping by. Having a toddler and a 5-monther is hard work, but I’m surviving. I can’t remember the last time I had that was free, but I was grateful my wife let me sneak out to this movie on Friday. A nice, brainless break 🙂 It’s getting warmer out there. A happy April to you and yours 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Hello Bernie! It’s nice to see you again!
    I’ve seen the trailer for this one quite a bit. It’s one that I would like to see. I remember when I was in high school…man people were playing this all of the time. None in my circle but it was huge.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Max! I left you a note on your guitar track! So good to hear you play. Great to hear from you too. Yeah, I’m more an RPG video gamer (when I have the time), but I respect and admire the DnD devotee. I hope you’re healthy and well and that Bailey is living it up too. Life is good, just exhausting 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yea they would play it with funny dice…I never tried…but I never got it but I didn’t dive into the game…it sounds like a lot of fun.

        I’m going to send you something soon in email.

        Liked by 2 people

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