HomeReviews4.5/5 ReviewDungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves - Film Review

Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves – Film Review

-

Dungeons & Dragons- Honour Among Thieves film review
Dungeons & Dragons- Honour Among Thieves Film Review

Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves is why we can’t have nice things. While it’s set in an established IP, it’s not a sequel. It doesn’t contain superheroes. It’s family friendly and completely accessible. Most of all, it’s really, really good, focusing on a quality script, delivered with passion by filmmakers and actors who believe in it. And, of course, it bombed at the box office. As a result, we will likely never see another Dungeons & Dragons movie again. 

Why did it have this undeserved fate? Perhaps it’s the baggage of the IP: it’s just too nerdy for mainstream cinema-goers to entertain. It might be the confusing tone, as it was promoted as a derring-do action blockbuster, when it’s more of an outright comedy. We could blame Super Mario Bros, lockdown, the lack of a recent Chris Pine hit, or an overuse of CGI. But mostly we’re just sad. This is the kind of movie that Hollywood should be making – at least in our humble opinion. Wouldn’t it have been a great message to send to Hollywood?: that quality, not heroes in capes, puts bums on seats? Alas, we don’t live in that reality. 

There is a silver lining: it’s a longshot, but there is a chance that Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves finds a home on streaming. It’s certainly worth that slightly inflated ‘Home Premiere’ cost. 

Time for us to clamber down from our soapbox and explain what you’re getting here. Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves is a fantasy adventure ‘romp’ that we don’t see so much of nowadays: think Willow (the original) by way of Guardians of the Galaxy, and you likely have a confusing, unhelpful image. It’s a team of adventurers, heading out into the realm, ready – if not competently – to confront whatever is thrown at them.

The leader of this group is Edgin (Chris Pine), a bard whose special ability is, um, making plans. He says things with confidence and the team goes along with them, which is a shortfall that the movie has a lot of fun exposing. His partner in literal crime is Holga (Michelle Rodriguez), who is also Edgin’s cellmate at the start of the movie, as they have both been jailed for a crime that they definitely did commit. 

After the funniest jailbreak that we can recall, Edgin and Holga go on a quest to reunite Edgin with his estranged daughter. But that quest becomes more complicated once they find out she’s been brainwashed against him by an old friend, Forge (Hugh Grant, unspeakably brilliant) who has shacked up with a powerful witch and taken over an entire city. So begins the true quest of Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves, which needs a bigger team: one that includes Simon (Justice Smith), a slapdash wizard; Doric (Sophia Lillis), a shapechanger; and Xenk (Regé-Jean Page), a paladin who manages to steal away the middle-third of the movie without making a single facial expression. 

D&D fans should put away the pitchforks now. While this isn’t the most faithful movie in terms of detail (it’s too easy to spot inconsistencies with the Bestiaries and Advanced Guides that you may know), it’s 100% faithful in terms of spirit. 

This is the experience of participating in a table-top roleplaying experience, writ large on the cinema screen. The team are misfits that couldn’t possibly function together in real life. They all fumble and bumble through the quests, making what must be exceptionally lucky or unlucky rolls. You can imagine the dungeon master desperately accommodating the heroes’ actions – dropping in artefacts and DM-controlled heroes (hello Xenk) to help get them over obstacles. And you can see the resourcefulness and plan-making of a team who are looking to circumvent the problem. It’s a D&D session with a multimillion budget, but retaining the scattershot, making-it-up-as-they-go-along feel.

And it is so surprisingly, fantastically funny. We doubt that we’ll laugh as much in a film this year. Some of those jokes have been stolen and ruined by the trailers already, like a spell that allows you to raise the dead, but only to ask four questions. But, roughly every thirty seconds or so, there’s something else that will have you rolling a d6 for gut damage. Let’s just say that we’ve folded like “oh, Jarnathan” and “I don’t want to see you die, so that is why I am leaving the room” into our pool of usable quotes. 

The impression you might have is of a dumb good time, but Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves over-delivers there, too. Because it isn’t dumb, not by a longshot. It’s not got some deeper meaning or dramaturgical thought to leave behind, but it does have a knack for inventive heists, brilliant uses for seemingly mundane spells, and convoluted double-crossing. When it’s in its stride, you can feel like you’re in the hands of expert craftspeople, creating a rollercoaster that can do so much more than excite and scare. 

It has its minor quibbles. There’s an overuse of CGI, and not all of it is good (although, the green-screening does lend itself to some of the best moments, including an unusual dragon and a shapeshifting sequence). If you’re in the camp of wanting real stunts and moments, then you might come away disappointed. And some characters don’t quite stick as well as others: Doric, Sofina the witch and the daughter, Kira, are all reasonably bland. But that might just be because everyone else blazes with sheer strength of character. 

Whatever you do, don’t let any imagined geekiness put you off. Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves is, for our money (at least until we see Mission Impossible, Barbie or Oppenheimer) the best blockbuster of 2023. We should be encouraging its like. So, stump up the cash if you can: Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves is just about the most fun you can have in front of a TV screen.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Relentlessly hilarious
  • Will have you quoting it for weeks
  • Extremely clever
  • Captures the spirit of a D&D campaign
Cons:
  • Might lack D&D details for enthusiasts
  • A slight overabundance of CGI
Info:
  • Purchased by TXH
  • Running time and release date - 2hr 14mins | 2023
  • To rent/buy - £no rent/£13.99 SD, HD, UHD
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Follow Us On Socials

24,000FansLike
1,671FollowersFollow
4,922FollowersFollow
6,860SubscribersSubscribe

Our current writing team

2811 POSTS23 COMMENTS
1281 POSTS18 COMMENTS
1042 POSTS46 COMMENTS
909 POSTS0 COMMENTS
409 POSTS2 COMMENTS
116 POSTS0 COMMENTS
82 POSTS0 COMMENTS
78 POSTS4 COMMENTS
24 POSTS0 COMMENTS

Join the chat

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you

<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Relentlessly hilarious</li> <li>Will have you quoting it for weeks</li> <li>Extremely clever</li> <li>Captures the spirit of a D&D campaign</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Might lack D&D details for enthusiasts</li> <li>A slight overabundance of CGI</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Purchased by TXH</li> <li>Running time and release date - 2hr 14mins | 2023 <li>To rent/buy - £no rent/£13.99 SD, HD, UHD</li> </ul>Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves - Film Review
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x