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Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves - Movie Analysis & Review

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is the first big screen, live-action film set in the world of and focusing on the Forgotten Realms released in 23 years. In this blog we will analyze and review this new film and the impact that it will have on the TTRPG and D&D community as a whole.

This review will be split into four sections: Plot, Characters, Production and Effects, and Portrayal of D&D.


Plot:

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves provides a story of a group of misfits who come together, for their own individual reasons, to pull a heist on a corrupt official. There ends up being more nefarious plans in action behind the scenes which leads these misfit thieves to fight for the greater good and realize they are the land's last hope. The plot itself can be a bit all over the place when taken in the lens of a film but lends itself very well to mirroring what a D&D game would be like in an actual play group. There is a lot stuffed into the over 2 hour runtime but the pacing felt pretty good and had minimal points that felt slow or detrimental to the story and adventure.


Characters and Acting:

The Characters in this film have to be one of the best parts of the film with Chris Pine's Edgin and Michelle Rodriguez's Holga standing out the most. Edgin and Holga embody their respective classes of Bard and Barbarian in a way that makes them feel like characters that would be created at a table with a character sheet and some dice. The dialog and quips between the characters also has an organic feel that sounds like what might be said between players at a D&D table. Justice Smith's Simon, Sophia Lillis' Doric, and Hugh Grant's Forge also bring other character archetypes to the story that enhance the feel and expand the interactions. One more character that I would like to highlight is Regé-Jean Page's Xenk who represents a Dungeon Master's NPC character. The interactions between Xenk and the rest of the party illustrate the unique relationship that DM NPC party members have with Player characters and the addition of this character adds a ton to the story and the representation of D&D in the film. Overall the Character's and their portrayals are one of the strongest parts of this film.


Production and Effects:

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is a visually appealing movie but does struggle a bit when it comes to visual effects. There are a lot of great effects and cinematography but sometimes the CGI and special effects can seem a bit campy or dated. These campy effects sometimes work well with the feel and what the movie is going for but sometimes they subtract a bit from the environment. The costuming and environments are extremely varied and illustrate the grandiose feel of a D&D adventure, with unique costuming and sprawling scenery. Despite the lacking effects, the production overall lends to the story and round out the film.

Portrayal and Authenticity of D&D in the Film:

Now the most important part of this review: Does Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves do the TTRPG giant justice and does the film feel authentic in how it portrays D&D as a whole? The last feature film that represented D&D on the big screen was an utter failure and heavily disappointed fans of Dungeons & Dragons. This new film brought a lot to the table and was able to give a much better portrayal of the table top RPG that players of the game will be able to connect with. There were a lot of nods to the game with minimal parts that felt to be too on the nose or fan-service forward. A majority of the game references were well-placed and portrayed interactions very similar to those that would be seen in the TTRPG. There were some "inaccuracies" to the written rules of the game and they have quickly been pointed out by loyal fans. This, however, could be considered nit-picking as the game is all about freedom and tweaking the rules to best benefit the gameplay group. I, as a D&D player of many years, feel like the rule breaks actually felt more authentic as I twist and change the rules myself in my games to create the most fun and enjoyable time for the players. These rule breaks also are made for the good of the film. For example: the druid Doric uses wild shape far more often than a druid would normally be able to but it lends to some great scenes like a city-chase where she is constantly shifting forms to avoid capture. Overall this film does a pretty damn good job of portraying the adventures that players may take in a game of D&D and does so in a fun and exciting way.


Overall Thoughts and Grade:

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves does what the original D&D movie failed to do and is a large step in the right direction for the D&D IP on the big screen. The movie gives a pretty solid representation of a D&D campaign in a much shorter time span and is most importantly just a ton of fun. I would highly recommend this film to any fans of D&D or simply those looking for a fun and exciting adventure in a fantasy world.


Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

8.5/10


For those who have seen the movie and want to share your thoughts or have yet to see it and are looking forward to it, comment below and let us know what you think!

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