Film: Dungeons and Dragons: Honour Among Thieves
Directors: Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley
Cast: Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Regé-Jean Page, Justice Smith, Sophia Lillis, Chloe Coleman, Daisy Head and Hugh Grant.
Rating: 3 stars
Duration: 134 minutes
Directors Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley deliver an entertaining movie based on the role-playing game, Dungeons and Dragons.
Despite being predictable, the film manages to make you laugh, thanks to some fresh thinking and some great acting.
Before we get to analysing the film, here’s the synopsis…
Edgin Darvis (Chris Pine), who was once a part of the Harpers unit (which is basically an outfit for spies which helps those in power keep things in order), steals a small gold bar from the spoils recovered from a prisoner he is escorting. This invites the wrath of the Red Wizards of Thay who trace the gold bar back to his residence and kill his wife, who manages to hide their child from the assassins before her death.
A repentant Darvis, who wants to resurrect his wife, sets out to find a powerful magical tablet that can help him do so. Helping him out on this mission are Holga (Michele Rodriguez), who chooses to partner with him more for the sake of his child Kira(Chloe Coleman) than anything else, a smooth-talker called Forge (Hugh Grant), an amateur sorcerer called Simon (Justice Smith) and a powerful sorceress called Sofina (Daisy Head).
Initially, Darvis, known for his ability to play the harp and make plans that usually don’t work, draws a plan to steal the powerful tablet from the secure location it is kept in. The plan works partially, meaning the unit manages to steal the tablet. However, it doesn’t work completely as Darvis and Holga get caught. Forge, who escapes with Sofina and Simon, promises Darvis that he will take care of his daughter Kira like his own.
Little does Darvis know then that Forge actually meant what he said.
It is only when he escapes from prison that he understands that Forge and Sorceress Sofina had made their own plans and that they were the reason why Holga and he had got caught in the first place.
The shock doesn’t end there for Darvis and Holga. They realise that they have unleashed a great evil by giving sorceress Sofina the tablet, enabling her to take control of the land. They also find that Forge, who wanted to make Kira his own daughter, has lied to Kira about Darvis, saying he had deserted her for riches.
Darvis and Holga are now determined to set right what they have unleashed. How they do it is what Dungeons and Dragons is all about.
The film is an out-and-out entertainer and keeps you engaged from start to finish.
The good thing about Dungeons and Dragons: Honour Among Thieves is that one needn’t know anything about the game for them to enjoy the film.
The humour and the action sequences, enhanced by some wonderful CG, are what make the film tick.
Take for instance a sequence in the film when Darvis has to elicit information from the dead. Simon, who keeps growing in stature as a sorcerer with each passing moment, manages to revive the dead. Each corpse, when revived for a brief period, can answer five questions. The questions that Darvis poses to some of the dead are really funny and leave you in splits.
The CG employed too works big time. In particular, some of the stunt sequences involving the character of Doric (Sophia Lillis), who can change shapes in an instant — from being a worm to turning into an owlbear — are just outstanding.
It is not that the film does not have its share of problems. It does.
Like most other directors in recent times, this director duo seems to have been in a quandry as to how to showcase each character. Of course, to please the feminists, all female characters in the film, save one (Sofina), are shown as being powerful, altruistic, skilled and modest.
The male characters are by and large shown as being unprofessional, weak show offs. The only exception to this rule is the character of Xenk,(Rege Jean Page), who plays a Paladin or a warrior.
Take for instance, the second mission that Darvis and Holga undertake. The mission requires strength, courage and magic. Interestingly, Holga is showcased as the one with the strength and Darvis, the lead male character, is shown as a weakling, suffering to handle one opponent in a fight. What’s more, he is also shown knitting sweaters in prison, to make him seem more effeminate.
Other than this issue, the film works on all other counts.