There is no tiptoeing around the fact that I never played a single game of DnD in my life. The popularity of it seemed to have peaked just before I was born in the eighties, and I never got around to it.
The closest I remember getting was playing a DnD type game with friends (“this is your character”, roll the dice to see what happens, etc), but all I remember of that was my character name was Squiggy.
From what I recollect, there is no one with the name “Squiggy” in Dugeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (it could just be a “me” thing, but remembering the character names were a big problem. Then again, that is what IMDB and Wiki is for, the latter which is helping me with the character archetype descriptions for the rest of this review.) The film coexists with the old “rag tag of misfit” trope, headed by a bard named Edwin (Chris Pine). After a heist that went wrong, he is imprisoned with his partner, barbarian Holga (Michelle Rodriguez), who has been acting as a surrogate mother to Edwin’s daughter Kira (Chloe Coleman) after Edwin’s wife was killed. When he and Holga were imprisoned, Kira was meant to believe that her father did not truly love her and was best off with Forge (Hugh Grant), who is more than he seems (in that always wonderfully charming Hugh Grant way).
The movie soon becomes a heist-like film in a fantasy land, as Edwin recruits the likes of a sorcerer named Simon (Justice Smith) and his ex druid girlfriend Dorica (Sophia Lillis from the IT films) to help get Edwin his daughter back while get the treasure that he was seeking in the first place: a resurecction stone to bring back his wife (it could only be used once.) This leads them to a paladin named Xenk (Regé-Jean Page), who leads them to an underground world where we get as close to the titular “Ds” as we can.
The film production is not on the same level of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but that is not at all a bad thing. It is more inline with the production design of a film like The Princess Bride or Monty Python and the Holy Grail. We don’t necessary need to wonder what every corner of the fantastical world holds, only what we are shown.
As for what we are shown, …well, we are in a time of James Cameron rewriting special effects, so it is hard to compare. Even so, I admit to not thinking I was looking at some CGI-fest, but a story I would have been drastically moved by if I were 9 or so years old.
For those not at that age, there are still moments of humor for all ages. Grant seems to be bringing some of the same energy he brought to Paddington 2, and the film has one of the most unexpected cameos I have seen in some time that is nothing short of a delight. What makes the humor work most to me is the balance of how serious everyone on and off screen take the material while also still able to be somewhat self aware of themselves at the same time.
Parents, the movie is PG-13 for a decent amount of PG-13 style swearing (no F bombs) and some steady violence (no access of blood, but a good amount of death). Middle school and above.
While this film was more enjoyable a time than something like Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (a lot less time was felt in front of a green screen), Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves does suffer in the same way as dragging on in its run time. Still, its ever beating heart at the center cannot be denied, which makes this film a solid time for families at the movies.
Perhaps a high number was rolled for “beating heart” when the film was in production?
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