I nipped into a double bill of Super Mario and Dungeons & Dragons this week; on a rainy school holiday, it was something of a shock to the system to find packed auditoriums and hundreds of kids queued up for every show from 11am onwards. With John Wick 4 hoovering up the adult market, Super Mario keeping the kids and games happy, and Dungeons and Dragons for older families, it’s fair to say that the various quadrants of the multiplex audience are getting catered for again, after a long period of stuttering anxiety, it feels like cinema is finally returning to robust good health.
It’s also fair to say that, after a lamentable 2000 outing for the Dungeons & Dragons IP, not many were enthused at the prospect of a Hasbro reboot, but Paramount’s roll of the multi-sided dice for a big budget, high concept re-think of the board-game actually plays like a decent Saturday matinee of yore. Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley are better known for black comedies like Game Night, and genre classic The Princess Bride seems to be an irreverent model here; Chris Pine makes a traditionally solid lead as bard Edgin Darvis, introduced to us in, of course, a dungeon.
We backtrack to find out how Darvis got there; feeling responsible for the death of his wife, Darvis has struggled to bring up their daughter, with Holga Kilgore (Michelle Rodriguez) helping out as Darvis goes down the path of a common thief along with the wily co-conspirator Forge (Hugh Grant). Forge is a bona-fide con-artist, and manages to trick his way into being a wealthy ruler (‘‘Do you dare are to question how he came to power?’ is a rare political allusion here), becoming Lord of Neverwinter and stealing Darvis’ daughter. A big-scale castle heist is required, with some stealthy sub-missions dredging up various including Regé-Jean Page as a paladin and a cameo from Bradley Cooper as a small man. And of course, there’s dragons too, a very rotund one features.
‘Just because that sentence is symmetrical doesn’t mean it’s not nonsense,’ is an accurate line to sample; the agreeably loquacious nature of the characters makes this as much of a comedy as an adventure, with Grant enjoyably hamming it up in panto as he did in Paddington 2. A scene with a set of corpses with can be revived to answer five questions is also funny in the patented Monty Python ‘parody of officiousness’ style, and even if the result goes on a bit, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves proves itself to be a cut above most knuckle-headed, thud-and blunder sword and sorcery romps.
I thought this was a breath of fresh air compared to some of the other “big adventure” films that have come out of late. It wasn’t a great film, but I think moviegoers who have seen it have been satisfied by a very good experience. When I saw the initial trailer, I was worried what they had here. When I saw the second trailer and the television spots, I felt better about it going in. I really enjoyed it, and I am looking forward to seeing it again soon. Thought Pine and Rodriguez were very good indeed.
They’re both decent leads, and this is a much more entertaining film than many other films of its ilk. There’s a touch of wit about most of the big scenes, and it’s far better than the first trailer suggested. While not amazing, it’s be an easy watch to recommend when it comes to streaming…
I enjoyed it but only up to a point. There was way too much back-story and every time a new character appeared it was larded with exposition. But I do like Chris Pine and he’s good here as is Rodriguez who is given more material to work with than usual. Justice Smith was dead-pan excellent too. I suspect a sequel will be better because the world will already be better established.
Yup, couldn’t stretch this to a four, but as you say, the basic elements are strong. I think we’ll look back on this trend for world-building and cringe one day…
Crings is not in short supply.
Another one that’s probably not for me…..
But people in the cinema is only cause for celebration!
No hate here!
Exactly. Brand names are good for business, as is decent films. I guess the Barbie movie isn’t far away…
I’ll be there on opening night for Barbie…….with popcorn!
Yep! But when it streams.
Fair enough, as long as you see it, that’s fine.
How many school holidays do you get because of rain in Scotland? How many of your chums joined you in attending this double bill? When are you going to make up your lost class time up?
“nipped into [?] for a,” “returning to,” “an accurate”
What are your plans for celebrating The Long Alex Good Friday?
How should we celebrate Alex Good on Alex Good Friday? What should we do?
Thanks for the typos, much appreciated.
I snuck in and sat at the back, but the busiest cinema I’ve been in for years, which is good. Lovely suny day today, but I’m sure punters will still be keen to see what’s on at the flicks…
Get the tractor out and remove stones from the back 40. Come back home and fire up the old VHS. Slap a cassette of Andy Sidaris’s Girls, Guns, and G-strings in. Open a bag of party mix. Call up all your school chums to come over. Play some D&D. Sounds like you’ve got it pretty much covered.
Just the usual then. What about in the afternoon?
Read some Shakespeare. Give the dog a bone.
She likes to go to discos but she’s never on her own…
You’re never alone on AG Friday. And what nicer way to wind it up than at the disco?
Catchy. Is that what’s known as the Glasbow beat?
Dunno, isn’t that you performing the song? Surely you’d know where the song comes from…
Hmmm, could you recommend a cut BELOW most knuckle-headed, thud-and blunder sword and sorcery romp movie? All this high brow, art house movie stuff is simply too much for me. First mario the cerebral experience and now a cut above movie, I’m beginning to wonder where the movies made for me are.
Just because I don’t go to cinema and don’t spend money on movies doesn’t mean those hollywood bigshots can just ignore me! Hear Me Roar! (on a friday no less)
This one is for you.
Yeah! Now that’s the kind of movie I’m talking about!
It’s all yours!
DnD2: Dungeons & Ator.
It’s going to be a hit!