Don’t worry if you’re a noob in all things DnD. A lack of experience in playing the tabletop role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons is no hindrance to enjoying the live-action fantasy film Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.
This writer’s few encounters with DnD only revolved around the rerun of the old 80s cartoons on local tv and recent references to the game on pop culture hit Stranger Things. Yet still, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is such a standalone fun ride that would attract even those oblivious of this timeless IP (intellectual property) and those who mistake DnD for Department of National Defense.
They may not be too far from the truth though as DnD is a game of defense and offense albeit with enchanting spells and diabolical monsters. It is where the protagonist and bard Edgin (Chris Pine) finds himself as he assembles his own guild to save his daughter Kira (Chloe Coleman) from the rogue Forge (Hugh Grant) and Sofina, a Red Wizard of Thay (Daisy Head). Egdin’s guild includes his longtime barbarian friend, Holga (Michelle Rodriguez), wild magic sorcerer Simon (Justice Smith), and new recruit Doric, a tiefling druid (Sophia Lillis). Along the way, they receive aid from a paladin, Xenk (Regé-Jean Page), who escaped from being turned into the undead Lich years ago.
The cinema has almost been devoid of family movies in recent memory. Honor Among Thieves brings back the enjoyment we see in old swashbuckling movies, magical battles, and free-for-all melee between mystic creatures. Some side quests are also amusing. Case in point is the unlikely love triangle that involves Bradley Cooper, and the eerie astral projections of a long-deceased wizard that may have borrowed VFX styles from The Lord of The Rings films.
Oh, and there’s a cameo of our favorite cartoon characters from the Marvel and Toei co-produced series Dungeons & Dragons (1983). Long story short, they were kids transported to the world of DnD via a dark roller coaster ride, an isekei story. It’s bittersweet to see them though as they haven’t returned back to their home world. Some of the actors’ faces are covered so it might not be the last time we get to see them—and get properly cast—and find a fitting closure to their decades-old adventure.
The world-building is also easy to follow. With a crisp script, it’s not hard to get enamored with the guild members, especially with the character Holga. Michelle Rodriguez perfectly fits the role of a female brute but with a soft heart. Despite the lack of magical attributes, Holga binds the chosen family together. Hugh Grant, the daddy of rom-coms, is also an effective villain. Even the CG overweight dragon steals the show.
On the downside is the short screen time of Regé-Jean Page’s Xenk. Why he gets center-top billing confounds me.
With all that being said, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves easily becomes one of my favorite light fantasy films in the pandemic era. It’s a gift to long-time players, fans of the animated series, and people needing their fix of light fantasy stories.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is now showing in Philippine cinemas.