A quest! To throw as many fantastic, magical happenings as can be crammed into just over two hours at a movie audience!
And to follow four likable questers as they try to avoid dungeons and dragons and evil wizards and other forms of peril. Throw in a few chuckles along the way. Result: success!
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves works on many levels, among them—with one notable exception—its casting. Chris Pine is Edgin who is seeking a magical tablet to bring his dead wife back to life. Pine is handsome but he can do the action stuff. Michelle Rodriguez is Holga, a fierce female who helps Edgin recruit two younger team members: aspiring sorcerer Simon (Justice Smith) and Doric (Sophia Lillis) who is an elf and a shape shifter.
The quartet faces challenge after challenge and has outrageous experiences and surprises, some of which may remind you of magical things you’ve seen in the Lord Of The Rings movies, the Harry Potter movies and even Game Of Thrones. Teleportation, reviving dead people, fending off monsters, etc.
The exception to the film’s clever casting is Hugh Grant as Forge who starts the story as a rogue but becomes a lord. Grant is an excellent actor. Charming. Funny. But he’s badly miscast here. Did the producers feel they needed another big name? Is he supposed to be eye candy for moms and grandmas who bring their kids to the movie? Hard to justify.
Speaking of kids… D & D: H A T is rated PG-13. Little ones may be spooked by some of the scary bits. But I know that preteens today have seen more wild and weird stuff than I had seen when I and even my own kids were in that age range. So parental guidance is in order here.
Full disclosure: I have never played D & D but I have several family members who have told me in great detail about campaigns that they have been part of. Remember this is a movie, not a board game. It works as a movie.
The budget was $151 million and it shows. Almost all of the effects look great. Co-directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein have to be anxious to see how audiences respond to this movie that has been sitting on the shelf for nearly two years. My guess is they will be happy. Not just that the film is now finally released but also that box office and buzz will be good.