Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
by Hope Madden and George Wolf
There is a new Dungeons and Dragons movie, Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. Unfortunately, there is not a topic on this planet about which Madd and/or Wolf know less than Dungeons and Dragons. It honestly took us decades to undersand that “zero charisma!” reference in E.T.
Well, good news, then, that MaddWolf pack writer Cat McAlpine is a D&D expert!
Bad news! Cat McAlpine was unavailable for the screening because she was – we swear to God this is true – playing Dungeons and Dragons. So, you’ll have to settle for us. And here’s the crazy thing: we liked it.
We did not expect to. You should have seen the fit we threw when we realized Cat couldn’t review it and we would have to. Hissy levels.
Obviously, we can’t speak to how closely the film sticks to whatever it is Dungeons and Dragons is/does/conjures. But as a comedic adventure film with a quest narrative and a game-like aesthetic, it succeeds.
Co-directors John Francis Daly and Jonathan Goldstein (Game Night), both writing with Michael Gilio (Kwik Stop), find an easy humor that feeds off the charm and charisma of their cast. They inject a Guardians of the Galaxy tone into a narrative that mirrors role-playing level changes, and let a talented ensemble keep you entertained.
Chris Pine is the lute-playing, wise-cracking Edgin, who teams with the badass Holga (Michelle Rodriguez) to bust out of prison and go on the run from that cad Forge (Who else but that cad Hugh Grant). They pick up young sorcerer Simon (Justice Smith) and the shape-shifting druid Doric (Sophia Lillis) along the way, and the foursome embarks on an adventure to retrieve a powerful relic that could help reunite Edgin and his daughter Kira (Chloe Coleman).
Does any of this follow a D&D storyline? We don’t know. But even before Bridgerton‘s Regé-Jean Page shows up to lampoon his own image as the dashing Xenk, the contagious, wink-wink swashbuckling had won us over.
The fantastical creatures are plentiful (an “owl bear,” presumably cocaine free!) and gameboard-worthy, while Daly and Goldstein keep upping the ante with fast-paced plot turns that recall those “extra life” badge things that gamers rely on to keep the action pumping.
And the adventure does run a tad long, sometimes feeling simultaneously overstuffed and superficial. But the tone it embraces feels just right, and Honor Among Thieves fulfills its quest to deliver likable characters, infectious humor, and escapist fun.