Fun and soulful fantasy for everyone: a review of the film “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor of Thieves”

On March 23, the fantasy comedy “Dungeons and Dragons: Thieves’ Honor” based on the legendary board game Dungeons And Dragons will be released in Ukrainian cinemas. What the picture has already managed to conquer the first viewers and critics, read in the UNIAN review.

UNIAN shares his impressions about the film Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.

A little background

The Dungeons & Dragons fantasy-themed tabletop role-playing game was first released in 1974. Since then, it has gone through a significant number of reprints and several rule revisions, but it is still considered the most popular tabletop role-playing game in the world and has a significant impact on popular culture and fantasy. It was in Dungeons & Dragons that the main characters of the Stranger Things series played.

We will not delve into the rules, just say that the game gives players the opportunity to improvise in each new game. Actually, because of this, perhaps, she remains so popular. And it is thanks to this that the filmmakers got a certain freedom of action.

For the first time, plans to make a film based on the game Dungeons & Dragons were discussed in 2013, but then it turned out that several major film studios had their eyes on the project at once – Warner Bros. Pictures and Sweetpea Entertainment vs. Hasbro and Universal Pictures. After two years of litigation, the case was settled, and two years later Hasbro transferred the rights to the film to Paramount Pictures.

Film frame

It took a few more years to finally decide on the creators of the film – different names were called, but in the end in 2019 the work was entrusted to John Francis Delhi and Jonathan Goldstein, who became directors and screenwriters at the same time. The former began his career as an actor on television – his most famous roles were Sam Veer in the youth series Freaks and Geeks and Dr. Lance Sweets in the detective series Bones (in 2011 he even wrote one of the episodes). In the same year, he began working as a screenwriter in big movies, joining the films Horrible Bosses (2011) and Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) in particular. In fact, it was while working on Horrible Bosses that Daly finally formed a creative tandem with Goldstein, with whom he worked together on all his subsequent projects, including the detective comedy Game Nights (2018). In fact, the directing duo first worked together on the short film What the Babies Do (2001) when Delhi was only 16 years old.

What is the movie about

In the center of the plot of the film is a group of charismatic thieves led by the bard Ejin and the barbarian Holga. The former was once a member of the “Harpers” order, who protected people from evil, but after the death of his wife at the hands of the Red sorcerers, he renounced his oath, united with the exile Holga and set foot on the path of honest thieves, robbing only “those from whom there is something extra.”

Later, they attracted the daughter of Egin Kira, the unsuccessful sorcerer Simon and the swindler Forge to their activities. The latter eventually betrayed the team, took his daughter Ejina and teamed up with the Red Witch Sophina, who has her own insidious plans.

In order to return the daughter of Ejin and along the way save the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Neverwinter, the heroes, along with their new accomplices, will have to go through a real quest.

Characters and actors

The main roles of Ejin and Holga in the film were played by Chris Pine (“Star Trek”, “Wonder Woman”, “Jack Ryan: Chaos Theory”), which is not the first time to add humor to action heroes, and Michelle Rodriguez (“Fast and the Furious”, “Resident Evil “,” Avatar “,” Machete “), which has long secured the role of a strong militant woman.

Film frame

The role of the unfortunate sorcerer Simon was played by Justice Smith (no, he is not the son of Will Smith), who had previously played in two films from the Jurassic World series and several popular TV shows, and the role of the werewolf druid Dorik went to Sophia Lillis (“It” , the series “It does not suit me”).

In addition, the heroes at some point were helped by the paladin Zenk, whose role was played by Rege-Jean Page (the series “Bridgerton”, “The Gray Man”), whose career is now actively developing. However, unfortunately, this bright and charismatic character was given less screen time than we would like.

Film frame

The role of Egin’s daughter was played by young star Chloe Colman, who has already appeared in several major projects such as Powder Cocktail, Marry Me, Avatar: The Way of Water and the recent 65.

Meanwhile, the role of Forge’s antagonist was played by Hugh Grant (“Bridget Jones’s Diary”, “The Gentlemen”, “Operation Fortune: The Art of Victory”), who has recently retrained from the role of a handsome heartthrob to scoundrels.

Another villain in the film – the Red Witch Sophina – was played by British actress Daisy Head, the daughter of the star of the series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” Anthony Head, who had previously appeared in the series “Shadow and Bone” and “Sandman”.

Reaction to the film

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor of Thieves premiered on March 10, 2023 at SXSW Film Market to positive reviews from critics. It was described by early audiences as an upbeat comedy with a solid emotional core, offering a fun fantasy adventure that will appeal to both fans of the game and those who have never played the game.

So, on Rotten Tomatoes, the film now has an 86% approval from critics, and on Metacritic – 76 points, which corresponds to the characteristic “generally favorable reviews.”

Film frame

Insiders claim that the filmmakers did not even expect it to receive such high marks, so now they are seriously considering a sequel. At the same time, back in early 2022, there were rumors that the film would receive a spin-off in the format of a series that would complement the Dungeons & Dragons cinematic universe, and in January 2023 it became known that the Paramount + service received an order for eight episodes of the first season of the show.

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Our verdict

Considering Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Thieves’ long history of making it to the big screen, Dungeons & Dragons was treated with caution. However, it looks like the long wait was worth it.

The tape returns viewers to a cheerful and kind fantasy, which has recently been forgotten amid admiration for the darker and more violent representatives of the genre – from Game of Thrones to The Witcher and Shadows and Bones. And perhaps this is exactly what many lack.

Film frame

At the same time, the authors of the film managed to create a really good plot, a beautiful picture, kindly funny humor and charismatic characters – they are at the same time funny, humane and devoted. And in general, the film has a very pleasant atmosphere that will satisfy the widest possible audience.

Overall rating – 8 out of 10 points.


Read about other new films of the week in our separate review. You can also check out a selection of the most interesting TV shows in March 2023.

Marina Grigorenko

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