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Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves review: A surprisingly well-written fantasy adventure

The film is based on the popular board game, Dungeons & Dragons, and stars Chris Pine and Michelle Rodriguez in lead roles 

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves review: A surprisingly well-written fantasy adventure

Last Updated: 04.33 PM, Mar 31, 2023


Story: Edgin (Chris Pine) and his ragtag band of misfits plan an elaborate heist to retrieve a magical relic from the dungeons of the evil Lord of Neverwinter named Forge (Hugh Grant). Edgrin must also convince his daughter Kira (Chloe Coleman), who is under the protection of Forge, that he is not the selfish man she believes him to be. Edgrin and his team must overcome several challenges before they can successfully execute the heist. Unbeknownst to them, a Red Wizard of Thay named Sofiina (Daisy Head) has nefarious plans of her own to enslave the entire population of Neverwinter by turning them into an army of the undead.


Review: There has certainly not been a dearth of fantasy stories or medieval fantasies, especially on television. The Wheel of Time, The Witcher, House of the Dragon, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, and Willow are just a few examples of TV shows that found varying degrees of success over the past year or two. Willow was cancelled after just a single season by Disney+, Amazon's big-budget Lord of the Rings TV show was met with a mixed reception, and Netflix’s The Witcher lost its lead star Henry Cavill for the fourth season. Whereas HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon, won a Golden Globe for Best Television Series - Drama, and it appears to have found universal acclaim that somehow eluded its competition.


In other words, there is plenty of interest in the fantasy genre and studios are willing to spend big to replicate the success of Game of Thrones. In fact, the new CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, David Zaslav, is reportedly keen on rebooting The Lord of the Rings film franchise. Amid all the chaos, Paramount Pictures released a new film adaptation of the popular board game Dungeons and Dragons without a lot of fanfare. While it is a foregone conclusion that the film will not dethrone the juggernaut John Wick: Chapter 4 at the weekend box office, it certainly has enough quality to go the distance.


Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves may not sound appealing at the first to the regular audience, considering there is an abundance of fantasy adventure stories, and also because Dungeons and Dragons was already adapted into a trilogy of rather unremarkable films in the early 2000s. But the star-studded ensemble of the new film alone significantly elevates the film from previous adaptations. Chris Pine and Michelle Rodriguez are Bridgeton star Regé-Jean Page, It alum Sophia Lillis, Chloe Coleman from Avatar: The Way of Water, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom actor Justice Smith, and Britain’s national treasure Hugh Grant. But the film’s most distinctive and endearing quality is how it has incorporated fantasy and magic without major plotholes – something which even Harry Potter is guilty of at times.


The film, at its core, is a heist film set in a world filled with magical beings, dragons, and wizards, and it is surprisingly a clever and well-written heist film. While it does lean on familiar tropes and plot devices, it sets itself apart in terms of how the mystical elements are used very effectively. Most films and TV shows of the same genre are often guilty of introducing magic and mythical powers to a story, only for the characters to bizarrely forget about them at a crucial juncture of the story or when the situation demands it. There are also subtle as well as obvious references to the board game itself in the film, and it plays a vital role in exploring the rich and colourful world of Duneheins and Dragons created by the directors Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, along with co-writers Chris McKay and Michael Gilio.


The storytelling and its stellar ensemble would have been insignificant if the visuals and the action sequence were subpar. And in an era where VFX artists have allegedly been overworked and underpaid, people have become accustomed to the dull visuals – and Marvel Studios have been accused of the same in recent years. But Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves exceeds expectations with stunning visuals and excellent action sequences. And another area where the film has done remarkably well in terms of how the relationship between the two lead characters, Edgrin and Holga (Michelle Rodriguez), have been written. Despite raising a child together, they share a platonic relationship, and the film has also resisted the temptation to bring them together romantically in the final scenes.

Verdict: Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is a surprisingly well-written fantasy adventure featuring a stellar cast, stunning visuals, an engrossing story, and excellent action sequences.


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