By: Russ Matthews
The role-playing game of Dungeons & Dragons has been around since the early 1970’s and has its roots squarely based in the fantasy worlds, of wizards and goblins.
Despite its worldwide popularity, which continues to grow each year, the one thing that has not manifested in this world of imagination is a successful film franchise to support gaming fans. Realistically, there is not a set of graphic novels or books to draw from for inspiration, leaving potential writers to determine where to start with this narrative.
Writer/Directors Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley decided to lean into the campiness of this fantasy world and add a healthy balance of humour to deliver a fan excursion into the realm of dark magic and treasures guarded by dragons. Edgin Darvis (Chris Pine) leads a group of thieves who do all they can to make their way in the world without drawing any blood. The band of misfits works together without issue until they are hired by Red Wizard of Thay (Daisy Head) to steal an unknown relic that could lead to unspeakable riches for the group. Except they are double-crossed during the robbery, leading to years of trying to get back together to make things right in their world. This band of thieves’ story stretches across the vast landscape of their treacherous planet. It touches on family, grief, revenge, and magic elements that will draw audiences into this fantastical domain.
Amongst the most significant benefit and struggles of creating a world from scratch is the creators have a relatively blank canvas to work with while knowing they still need to keep the D&D devotees happy. This production succeeds while others have failed because they manage to strike a balance between adventure and humour well. Hairstyles and fashion are not a priority, except one thing that drives this film is how they do not take themselves too seriously as they tap into the campiness without causing offense to the gaming community. In that case, this is an engaging adventure that capitalises on the group dynamic in the community of players.
Chris Pine and Michelle Rodriguez lead this motley crew with a wink and a smirk while keeping in mind the fantasy world they represent. Each team member fulfils their role effectively, with a particular nod to Justice Smith, Sophia Lillis, and Hugh Grant. They all work well together and prove the value of different gifts. Suppose there is a weak element within the storyline. In that case, it must be in the anaemic character development of Red Wizard of Thay. She fails to be convincing as a formidable villain, which is less the actress’s fault, and falls to the writer. Not that this is enough to derail the production, especially since she is not the primary focus of the tale.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves gives audiences a bit of fantasy and fun for people to get out and enjoy in cinemas. This unexpected jolly adventure has the heart, humour and hard-hitting action needed for an enjoyable day at the cinema.
In amongst the humour and the action, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves moral fluidity The script does touch on family and the need for a moral limit. Yet, we deal with those who steal from others for a career. The moral ambiguity of the plot is disconcerting, because the plot would have us cheering for those who break the moral code of humanity (or whatever creatures are on screen in this film.)
In this world where everyone has an opinion about every moral topic, it has become critical to figure out how to answer the philosophical question of where to place our moral beliefs. One consideration should be to study the example and the words of Jesus. He is not merely a moral teacher, but a life changer. Considering his life and death will start a journey of defining morality, mortality and life. How do you start? Pick up one of the accounts of his life and see how God answers this multi-layered query with one man.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”
– 2 Timothy 3:16
Article supplied with thanks to City Bible Forum.
All images: Movie stills
About the author: Russ Matthews is a film critic at City Bible Forum and Reel Dialogue. He has a passion for film and sparking spiritual conversations.