ReVIEWS: Dungeons and Dragons


Finn Wilburn, Staff Writer

Based on the 1974 board game Dungeons and Dragons, this movie is more than just an all-star cast, better yet, it’s everything from the cinematography, to the music, to the plot, to the theme that makes this movie what it is. Let’s start with worldbuilding. They go deep into the lore of D&D; it goes past just including classic creatures of the game like gelatinous cubes and black dragons, almost every character name, place, item, or creature in the film is pulled directly from the lore of the game.
This wasn’t just a loosely slapped together cash grab, it’s an over-the-top lived-in world. It feels as dense as “Lord of the Rings” and as heart-pounding as your favorite thriller. It’s chock full of Easter eggs and references to its source material; you can tell it was made with love. Many characters’ abilities can feel a bit random at times; this imbalance was intentional. The directors, John Francis Daley and Jonothan Goldstein wanted to emulate the boardgame, the way characters are at the mercy of the dice, never knowing what hand they’ll be dealt, if they’ll be lucky or not.
This could feel, at first glance like lazy writing, an easy solution to get characters out of tricky situations and carry the plot forward, but once you realize the true meaning behind it you see the whole movie in a different light, and it becomes just another detail you fall in love with. One thing that really stood out in this movie was unmistakably the humor; the upbeat, nonconsequential tone of the film is established from the very beginning, and never once did a joke feel out of place or forced.
Don’t be mistaken, this film is not without heart, it has its fair share of sorrowful moments, but the humor and emotion are blended together quite well. The composer, Lorne Balfe, who just so happens to be a lifelong D&D player, was very eager to make the music for the adaptation, and he delivered a perfectly competent score; it flows beautifully with the more delicate moments of the film and performs just as well during the action sequences. The movie as a whole didn’t break any new ground, but I found myself with very little to complain about when walking out of the theater. Some dialogue at times felt a little tongue-in-cheek, but overall the writing is stellar, and is easily one of the strongest parts of the movie.
Adaptations of games are becoming more and more common: 2017’s “Jumanji” opened the door and showed they could be done well and have good results from the audience, and “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” is without a doubt one of the best, a perfect adaptation of one the world’s favorite board games, and perfectly atoning for the early 2000s trilogy. It will not disappoint and is by far one of the most fun you’ll have in the theaters all year.


Rating: Four Stars