Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is the newest film reboot of the hugely popular tabletop role-playing game after the last adaptation hit our screens in 2000. With game adaptations usually widely derided, this version of D&D appears to have been a general hit with fans and beginners like me.
The film opens with Edgin (Chris Pine) and Holga (Michelle Rodriguez) as they’re imprisoned and desperate to get their freedom. Prior to being arrested, Edgin was part of a peacekeeping order known as the Harpers, where he remained until his job led to the death of his wife at the hands of a red wizard. Edgin tried to rebuild his life with his daughter Kira (Chloe Coleman) but resorted to a life of thievery, helped by Holga, Forge (Hugh Grant) and his mysterious companion Sofina (Daisy Head) and sorcerer Simon (Justice Smith).
Sofina wishes to raid a Harper stronghold and persuades Edgin to help her with the promise of stealing the ‘Tablet of Reawakening’, which he could use to bring his wife back from the dead. Unfortunately, the raid goes wrong and Edgin and Holga are captured while the others escape, with Edgin pleading with Forge to look after his daughter.
After two years in prison, Edgin and Holga escape and learn that Forge has become Lord of Neverwinter, whilst taking care of Kira and trying to turn her against her father. On arriving at Neverwinter, Sofina is revealed as a red wizard and Forge attempts to have Edgin and Holga murdered. They escape and resolve to return to Neverwinter to bring back Kira and rob Forge’s vault. To do so they must enlist the help of sorcerer Simon, druid Doric (Sophia Lillis) whose community are fighting against Forge, and paladin Xenk (Regé-Jean Page) to gather the tools to beat Forge, all the while wizard Sofina is putting into motion her own devious plan to take over.
I went into this film with minimal expectations having no prior knowledge of Dungeons & Dragons, and I was pleasantly surprised at how fun and enjoyable it was. Right from the opening scenes where Pine’s Edgin recounts how they ended up in prison, it’s clear that directors and writers Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley wanted to make sure this film was an entertaining ride. Pine is an incredibly charismatic and engaging leading man and the chemistry between him and his co-stars is clear to see, and they’re helped by a surprisingly clever and witty script that had me laughing more than I expected. There’s even one scene where Edgin plays the lute that had me nearly crying with laughter, and don’t get me started on the morbidly obese dragon. Regé-Jean Page is a standout in a fairly small yet brilliant role as Xenk that also copped for the best action scenes and had me wishing he had a lot more screen time.
Unfortunately, the clever and fun entertainment doesn’t always come across with some other aspects of the film. Forge and Sofina as villains seem to suffer with the script and some predictable and rather unfunny lines, and there are a lot of drawn-out heartfelt or serious scenes that are either too long or entirely unnecessary and they just spoil that overall feeling of fun. They could quite easily have cut at least 20 minutes out of this with little negative impact to the story. The plot overall might be a little predictable and cliched, but in the fantasy genre it’d be impossible to find something truly unique and D&D does well to make fun of this when it can.
While I can’t account for how Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves matches up against the source material, it’s a very entertaining and fun romp of a film. It could be shorter and the plot and villains needed fleshing out to match up to the rest of the cast and characters, but altogether this was quite an enjoyable watch.
Where to Watch
A contract manager moonlighting as a rather discerning film and book critic, with an almost fangirl appreciation for anything made by Christopher Nolan. When I’m not catching up on my latest read or watch, you can usually find me trying out my amateur baking skills – Bake Off here I come!