The fascinating thing about pen and paper role-playing games is breaking out of reality and experiencing stories that turn the players’ ideas into unforgettable memories. Even if the logic is sometimes missing and these stories rarely take themselves seriously at their core. The film Dungeons and Dragons – Honor Among Thieves brings part of this world of experience to the cinema screen from March 30th – I was able to convince myself of this at a press screening yesterday.
|Here a statue comes to life and will heat up the hero right away.|
The Paramount Movie (Writer/Director: Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley) invites you to join four heroes on their quest and their wrong turns. While I don’t often get the chance to play Dungeons&Dragons privately, the film’s story felt like it was straight out of a pen and paper game. From the protagonists’ crude problem-solving ideas to moments when a desperate game master tries to come to the rescue before the group gambles for their heads. I could also guess the fateful moments when the heroes have critical successes and failures.
But just guess: the dice never roll, you never see or hear the group of players, the film stays in its fantasy setting. Why did I still think I heard the W20 clicking and player advising again and again? An example: The barbarian has a “walking stick” with her, which the magician recognizes as a magical staff that gives our heroes the chance at exactly the right moment to solve a riddle that they have actually already failed at. It just smells like a classic “deus ex machina” intervention by a game master who wants to help his helpless group.
The protagonists Edgin, Simon, Holga and Doric follow the typical clichés: of course the bard is a charismatic schemer, the mage a smart-ass with no self-confidence, the barbarian a pragmatic bruiser, the druid an interesting combination of race and hero class and the paladin an honorable beamer without a sense of rhetorical finesse. None of them take themselves too seriously, and that’s the way it has to be!
|The group of heroes often gets themselves into difficult situations, which they then solve again with creative ideas.|
The story of the film follows a clear goal that is reached over several stages. I found it pleasant that the plot doesn’t immediately revolve around saving the world. The group of heroes going out to defeat evil is more of a side effect that develops from the motivations of the characters Edgin and Holga. The plan of the opponents is quite predictable – the heroes come up trumps with unconventional solutions.
The party travels through various areas known from the Dungeons & Dragons games and books. For example, Baldur’s Gate is mentioned more often, but heroes are also drawn to Neverwinter and the infamous Underdark
Dungeons and Dragons – Honor Among Thieves can be seen in German cinemas (and “only in cinemas”) from March 30th.
Author: Ramona Kiuntke, Editor: Jörg Langer (GamersGlobal)
Opinion: Ramona Kiuntke
After the thoroughly embarrassing 2000 Dungeons & Dragons film, I went to the press screening with low expectations. But honor among thieves has a different quality.
The movie manages to take its plot and heroes seriously, but not too seriously either. I like the meta level of the player round, which can be felt again and again but is never shown. The scenery of the well-known locations also convinced me with their attention to detail.
The humorous dialogues always made me laugh in the cinema hall. The film serves many clichés, but at the same time breaks with viewer expectations again and again. For example, in that the barbarian Holga is not a Xena blend (which would have been obvious), but she keeps her pragmatic, but also somewhat dull barbarian touch.
Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves was definitely a movie worth seeing for me and I think every fan of “offline RPGs” will agree. But I think that you can also have fun if you have never played a Pen&Paper, because of course there are also many similarities to relevant computer RPGs as before Baldur’s Gate available.