Dungeons and Dragons: Movie Review


I think it’s fair to say that throughout our childhoods we went through a plethora of hobbies, myself included. In my recent review of dinosaur-filled movie 65 starring Adam Driver (available at https://rhysreviews.com/2023/04/09/65-movie-review/), I talked about how most people go through a phase of being obsessed with dinosaurs but we tend to go through a lot of fascinating hobbies as we age. While I never quite got into Dungeons and Dragons the board game as a child, I did however collect Warhammer figures. For those who are not aware Warhammer is a tabletop game franchise that involves collecting plastic figures, painting them and then battling each other with dice rolls deciding how successful attacks/spells/movements etc are. I was particularly fond of the lord of the Rings figures (which changed to War of the Ring) which were based on someone of the most iconic characters from the movies. While war hammer and Dungeons and Dragons are two drastically different games, I have some appreciation of how these sorts of fantasy/strategy games can lure you into whichever fictional world you are supposedly fighting in and how intensely you can get into the mind of not only your opponent but also the characters you are using. This is why when it was announced that an all-star cast (more on that later) would assemble to bring the world of dungeons and dragons to the big screen, I knew this was one movie I could not miss out on!


As you would expect this movie is based on the Hasbro board game which sees players take on the role of a character as they quest through fantastical places while being directed by the dungeon master. I thought that the producers of this film did a fantastic job of translating the source material into a movie format with very clear character classes (with each character in this movie sticking to and having specialised choreography influenced by this class), fantastical creatures, single-use items and a good serving comedic moments to reflect the fun nature of the game in the real world. This new movie follows disgraced bard Edgin Darvis (played by the amazing Chris Pine) who finds himself in prison after a series of poor decisions. Edgin alongside his long-term pal barbarian Holga Kilgore (played wonderfully by Michelle Rodriguez) leads a newly formed gang on a quest to rescue a tablet of reincarnation to help bring Edgin’s wife back from the dead after she was killed by an unstoppable red wizard. Throughout the movie, there are a plethora of comedic, dramatic and action-packed moments which seem to be the general feel of any D&D game in real life.


One of the most important characters in this story is Hugh Grant who plays a rogue called Forge who he begins the movie as an aid to Edgin. After a heist goes wrong and Edgin ends up in prison, Forge looks after the bard’s daughter and finds himself a king of an extremely powerful nation. However, it is revealed that Forge is actually a highly manipulative character who has spun this tale about how the only thing Edgin is interested in is money which causes the matter’s daughter to turn her back on her own father. The fact that the main villain of this movie does not doing anything fantastically evil but instead relies on deception helps to create a believable but also hyper-realistic opposition for our characters to fight against. It feels like sacrilege for me to say this but, Hugh’s unique British accent really works well in this role as it not only creates a sense of authority and regality but also makes for a very convincing villain. Forge forms a close relationship with the hidden red wizard Sofia (played flawlessly by Daisy Head) who uses their connections to help cultivate an evil master plan to poison every person in the kingdom with a lethal spell. Visually speaking, Daisy is very striking as the red wizard who helps to deliver some of the more out-there moments in the show while clearly being a perfect representation of an evil witch.


My favourite character in this movie, however, would have to be the nervous wizard Simon Arthur (played by Justice Smith) who through the new grows in confidence to become a highly skilled magician. We met this character running a local magic show where he is simultaneously impressing the crowd with his limited abilities but also robbing them without them realising. I thought that Justice is able to perfectly capture the contrast between an innocent, fresh-face wizard (that helps make the character growth even more impactful) and deceptive/thieving character flawlessly! The highlight of this character was a moment towards the middle of the movie where Simon tried to get used to an intensely powerful magic item causing him to be repetitively launched across a beach which helped to add a bit of physical comedy to this film. The other role that I personally found extremely entertaining was Paladin (holy soldier) called Xenk Yandar hilariously captured by Brighton star Regé-Jean Page who extremely literally which again led to many hilarious interactions between himself and many of the other characters in the group.

Overall, despite having never played the game myself, this is a movie that makes sure to keep the source material at the heart of every single moment in this movie. Fans of the board game will recognise character classes, mystical items and the blend of comedic/fantasy genre but If like myself you have not played the game before you will be able to quickly understand these fictional concepts and why they are important to the overall story. I think this is a movie that would have even more awe-inspiring in 3D and so I am going to try and rebook using my Cineworld unlimited membership as I am now able to get these screenings totally free of cost (if this scheme of unlimited cinema for just £11 a month sounds like something you would be interested in then use my code RAF-41UF-82LQ-14EX-70BM so we can both be gifted a totally free month of unlimited cinema!) I would rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars!


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