Insider Beat: Roll your 20-sided die on 'Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves'
On Saturday, I was able to attend an advanced screening of the latest Paramount film inspired by the classic tabletop fantasy roleplaying game, "Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves." Whimsical, hilarious and endlessly entertaining, the movie exceeded my expectations and strongly delivered.
As someone who admittedly doesn't know much about the game or franchise (like, at all), I was a bit apprehensive about taking the leap and immersing myself in the game's vast world.
But, after watching "Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves," I can conclude that it's a fun, spirited movie that can be experienced by anyone anywhere, regardless of their knowledge of the game or lore. Even if you've never heard of a Red Wizard or a 20-sided die, you'll surely enjoy the ride.
The plot of "Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves" is adventurous and fast-paced, with well-balanced moments of witty comedy and touching emotions. Reminiscent of a campaign in the original game, the story follows a rag-tag group of five who set out on a journey to regain an elusive relic. Along the way, these characters defeat a trail of evil obstacles, commit acts of bravery and become true heroes.
This band of makeshift "heroes" are led by the charismatic, determined, yet often selfish Edgin (Chris Pine), a bard and former Harper turned thief. Edgin has a lot of baggage, some of which serve as the main reasons this squad assembles in the first place. He essentially ropes the others into a quest, risking their safety for his own desire to steal the Tablet of Reawakening.
Though, this burning desire comes with good reason: The relic can bring back one person from the dead, allowing Edgin to resurrect his wife and the mother of his child, who tragically passed years prior. Finding the tablet is especially important for Edgin as he feels guilty that his own thievery led to his wife's death.
Edgin's best friend and right-hand woman is the tough and burly barbarian Holga (Michelle Rodriguez). Despite her hardened exterior, Holga has a protective and caring side, acting in a maternal role to Edgin's child, Kira (Chloe Coleman), after the death of her mother, Edgin's late wife.
The trio have a beautiful dynamic but are unfortunately separated following the imprisonment of Edgin and Holga as punishment for their thievery. Kira is sent to live with accomplice-turned-villain Forge Fitzwilliam (Hugh Grant), who rules the land of Neverwinter with an iron fist. Adding to his treachery, he gaslights Kira into believing her father is a lying criminal.
The second villain alongside Forge is his advisor, the mysterious, creepy and super powerful Red Wizard in disguise, Sofina (Daisy Head). The pair work in tandem to rule over their constituents in Neverwinter.
Though little does anyone else know, Sofina has ulterior motives to take over the kingdom — though these evil plans do not come as much of a surprise to the audience who can see how clearly dubious she is from her all-black outfit and malicious stare.
Joining Edgin and Holga to take on these villains during the film's main quest are a nervous and quirky sorcerer named Simon (Justice Smith), a shapeshifting druid named Doric (Sophia Lillis) and a paladin named Xenk (Regé-Jean Page).
The tension of the plot exists in whether the five will succeed in finding the Tablet of Reawakening and bringing back Edgin's wife. Will the evil Forge and Sofina prevail? Will Kira be reunited with Edgin and Holga?
Without giving anything else away, each member of this cast truly delivered such captivating, energetic performances. I thought they all did a great job of capturing the spirit of their characters and making the audience fall in love with them.
Hammering in the idea of a snooty, greedy British politician, Grant gives a hysterical yet impactful performance as Forge. Every time he comes on the screen, you're either bound to hate him or break out into laughter. Complimenting Grant, Pines portrayed Edgin's confident and cunning nature perfectly — you can't help but fall for him and yet, at the same time, be annoyed with him.
I thought Simon and Holga's characters were also done particularly well, with the latter having a funny detail about herself revealed toward the end of the film (hint: it involves "short kings" and a hilarious cameo from Bradley Cooper).
Other than the fantastic casting and plot, the movie also has great special and practical effects, camera work and humor — seriously, there were some laugh-out-loud moments. The cherry on top? My all-time favorite artist, Tame Impala, made a song for the movie, "Wings of Time," that played during the end credits, which was super exciting.
Still, probably the most impressive aspect of the film is its ability to transcend its target audience beyond just Dungeons & Dragons fans while staying true to the elements of the beloved game.
While I don't know much about the game, reviews from staunch fans have been mostly positive, with one user tweeting, "#DungeonsandDragons: HONOR AMONG THIEVES captures the chaotic fun of a campaign with friends. Colorful characters, seriously great action direction and imagination out the wazoo … very pleasantly surprised by this one. Sleeper hit incoming."
Another fan tweeted, "#dungeonsanddragons is awesome. It's super fun, *very* funny and loaded with action set pieces that are both inventive, well staged and look great. Also Chris Pine sings and @HackedOffHugh is perfect. Huge recommend."
Overall, no matter how familiar you are with Dungeons & Dragons lore, this movie is bound to entertain you. Directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, "Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves" has a run time of just more than 2 hours and has been playing in theaters since Friday.