Worry not! You don’t need to be a fan of the game or know much about it to enjoy this film. Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is suitable for all ages and all nerd backgrounds. Based on the legendary game, the film is a hilarious and action-filled adventure.
A lot of my friends are nerds. It makes sense that a Black Girl Nerd like myself would hang with fellow nerds. Out of all my nerd friends, there are three I can pinpoint without a doubt who love Dungeons and Dragons and other fantasy role-playing games.
Although I haven’t played with them yet, there have been explanations of rules, roles, and terms. I can’t remember one for the life of me. I can reference shows that show people playing DnD like Stranger Things, Freaks and Geeks (obviously), Big Bang Theory, and Riverdale, but I still don’t fully understand it. I still loved this movie.
Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is written and directed by John Francis Dale and Jonathan Goldstein (Game Night). It was also written by Michael Gilio. The film follows the adventures of a bard, barbarian, sorcerer, and druid who undertake an epic quest for treasure. Things don’t go as planned, and there are dragons, owl-bears, and even the undead. The adventure takes the team across the lands from stone towns to the fiery underworld.
One thing about Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s not trying to be some invite-only club or highlight of outcasts. It’s a smart choice that results in a fun and funny adventure with characters you grow to care about. The wit and humor in the dialogue and how it’s portrayed by the actors is a potent combination.
The cast choices for this film are great. The film stars Chris Pine (bard Edgin), Michelle Rodriguez (barbarian Holga), Regé-Jean Page (Xenk), Justice Smith (sorcerer Simon), Sophia Lillis (druid Doric), Hugh Grant (Forge), Chloe Coleman (Edgin’s daughter Kira), and Daisy Head (Sofina). I wouldn’t have thought to put these actors together in a movie where they are a functioning group, but it works. Every scene with Regé-Jean showcased him in a way they knew would get lots of cheers from people in the audience. Everyone was laughing throughout. It really is a film full of innocence and heart.
This film is an epic quest. There were a lot of locations to visit and battles to be fought. The production and visual effects are great. The problem is that in an attempt to wrap up the adventure in one film, each destination didn’t get the attention it deserved. I wanted to see more and learn more about the chubby dragon or the battlefield where Holga’s people gave their lives. I wanted to know more about Holga’s people! We skimmed the surface of these momentous places because of time, and the film could have been richer if it had gone deeper. Even what we see and learn about the characters we are following seems to walk a thin line between just enough information to make the audience care and not enough information for world building. It was ambitious to think the audience could explore this world in one sitting.
All great quests involve obstacles that the heroes must face and overcome. Some of these obstacles were people and fighting was the only way to move forward. The fight scenes in Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves were intense and spectacular. The fight choreography by Georgi Manchev (Hellboy, 2019) was amazing to see on screen. It was so fast-paced. It made the audience tense, nervous, and exhilarated. The crowd applauded when our heroes won.
A major theme in this film is brotherhood and family — the one you choose and the one you’re born with. We all know that cherished idea. In Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, amidst the laughter and intrigue is this idea of loss and the lengths you are willing to go to overcome it. I frequently thought of the Pirates of the Caribbean line, “Not all treasure is silver and gold.” It is an idea that runs through the core of this film. It speaks to the love of legends and folklore heroes like Robin Hood and the Three Musketeers. It’s wholesome and we haven’t had a good family flick like this in a while.
I can’t say enough how fun and funny this film was. It was a good time that didn’t make you think too much. It was just an enjoyable time with a great crowd at the Paramount Theater. Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves delivers on the adventure, the magic, and positive themes. It’s wholesome and something parents and kids will fall in love with.
Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves will be in theaters on March 31, 2023.
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Born and raised in Southern California, Catalina is a freelance journalist and film critic. You can also find her work on blackfilm.com and documentary.org. She has moderated and served on film panels, interviewed casts and crews of various films, and has been a juror for the New Orleans Film Festival. Catalina is a member of numerous critics' associations, including the Critics Choice Association, African American Film Critics Association, the Online Association of Female Film Critics, and the Hollywood Creative Alliance, as well as a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic.