Published May 8, 2023
BY MINNA TROKEL
From an overweight dragon to mysterious magic items, “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” combines classic elements of any good fantasy movie with the charm and humor of the 49-year-old tabletop role-playing game D&D, pretty successfully too.
Directors Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley lead the venture into uncharted land with the first movie of what may become a franchise, set in the universe of a game that has been on the rise in pop culture since its appearance in Netflix’s “Stranger Things.”
Led by Edgin, a soul-searching yet brash thief played by “Star Trek” star Chris Pine, the adventuring group of thieves and magicians crawl their way through a beautiful fantasy world in search of Edgin’s daughter, Kira (Chloe Coleman).
As is true with any good fantasy, the antagonists and protagonists are easy to differentiate. In this tale, the bad guys (colloquially called BBEGs, or “big bad evil guys”) are a duo: Hugh Grant’s pompous and cruel Forge Fitzwilliam, a selfish con artist turned ruler, and the incredibly creepy witch Sofina (Daisy Head).
Along with unforeseen, but entertaining twists and turns, the true spontaneity of the characters’ actions is faithful to the pacing of an actual Dungeons & Dragons game, and moments in the movie seem as though they are pulled right out of a game campaign.
Parenthood is also a central theme to the story, as Edgin questions his role as a father and what it means to be a parent. And as is shown in the adventurers’ relationships with each other and as a group, family is whatever and whoever you want it to be.
Despite the first half hitting a bullseye in almost every category, the second half starts to trip up, with numerous questions left unanswered and an ending that felt like a reach, even in a magical setting. These unfinished plotlines are redeemed by surprisingly satisfying fight sequences and impressive CGI, and while the ending may leave the audience with something to be desired, the movie still manages to satisfy the appetite for both a well-made fantasy world and entertaining characters.
As seems to be the trend, the hype built around “Honor Among Thieves” was basically nonexistent, but expectations for the movie were certainly set high (at least in the minds of D&D fans) and I dare say that those expectations, while maybe not exceeded, are met.
This movie is enjoyable for all who enjoy a grand adventure story with a moving storyline and multi-dimensional characters, and it may be a good sign for future movies set in the D&D realm.