For their third collaborative effort directors Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley bring a tabletop role-playing game to the big screen in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves from Paramount Pictures. The duo also pens the screenplay with Michael Gilio from a story by Chris McKay and Gilio.
Edgin Davis (Chris Pine) is a bard who is spying on the Red Wizards, who killed his wife through the murder of his wife. Kira (Chloe Coleman), Edgin's daughter, was raised by Edgin alongside Holga Kilgore (Michelle Rodriguez), an expelled warrior from her tribe who had been raised alongside the bard. As a result of the theft of an item that could help to resurrect Edgin's wife, Edgin and Holga were imprisoned for a long time.
Having spent two years in prison, they manage to escape only to discover that one of their band of thieves, Forge Fitzwilliam (Hugh Grant), has emerged as a tyrant, known as the Lord of Neverwinter, and has raised Kira by lying to her about Edgin. With the help of Holga, the magician Simon (Justice Smith) and the druid Doric (Sophia Lillis), Edgin will try to stop Forge's plans to reunite Kira with her family.
On their journey the quadrant of heroes comes into contact with Xenk Yendar (Regé-Jean Page) a paladin who narrowly escaped the lich Szass Tam's "rise to power" in Thay and as a result, "ages slower than a normal human." They must also contend with a bigger threat in the form of Sofina (Daisy Head) a Red Wizard of Thay with a focus on necromancy and "ties to Thay's tyrannical mobocracy.
Outside of the name and the 80s cartoon, I don't know anything about Dungeons and Dragons. So a very loyal friend and I both walked into the film blind. That said I can assure you that even the most novice viewers will have a blast with the film. The story is structured in a way that the focus is on putting the characters in comedic scenarios rather than developing a compelling narrative. The filmmakers seemed to have opted for a more lighthearted approach, which makes sense given the commercial nature of the project.
Everyone in the cast gets a chance to shine by tapping into their strengths. Pine delivers that natural everyman persona charm, Rodriguez displays ass kicking, Smith and Lillis elude youthful swag and Page is a flat out scene stealer. Grant and Head are both compelling villains.
It's a fact that the trope of a classic hero's journey (or heroes, in this case) will always get butts in seats. Regardless of your D&D knowledge, this movie will certainly make you smile.
Final Grade: A-
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves begins fan preview screenings Wednesday March 29th and opens wide the following night.