‘Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves’ review: Does this fantasy adventure finally capture the magic of the game?

Since its creation in 1974, Dungeons & Dragons has been a haven for fantasy lovers to discover their imaginations by bounding collectively into quests and battles towards monsters and magical menace. For practically 50 years, the tabletop role-playing recreation has courted controversy, solid friendships, and influenced hit reveals like Stranger Issues, Gravity Falls, Vox Machina, and Freaks and Geeks. But when it got here to movie, the place a string of less-than-memorable films hit between 2000 and 2012, nobody had fairly captured the magic of gameplay…till now. 

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves has arrived at SXSW’s Opening Evening, and it is the sort of epic enjoyable followers have been ready for. 


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What’s Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves about?

Chris Pine headlines a star-studded solid as Edgin, a bard who — when he is not singing sweetly (typically as a distraction) — is plotting a heist along with his band of adventurers. His social gathering contains Holga (Michelle Rodriguez), a barbarian whose battle axe is as sharp and damaging as her dry wit; Simon (Justice Smith), a half-human sorcerer who has nice magical potential however must degree up his confidence; Xenk (Bridgerton’s Regé-Jean Web page) a noble Paladin, who blends integrity with a sly bit of smugness; and Doric (Sophia Lillis), a Tiefling Druid, whose skills to shapeshift make for some of this adventure’s best possible motion sequences. 

Collectively, they have to face off towards self-proclaimed “con-man” Forge (Hugh Grant), a rogue who has teamed up with a menacing pink wizard. Sofina (Daisy Head), the menacing pink wizard in query, possesses flashy lightning spells, however they arrive second to her intense glower energy. Edgin’s quest is to rescue his teen daughter (Chloe Coleman), an impressionable younger woman who’s fallen prey to Forge and Sofina’s affect. Alongside the means, this troupe will encounter mighty monsters, curious creatures, and a few quirky cameos too stunning to spill right here. 

What does Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves get proper about D&D? 

Credit score: Paramount Photos

Followers of the recreation will thrill to see how co-writers/co-directors John Francis Daley (of Freaks and Geeks fame) and Jonathan Goldstein dropped at vivid life Monster Handbook creatures, like the pouncing Displacer Beast, a ferocious Owlbear, a “pudgy” however lethal Pink Dragon, and even the comically harmful Gelatinous Dice. Preserving true to the pleasure of experiencing the recreation itself, the filmmakers have been cautious to maintain the particulars of these designs acquainted, whereas permitting the animation to own a terrific bounce in its gravity.

All through the movie, there are moments of life-or-death stakes and even jolting bounce scares. However this bounce, this sense of play, helps hold issues gentle and enjoyable in order that Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is likely to be loved by grown-ups and youngsters alike. Inclusivity is a significant factor of the film, welcoming every kind of fantasy followers, whether or not they performed D&D or not. You probably have, you may possible yip and cheer as you acknowledge particular spells, objects, and creatures. Should you’re a degree nothing to this world, the script — by Daley, Goldstein, and Michael Gilio — swiftly provides sufficient context that you simply will not miss out on the enjoyable. 

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves has terrific motion sequences. 

A dragon is poised to attack three adventurers in

Credit score: Paramount Photos

It higher, proper? It isn’t simply that this film faces off towards a myriad of fantasy films (some of which its supply materials loosely impressed), it is that Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves additionally faces off towards the numerous motion sequences its gamers have imagined of their heads for many years. Dungeon Masters might range, however Daley and Goldstein do a spectacular job of weaving in hand-to-hand fight, spell-casting, and quips.

There’s fireplace, swordplay, shapeshifting, and creative stunts. And inside every setup, there is a refreshing selection. Some encounters are hard-hitting motion, with Quick and Livid alum Rodriguez’s Barbarian delivering precisely the sort of grit and kapow you’d count on from such casting. Different sequences have a rousing whimsy to them, with a transformative escape scene that has the power of Pixar’s Ratatouille. Nonetheless, different sequences flex frights with ominous swirls of darkish magic and tearful confessions. Tonally, the film rolls from comedic to thrilling to tender and again once more with ease. And albeit, these swerves are obligatory for illustrating the essence of the recreation. 

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves captures the play at the coronary heart of D&D. 

Regé-Jean Page in

Credit score: Paramount Photos

These shifts in tone are sparked by the battle between characters who’ve wildly completely different attitudes (and alignments(Opens in a new tab)). This group dynamic not solely makes sparks fly in the movie but additionally displays the enjoyable of taking part in characters amongst pals. The barbs between the bard and barbarian have a sibling sharpness. The swagger of the villain’s monologue brandishes pleasant showmanship. The clumsy romance between two social gathering members mirrors the fumbles of a participant character whose coronary heart is pure however whose charisma is low roll. Basically, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is authentically enjoyable in vein with the recreation as a result of of the way it embraces the problems and comedy of an important group dynamic. And props to the solid for that. 


Since Star Trek (2009), Pine has walked the line between goofy and gallant with the nimbleness of an acrobat. Right here, he is recreation to play the ballad-slinging idiot in a single scene, then the earnest hero in the subsequent. Rodriguez is his foil, straight-faced but savage the place he’s sauntering and foolish, hitting her punchlines as pointedly as she does her — nicely — punches. Smith is vibrantly awkward, bringing humor and coronary heart, whereas Lillis presents a stoic but stirring efficiency as a traumatized misfit, looking for vengeance. In the meantime, Web page virtually glistens Lawful Good, but brings a sly levity to a job that might have gone stale in the improper palms. 

In distinction to this merry band, Head is legit harrowing as a witch with battle on her thoughts. She throws her physique totally into spell casts and facial expressions that is likely to be over-the-top in a extra straight-faced fantasy. Right here, nonetheless, they make her the excellent reverse of Grant’s garrulous rogue, who’s an unrepentant scene-stealer — on high of each different sort of stealer.

Grant has been dwelling it up as a comedically thrilling baddie in movies like Paddington 2, Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre, and now Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. And he is a world treasure for his service. 

Hugh Grant in

Credit score: Paramount Photos

In a film full of humorous moments, Grant scores the most, thanks partly to his roguish smile, ripe and beguiling. As he threatens execution and delivers weird compliments with the identical bon vivant verve, there is a gleefulness in his efficiency that’s positively contagious. “Scoundrelly however professorial,” he chirps of Edgin’s look, “You seem like a well-read fisherman!” He is so high-level charming, you is likely to be tempted to root for him in spite of all the villainy. 

An excellent decide for SXSW’s Opening Evening, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is a rollicking crowdpleaser, bursting with motion, comedy, and spectacle. Its filmmakers deftly steadiness tones and character arcs to present everybody their hero second, but by no means get slowed down by the weight of a lot story, lore, and legacy. That is an unapologetic romp, certain to be loved by D&D devotees and newcomers alike. Merely put, this film is one wild journey you will not wish to miss. 

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves was reviewed out of its World Premiere at SXSW 2023; it should open in theaters nationwide on March 31. 

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