Article Written by Daniel Aikins. Photo by Adrian Jaimes
In recent years, tabletop gaming has become big among college students on campus as a great pastime in between the various tests and projects constantly being thrown at us. Believe me, from a guy who’s taken part in several tabletop campaigns on campus, there is nothing like getting together weekly with a large group of friends to hang out and roll some dice. Among the most popular options is Dungeons & Dragons (or D&D for short), a tabletop roleplaying game where a single person known as a dungeonmaster crafts a long form story with creative characters and an engaging setting for a large group of players to explore.
Having played in such campaigns for several years, I was very excited to hear that a big budget Hollywood movie was being made for it (even though there were past attempts at such a movie that…weren’t great to say the least). Having now seen the film firsthand with my current D&D group, I can now safely say this movie was a total blast and pretty much everything I could hope for.
The film itself follows a typical D&D campaign story from the perspective of the characters themselves, as main characters Edgin (played by Chris Pines), Holga (played by Michelle Rodriguez), Simon (played by Justice Smith), Doric (played by Sophia Lillis), and Xenk (played by Regé-Jean Page) must form an unlikely grouping to rob a former ally’s vault and stop the end of the world in the process.
The film’s story is quite simple to say the least, but deceptively so as not only is it reflective of an amateur D&D parties first campaign, but it allows the film to focus on two of the most important aspects when it comes to a D&D campaign: action and character development.
In terms of action, the film boasts surprisingly well-done special effects, while also managing to cleverly adapt the tabletop gameplay of D&D in a way that looks visually interesting and engaging. The spellcasting in particular is given a much more fast paced visual flair compared to how the game handles it, with all of the spells cast in the film being taken straight from the pages of D&D’s spell book and being adapted in glorious fashion for the big screen. In addition to this, the film’s action in general feels very fast paced to the point where there is never a dull moment throughout the film.
In terms of character development, this is where the stories simplistic approach bears great fruit as it allows each member of the cast to play great off each other, to the point where the audience can see each character’s flaws and how they work through them. Elgin came off as my personal favorite thanks to his upbeat personality as well as his personal tragedies and how his interactions with the rest of the cast develop both himself and the rest of the party. The rest of the cast is also given fantastic development with each having a great personality that anyone in the audience can latch onto and be inspired by. All in all, these aspects among others make this movie a fantastic time for not just fans of D&D, but fans of the fantasy genre in general.
However, don’t just take my word for it, here’s the short perspectives of two D&D dungeonmaster’s who run D&D campaigns on campus who also saw the movie:
Dungeonmaster Brian Welch said: “The Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves movie was an entertaining adventure to watch on the big screen, however the story felt somewhat generic when compared to other high-fantasy projects. Unique to Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves however was the almost perfect representation of mechanics present in the tabletop game the movie was based on. Overall, a wonderful spectacle and I recognized almost every easter egg thrown out for us.”
Dungeonmaster Jackie Syver said it was “A good representation of the themes and overall feel of a Dungeons and Dragons campaign without relying on a strict adherence to the rules inherent in the source material, it’s the fun and ridiculous antics of the average D&D party without the restrictions necessary for a game, the rule of cool in cinematic form without the need for rules as written”
Catch Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves in theaters now!