Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is a delightful appreciative adaptation of the chaotic Wizards of the Coast tabletop game.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, written and directed by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, is a faithful imagining of the popular board game even if it it too much too soon for newcomers to the franchise.
Lute-playing bard Edgin (Chris Pine) and barbarian Holga (Michelle Rodriguez) seek to reunite with daughter Kira (Chloe Coleman) after a heist organised by thief Forge (Hugh Grant) goes awry, landing the pair in jail.
On their escape, seeking to enact revenge against Forge, Edgin and Holga form a band of unlikely misfits with Doric the Druid (Sophia Lillis), Simon the Sorcerer (Justice Smith) and Xenk the Paladin (Regé-Jean Page) seeing the adventuring party traverse terrains, fight monsters, and enact imaginative plans, all contained in a homebrewed campaign told in sub-two hours making all Dungeon Masters very envious.
The film leans itself fully into the audience’s understanding of the game’s history, tying together classical lore, its homebrewed elements, and the player’s bizarre playstyles which is great for those who understand it and entirely alienating for those who don’t.
For instance, the first sequence plays out in prison. Stalling for time, Edgin recites his character’s backstory, covering the cliches of character builds that Dungeons and Dragons players are all too familiar with, like a death of a loved one and a betrayal, before cutting back to the prison, grabbing an aarakocra (half-bird, half-human hybrid) and jumping out of the window, ignoring the storyteller’s push to pursue a specific direction.
Very much in-tuned with the irreverent humour style of Guardians of the Galaxy, the playfulness the film takes with itself is a testament to how loved its franchise is, especially since the filmmakers sought to portray it accurately with affection.
Equally with its performance from Hugh Grant, who delivers a role closely resembling his self-aware Phoenix Buchanan caricature from Paddington 2, allows him to lean into his redefined satirical personality away from his romantic comedy goofball, especially throughout the film’s marketing campaign the Four Weddings star used it more to sarcastically comment on the farce of marketing junkets.
Subsequently, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is an enjoyable affair, albeit one that only spends a little time fully exploring an area, rushing to squeeze as many of its references into its total runtime. What it manages to achieve in its story is fun, and mostly comical, but as a faithful adaptation that fully understands the implications, consequences, and vices of playing Dungeons & Dragons is incredible.
Tying together homebrewed trinkets and items, such as a staff emulating powers from the video game Portal or a coin that brings back the dead like the show Pushing Daisies, alongside the canonical lore of a black acid-spewing dragon, initiative turn-based combat, a displacer beast, and the storytelling wonders that a Nat1 or a Nat20 (a term used when a twenty-sided die lands on a 1 or a 20 respectively) is a kudos to the eOne team for preventing this adaptation going a similar way to the previous Dungeons and Dragons movies, or worse, Battleship.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is currently showing in cinemas.
Did you like this review?
Would you like to read more reviews, news, and opinion features sent straight to your inbox? Then, consider subscribing to our weekly newsletter.