'Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves' Review: Chris Pine & Michelle Rodriguez Play Their Roles
Sun comes up, you drink your morning coffee, studios want to ruin the film industry, a movie based on IP comes out and Hugh Grant plays a flamboyant villain. Some things are truly inevitable. Those last two things are true when it comes to Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, a fantasy comedy which is based on the role-playing game 'Dungeons & Dragons', directed by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley who also co-wrote the film with Michael Gilio.
A brash thief named Edgin (Chris Pine) and his barbaric accomplice Holga (Michelle Rodriguez) escape from prison as they set out to make a new life for themselves, the former hoping to reconnect with his daughter Kira (Chloe Coleman) whose being raised by Forge (Grant), an authoritative new lord of the city of Neverwinter who is in cahoots with Sofina (Daisy Head), a powerful Red Wizard. They were behind the imprisonment of Edgin and Holga who then embark on a journey to retrieve a ''tablet of reawakening'', teaming up with sorcerer Simon (Justice Smith), druid Doric (Sophia Lillis) and paladin Xenk (Regé-Jean Page).
That's a lot of setup and names to remember but essentially there are quests, backstabbings, magical creatures and MacGuffins that matter less if the vibes are great, which they in fact are, as the writing trio is clearly having fun with the source material and give each actor moments to shine. It's rather funny how blockbusters can simply work when there are actual jokes and charismatic performers bouncing off each other, all while the filmmaking isn't too shabby either. Much of the visual effects (supervised by Ben Snow) work well enough on their own design-wise but most importantly Daley and Goldstein get creative with their direction when working with them as they are constantly motivating characters' actions, obstacles and achievements.
That motivation, whether it comes from effects or well-designed set pieces and action, is seemingly having a wonderful effect on the cast (assembled by Victoria Thomas) who are convincingly interacting with both their material and materials surrounding them. Pine and Lillis especially excel in that regard as goofs with portals and plans are delightfully performed.
''HAT's'' success as an adaptation is slightly questionable when some of the story threads in the final act come off as way too neat, mostly since they remove tension that's bubbling between our main characters just for the sake of ''franchise-building'' and possible future projects. Good news is that most of it ultimately ends up being about the journey and not necessarily the destination. It's a fun campaign as long as the crew and vibes are excellent: that is evident here.
Smileys: Humour, VFX
Frowneys: Some issues with ending
Fix it in post? No, fix it with magic.