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New ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ movie a lively, funny caper story

It’s been a while since I last played Dungeons and Dragons. I’m talking since before COVID hit. I miss throwing dice and having adventures with my nearest and dearest. But for the two hours and fourteen minutes I spent watching “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves,” I felt like I was hanging out with my old party, cracking jokes, talking trash and having a blast.
That is the highest compliment I can pay “Honor Among Thieves”: that while I was watching it, I wasn’t missing my old D&D gang.
“Honor Among Thieves” tells the tale of Edgin (Chris Pine) and Holga (Michelle Rodriguez), two old friends who embark on a mission to free Edgin’s daughter from the clutches of Forge (Hugh Grant). They recruit sorcerer Simon (Justice Smith) and shape-shifting Doric (Sophia Lillis) in their mission to bring down Forge and evil wizard Sofina (Daisy Head). The quest is stuffed full of monsters, magic and even a little romance.
While it’s set in a fantasy world, “Honor Among Thieves” doesn’t try to be a “Lord of the Rings”-style epic adventure. Instead, this movie is a fast-paced, funny heist movie with a lively cast. Think of it as “Ocean’s Eleven” where the leads have to stop their thieving every so often to cross swords or fight dragons.
In other words, this movie is a blast.
The foundation of all this fun is a witty, well-balanced script written by Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daily and Michael Gilio. Between the script and the direction by Goldstein and Daily, it becomes clear that the filmmakers love Dungeons and Dragons and understand what makes the game so cool. They get that it’s as much about getting the right people together to play with as the specifics of the game itself that makes D&D fun.
In that regard, Goldstein and Daily hit a home run. This cast is delightful. Pine and Rodriguez work really well together as the buffoon and deadpan duo in the movie. Grant is a scene stealer and gets a whole bunch of the film’s biggest laughs. Smith and Lillis also have plenty of highlight scenes that make their characters feel like essential members of the party and not just distracting side characters.
The filmmakers’ love for D&D shows up in the action scenes, too. While the battles don’t rewrite the action sequence handbook, most of them go that little extra mile to provide something memorable. For example, Holga gets to beat up bad guys using whatever she finds around her in a way that recalls some great Jackie Chan movies.
But my favorite part of “Honor Among Thieves” is the way this movie feels like an actual D&D campaign you’re playing through with friends. You can almost feel the personalities of the players manipulating the characters on screen. You get to laugh at their misfortunes and rejoice at their successes, just like in a real game. I wasn’t expecting that from this movie but I’m so glad that I got it.
“Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” is a cut above the usual big Hollywood franchise movie. It gets a level of care from the filmmakers that it just wouldn’t get if all that mattered to them was making money. It doesn’t throw any twists at you and it can be a bit predictable, but this movie is so fun, it more than makes up for its flaws.
3 ½ Indy Fedoras out of 5
MPAA Rating: PG-13
The post New ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ movie a lively, funny caper story appeared first on East Idaho News.

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