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Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves Looks Surprisingly Good

Did anyone else start watching this trailer with fear in their hearts? No? Just me?

By ThyanelPublished 2 years ago 4 min read

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves debuted its very first trailer at San Diego Comic-Con on July 21, 2022, to what I can only assume was some trepidation from anyone who has existed in the Dungeons & Dragons space since at least 2000, if not earlier.

For those unaware, many players of Dungeons & Dragons have been burned by film attempts of the popular roleplaying game in the past. The most egregious example of this went to theaters in 2000 with a film called Dungeons & Dragons. Unfortunately for fantasy fans and D&D players alike, it wasn't a good film.

That's not to say it didn't have some good ideas. In someone else's hands, the empire of Izmir portrayed in the 2000 film might have been a fairly decent fantasy world. However, the film was sold as a Dungeons & Dragons film, and in that regard, it ultimately fell short. It felt more like a low-budget attempt at a high fantasy film. Not only that, but the script was lackluster, the effects and costuming just looked cheap, and while some of the cast had moments where they managed decent performances even with the script they had, others were so overacted or bland that overall, the film suffered for it.

Slightly better attempts were made in 2005 with the direct-to-DVD films Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God (set 100 years after the events of the 2000 film) and again in 2012 with Dungeons & Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness. Neither of these would probably be considered incredible films. Both had flaws, but they were still leagues above the 2000 film in terms of storyline, acting, and production value.

And more to the point, the 2005 and 2012 movies felt more like Dungeons & Dragons in film form than the 2000 film did.

By Jack B on Unsplash

For me, a major problem with the 2000 Dungeons & Dragons film is that the story felt more as though it was trying to be your typical high fantasy story when that's not what Dungeons and Dragons is. A game of Dungeons & Dragons isn't about one hero's journey. It's about a group of people going on that journey together. Everyone in the main party needs to be of equal importance to the overall story and be characters that the players (and, in the case of film, the audience) want to root for.

I find this to be true in many pieces of fiction. If the characters fall flat, no one will care about the story they're in. This was a problem that the 2000 D&D film suffered from. None of the characters really grabbed me apart from the villain, and that was for all the wrong reasons.

As a result, from the moment that Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves was announced, all I could think about were the lackluster experiences that came before. I was likely not alone in this, either. I had some hope given that the sequels to the 2000 film had been an improvement, but not much.

Then July 21, 2022, arrived. San Diego Comic-Con was in full swing, and the Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves panel came. The trailer was then unleashed upon the public.

And I found myself pleasantly surprised.

via Paramount Pictures

From the moment the trailer began and Chris Pine's character started narrating about the party being thieves (which I personally found entertaining) that stole the wrong thing for the wrong person and all hell had been unleashed as a result, but they were going to fix it somehow, I smiled.

Everything in that trailer, from the visuals to the costumes to the characters and how they interacted with each other, just worked really well for me. The dialogue sounds exactly like so many conversations I've had during play to the point where I almost want to believe that whoever wrote the script has played D&D in the past.

In fact, this trailer is so full of things that absolutely scream of being a love letter to Dungeons & Dragons. We see iconic locations, such as Waterdeep which indicates the film takes place in the Forgotten Realms, currently 5th Edition D&D's "default" setting. We see monsters we all know and love including mimics, gelatinous cubes, displacer beasts, an owl bear, and, of course, not one but two dragons. We see what looks like the Red Wizards of Thay (which I can honestly say that I was not anticipating).

With all these references thrown in there, everyone involved in this movie seems to have done their homework, which is a significant improvement over the films that have come before this one.

Overall, after viewing the trailer several times since its release, I think I've mostly settled into the "cautiously optimistic" camp regarding Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. This trailer being all we have to go on, I can't say whether or not this will be a stellar Dungeons and Dragons film. However, it certainly feels more like a Dungeons & Dragons film in comparison to its predecessors and doesn't seem to be taking itself too seriously, which is always nice to see.

Of course, the bar is set ridiculously low, at least for me. We'll have to wait and see how well it does.


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    ThyanelWritten by Thyanel

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