March 27, 2023

CINEMA | 'Dungeons & Dragons' Conjures High Fantasy Fun x SXSW 2023

"Never put your trust in a con man."
Chris Pine Michelle Rodriguez Justice Smith Sophia Lillis Jonathan Goldstein John Francis Daley | Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
SXSW Film & TV Festival
Comedy directors Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley adapt the popular tabletop role-playing game D&D for the big screen for an amusing cinematic genre mashup. Starring Chris Pine as a confident fool of a scoundrel, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves balances its comedic high fantasy-adventure tone set in the magically medieval Forgotten Realms and clearly focused on its sophisticated world-building.

Absolutely no prior knowledge of anything in the Dungeons & Dungeons lore is needed, but I suspect any at all might only enhance your enjoyment. Co-starring a brutish Michelle Rodriguez, suave Regé-Jean Page, squirrelly Justice Smith, hopeful Sophia Lillis, and boisterous Hugh Grant as a not-so-merry band of noble thieves who get caught up in the grand plan of an evil Red Wizard (Daisy Head), we learn about our downtrodden, rascally characters through some fun exposition and in media res narration.

This Dungeons & Dragons script, credited to Goldstein and Daley alongside Michael Gilio, wastes little time getting to the story and action with a breakneck pace. Full of missions, sidequests, and game plans, the film offers an economical and highly penetrable entry point for those unfamiliar with D&D-type fantasy mythology. Its focus on both comedy and heart also doesn't hurt its ability to hold an audience.

There's so much unabashedly geeky high fantasy fun in Honor Among Thieves. Pine and Rodriguez make a fun buddy pairing while anchoring the strange but silly magical world battling evil wizards. To Goldstein and Daley's credit, how they incorporate the storytelling campaign aspect of role-playing makes for an overall cleverly enjoyable experience grounded in its characters' clear motivations.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves premiered as the opening film of the 2023 South by Southwest Film & TV Festival (Austin, Texas) as part of the Headliners section.

More | YVArcade / Indiewire / Polygon / Verge

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