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Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Theives Review

03 Jun, 2023

I saw this movie close to when it came out, and I just wanted to talk about it briefly. Spoiler alert: THIS MOVIE IS GREAT. Let's talk about why!

NOTE: There shouldn't be any spoilers here, I'm mostly talking about what I thought of the movie overall.

The Impetus

Okay, this doesn't really deserve it's own section, but I thought this was funny. You know why I watched this movie? Because my parents and I were bored at the end of Mother's Day so we decided to watch this movie. Really, that's all there is to it! I will say though I had heard of this movie from some coworkers saying they were gonna go watch it. This was my only clue that this movie even existed. Now, I'm typically not super interested in new movies, but I added it to my Watchlist in Plex, and then we just decided to watch it on Mother's Day cuz Mom was interested in it too.

Why Good It Was?

I'll be honest, I didn't think I would like this movie at all. Most movies based on board/card/tabletop games or video games or anime aren't usually very good at all. Most movies flop because they can't convert the medium. Why is the book better than the movie? Well, the movie only has so much time to tell it's story, and it doesn't have the same tools available to it that a book does, and typically directors/producers don't have the proper skillset to translate one medium to another. But I think the particular medium of tabletop role-playing games is unique. DND (and other tabletop systems) hold a very specific and neische (like how i spelled that?) real-estate in gaming. The things that come from theme are not cards, they're not a visual medium, and they don't hold a particular setting as the "default" in people's minds. Of course, there are settings, characters and lore that can be a core "default" of the system, but here's what they really contain: stories, acting, and situations.

The core to any DND or tabletop game is the EXPERIENCE the game brings to the table (get it? it's a bad pun I know). Unlike a lot of other non-audiovisual mediums, tabletop games share the same things in common with what the core of a movie is: stories, acting and situations. I think the closeness of these core facets is what enabled this movie to be good. Now I'm not saying there wasn't any skill in making this movie, because there SURE AS HECK WAS, but it certainly helps to have such a broad base to build on.

The Experience

I'm not a huge DND player, mostly because it's hard for me to play the DM (as I inevitably am) and because it's hard to get players together; but the whole time I was watching this movie I was thinking things like:

And more of course. But that I think illustrates how well they managed to pull the feel of playing a DND campaign. I could so easily see the events and decisions through the eye of a DND player, so I can only imagine others who are familiar with what it's like to play TTRPGs would probably be feeling the same. Heck, they even managed to portray what a TRUE BARD would bring to a party, which is no small feat (what with all the rampant "I sleep with them to gain information!" stereotyping for the poor class). In fact, they did so well with giving it the feel of watching something like Critical Role that, after watching the movie, I immediately had a hankerin' for some DND gameplay!

The Story

What can I say? The story was good. It had the feel of something a great DM would put together for the players, and while there were some moments of contravity, they were so minor yet fluidly kept the larger story roll along all the smoother. Each character was well developed, and honestly I would love to just watch a whole mini series of these doofuses just paling around on goofy adventures.


So there's not many, but I feel I should at least list some of the drawbacks of the movie; however, I shall also discuss why I think they're in fact not really drawbacks.

The film does have the feel of maybe a B-film budget; some of the animations are not super fluid, some costuming could have been better, some of the more animalistic races could have been MUCH better. That said, to me this created a sort of charm. There was a goofy but kind of lovely juxtaposition of great cinetography and color correction work put alongside the aforementioned budgeting issues. It gave the movie a warm, quaint feeling.

There were some very silly parts to the film, and if you're looking for a super serious film this certainly isn't it. A lot of times the humor of a film can grind against the serious parts of a film and create this awkward, uncomfortable middle-ground; for example I struggle pretty heavily with most of the new Marvel films (now that they're owned by Disney). It's like they struggle with an odd identity-crisis. However, they balanced this perfectly in this movie. I think the difference with this is that the characters were serious, it's the outcomes of some of the situations that were hilarious. On the whole, almost all the characters took the situations serious when the mood demanded it (what greate players these were!) but sometimes the mood just shifted to the silly side in a naturaul way that was great to watch.

Honestly, that's about it. I could argue how they didn't accurately portray the Druid's Wild Shape ability, but eh... Who cares? It was cool to watch.


I could keep on blathering (as I can do with just about anything), but I think I've hopefully covered my main reasons for why I enjoyed the movie. The story was good, the characters were great and well developed, the ending was very satisfying (hard to accomplish in this economy), and it really felt like a DND campaign. I give this movie a 4 out of 5. It didn't affect me deeply with emotional and philosophical hedgemons (is that a thing?) but this was such a good time of a movie I'd totally watch it over again just cuz. And to me, that's a mark of a good movie.

kenizl86 out!