What’s it about?
A ragtag bunch of thieves must plan an audacious heist after inadvertently stealing a powerful relic for an evil wizard.
What’d we think?
Pete Linning says: Mandatory disclosure: I play Dungeons & Dragons. I didn’t exactly have high expectations going into this movie, partly as a fan of the tabletop game but also as someone acutely aware of how clumsy an adaptation of a niche property can be when it’s targeting a mainstream audience. So it makes me happy to report that my concern was unwarranted, and I was very pleasantly surprised as both a nerd and a normal person. The story is a straightforward heist caper, and the relative simplicity that comes with this gives the more fantastical world-building a little more room to breathe. The cast is clearly having heaps of fun, with Hugh Grant in full Paddington 2 mode as a wonderfully smug villain and Bridgerton’s Regé-Jean Page as an irritatingly sincere Paladin being exceptional standouts.
If you’ve been rolling dice for years there are plenty of easter eggs and some all-too-familiar moments (the party repeatedly botching the five questions they can ask a corpse after casting Speak With The Dead being a particularly hilarious example), but these never veer into fan-service or come close to alienating the normals in the audience. There’s dungeons, there’s dragons, some great action, and a lot of laughs – this one’s a big recommend. 8/10
Anthony Sherratt says: Aside from some early pacing problems where the film rushes through exposition, the new D&D movie is a roaring success. In an era where studios spend so much time establishing gritty lore-rich worlds in an attempt to establish long-running franchises, it’s refreshing to watch a story that is both character-based and simply fun. The very nature of classes being so different actually helps establish identities and each character is relatable in some way. Yes, they lean into some tropes and cliches, but that’s actually the point. This is entertaining storytelling backed up by good performances from actors who appear to be having just as much fun as the audience.
I’m already looking forward to the next edition.
(Disclosure – I too have much RPG experience)