“If the existing plan fails, I make a new plan.”Edgin
Dungeons & Dragons’ phenomenal rise in popularity over the past decade made a new cinematic adaptation an inevitability. Directed by the co-writers of Spider-man: Homecoming, this is similarly a film that prioritises the relationships between its likeable heroes over world-threatening stakes. The party members are tropes — charismatic bard, stoic fighter, insecure sorceror, insufferable paladin and distrustful druid — imbued with personality by their actors, but the inspired decision is to place Chris Pine’s bard at the centre, since his careful planning followed invariably by chaos and improvisation perfectly captures the nature of the tabletop game. This approach allows the writers to flex their creativity in presenting and overcoming challenges as they set up a heist, including the best use of portals I have seen on screen. As the antagonist Forge, Hugh Grant channels his Paddington 2 performance without overplaying the comedic elements. Those hoping for the sweeping majestic grandeur of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings will be disappointed as, despite the decades of lore establishing the Forgotten Realms, Honour Among Thieves is a lightweight tale that engages in limited worldbuilding — we see a little of Neverwinter and the Harpers but the script is generally content to name drop inconsequential references for fans’ benefit. Visual effects are deployed in service to the story, with impressive swirling magical vortices and a menagerie of the Monster Manual’s fantastic creatures. That Honour Among Thieves has been so well received is no doubt aided by low expectations after 2000’s abysmal Dungeons & Dragons, but it is nevertheless a solid foundation on which a new cinematic franchise could be built.
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