Before “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” even began, the screening opened with a very disjointed and awkward greeting from the cast. It’s an immediate, ominous omen of what’s to come. However, I was actually looking forward to this movie, so I cast my looming doubt aside and strapped in.
The real opening of the movie is actually very promising too. The use of practical effects and the charisma of leading man Chris Pine are fun, despite what feels like almost a parody of a generic tragic backstory that the movie sandwiches in-between wink at the audience-style gags. You’ll think nothing of this backstory at first, likely believing it will take a backseat to the swashbuckling the movie seems to promise. Unfortunately, you’ll find yourself mistaken.
The movie discards almost all promises of a good fun romp in favor of an overly serious and lore heavy crawl. I am not overly familiar with Dungeons and Dragons, other than through cultural osmosis, but I would assume that a dungeon master worth his salt would try and avoid well-trodden story lines like “fetch this item to defeat this powerful wizard” or “we must break into a fortress to get hidden treasure.” I could be wrong, but I just couldn’t shake that pervasive gut feeling.
“Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” doesn’t just take the most mundane elements from D&D either, but also from heist movies. All the classics are here from, “we need you for one more job” to the age-old, “we need a guy who can break into an (insert super secure safe no one has ever broken into ever here).”
These complaints would admittedly feel nitpicky if the cast had any semblance of chemistry. As characters are probably the most important part of Dungeons and Dragons, you would think this movie would put time into working out a cast who can play off each other nicely. A quality team chemistry can elevate plots that are otherwise barebones to new heights, especially if they come with an entertaining backdrop.
I don’t fault “Ocean’s Eleven” for being a generic heist movie, for example, because I enjoy the cast and their chemistry. The heist plot serves as a backdrop to seeing the characters interact.
Instead, “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” ends up simply being pretty boring. While not aggressively bad or offensive, it assaults you with lore constantly and rewards you with very little character moments or general good times.
Maybe if you’re big into Dungeons and Dragons, you might get a kick out of the nearly endless references to the game. If you’re not though, I wouldn’t waste the trip to the theaters.
Spotlight Score: 3.5/10