|Original title:||Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves|
|Director:||Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley|
|Running time:||134 minutes|
|Release date:||31 march 2023|
Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) is a fantasy role-playing game first published in 1974. The popularity of the game spread rapidly in the late 1970s and especially in the 1980s with the role-playing fad and the fact that some media people claimed to be fans of this type of game. Numerous board games, video games, books and movies were created. The important impact of role-playing games on the world of video games is undeniable and clearly visible with many first-person shooters or real-time strategy games. Dungeons and Dragons became part of the general culture and quickly appeared for many players to play together well before the effervescence of multiplayer games and specially to explore imaginary worlds by respecting certain rules as if a life could be played on a throw of the dice. The heroic fantasy universe also experienced a real boom with authors like J. R. R. Tolkien.
However, to successfully adapt a universe as mythical as Dungeons and Dragons is an impossible mission, as the previous films of sad memory have shown. Dungeons & Dragons (2000) and the two films intended for direct release on DVD Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God (2005) and Dungeons & Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness (2012) will not be remembered as undeniable successes and really lacked the budget to bring successful works to life. The fact that a new film was born under the aegis of Paramount Pictures studios was in itself a form of huge gamble because if it was successful and found the epic charm of the great adventure and heroic-fantasy films there was material to create a real new cinematographic saga capable of standing up to that of Warner Bros' Lord of the Rings.
The great difficulty of such a film is to succeed in capturing all the magic of the Dungeons and Dragons universe but also to succeed in finding a scenario elaborate enough to introduce the main characters but also to make them live a real adventure. Those who appreciated the work of J. R. R. Tolkien and his successful adaptations by Peter Jackson will be in familiar territory yet where the pace of his films was slow, directors Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley find the perfect tempo to deliver one of the best heroic fantasy films seen in a long time in the cinema.
Edgin (Chris Pine) has lost his girlfriend and has gone from being a simple bard to a renowned thief who skillfully pulls off heists with his gang, including Holga (Michelle Rodriguez), a barbarian with Herculean strength, Simon (Justice Smith), a great sorcerer in the making once he overcomes his inner demons. On their way, they will meet Xenk (Regé-Jean Page de Bridgerton), a paladin and Doric (Sophia Lillis), a Tiefling druidess able to take the shape of any animal and who will join their rank (which is worth to the film one of its best scenes and which remains long in memory by its perfect timing). Each of them has his own faculties and they will have to combine their main talent to face an old gang member and inveterate swindler Forge (Hugh Grant), and his powerful red witch Sofina (Daisy Head). This gang will cross paths with many monsters and dragons in their crusade to save Edgin's daughter from Forge's grip, much to the delight of the audience.
To succeed in adapting the universe of Dungeons and Dragons implies giving life to many iconic characters of this universe and as such the scenario of Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Michael Gilio succeeds in adapting the manual of monsters to the screen and we find the gelatinous cube, the red dragon but especially the mythical owl bear which will have marked many players. This fidelity to this universe is really a pleasure to see and the directors Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley (Vacation (2015), Game Night (2018)) have succeeded in offering a quality adaptation that can please both long-time fans of Dungeons and Dragons and spectators not initiated to these role-playing games who will discover a rich and varied universe. The directors have not lost their sense of comedy and many scenes show that Dungeons and Dragons: Honor of Thieves does not hesitate to mix genres.
While we could expect another blockbuster without any real surprise and too perfectly calibrated, the directors Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley have managed to find the intact charm of the great adventure and fantasy films of the 80s and 90s and to use special effects sparingly. The result is a film with a perfect cast (special mention to Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez and especially Sophia Lillis) and impressive and credible dragons on screen that have nothing to envy to the dinosaurs of the film saga Jurassic Park. Paramount Pictures by judicious choices to find all its splendor and to make each of their releases real events. After the excellent Scream VI, Dungeons and Dragons: Honor of Thieves is a blockbuster in the making and a new winning association with toy giant Hasbro after the Transformers movie saga. We leave the movie happy and we look forward to the sequel of this movie as the main characters are so endearing and complementary.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
Directed by Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley
Written by Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Michael Gilio
Story by Chris McKay, Michael Gilio
Based on Dungeons & Dragons by Hasbro
Produced by Jeremy Latcham, Brian Goldner, Nick Meyer
Starring Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Regé-Jean Page, Justice Smith, Sophia Lillis, Hugh Grant
Cinematography : Barry Peterson
Edited by Dan Lebental
Music by Lorne Balfe
Production company : Entertainment One
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates : March 10, 2023 (SXSW), March 31, 2023 (United States), April 12, 2023 (France)
Running time : 134 minutes
Seen on February 20, 2023 at Pathé Beaugrenelle, Dolby Cinema