Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves Movie Review

To say that the original 2000 Dungeons & Dragons movie was a critical failure is an understatement. By contrast, if the new movie, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves isn't a cinematic natural 20, it's at least a 19. PLEASE NOTE: This review contains spoilers!

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Old and New​

The contrast between the two movies isn't just drastic, it also highlights why one succeeds while another failed. Courtney Solomon, producer/director of the 2000 film, used very little recognizable D&D content, chose Izmer as the location, and changed a lot of what it did use. The tone tried to be epic and funny in an unfortunate combination that did neither.

For D&D:HAT, producer/director/writers John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein capture the feeling of a good D&D campaign – adventure, heroics, humor, and enough heart to make you care about what happens to the characters. While firmly grounding movie in Faerun's Sword Coast, it's never heavy handed. Characters don't name every spell or item used unless it's relevant and logical.

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Set in the Forgotten Realms​

No actual knowledge of D&D or the Forgotten Realms is needed to enjoy the movie, so if you want to bring non-gamers to see it, they'll be just fine.

At the same time, the movie effortlessly establishes how Faerun is different from other fantasy settings like Middle-Earth or Westeros. Aarakocra, dragonborn, and tabaxi are just a few of the species depicted in addition to elves, tieflings, dwarves, etc.

The movie starts in Revel's End in Icewind Dale and soon provides a perfect in-story reason to recap Edgin (Chris Pine) and Holga's (Michelle Rodriguez) back story. This, along with how they met Forge Hugh Grant) and Simon (Justice Smith), are covered in detail in the prequel novel, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves: Road to Neverwinter, but the movie explains everything you need to know if you haven't read the book. Soon, a personal yet epic quest begins to find the objects necessary to right a wrong, stop a plot by the Red Wizards of Thay, and reunite Edgin with his daughter Kira (Chloe Coleman), taking them to Neverwinter, the Underdark, Uthgardt Elk Tribe territory, and more.

And just like most D&D campaigns, plans are made and go astray before the crew improvises a solution. There's even one part that subtly reminds me of players ignoring a DM's plans to go off and do something else.

Simon brings Doric into the team, despite her reservations about humans. In her prequel novel, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves: Druid's Call, a mysterious, human-led, well-financed group are cutting down a forest. The book's unresolved question of who and why is answered in the movie.

Daley and Goldstein are long-time D&D players, and it shows in how they constructed the story and brought Faerun to life. Yet while the movie mostly follows D&D rules, it does indulge in “the rule of cool” a few times, most notably Doric's ability to wildshape into an owlbear. A reason was provided for it in her prequel novel, but they're really doing it because it does look awesome. In fact, there's one scene where owlbear Doric thwamps a character in a way that might become as popular in pop culture as Hulk's thwamping of Loki.

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Why Are They Working Together?​

The trailers raised questions as to why Regé-Jean Page's paladin would be working with a crew of thieves. The movie explains it well, and Page is terrific as Xenk, perfectly establishing how paladins are both useful and annoying. Scenes between Page and Pine also beautifully illustrate how different two Charisma-based characters can be.

I also love how they depict Holga. At a table, barbarians are often played as just brute force fighters. Holga shows how situational awareness, practical ingenuity, and brute force are even more effective combined.

The movie contains both actor and character cameos I won't spoil. Just pay attention to some of the other characters in the games sequence for some of them.

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Should You See It?​

Based on the terrific job they did with the Spider-Man: Homecoming script, I was hopeful that Daley and Goldstein would pull off a good D&D movie. They actually exceeded my expectations. The movie is incredibly fun, and I genuinely laughed out loud at some dialogue. It simultaneously tugged at my heart in places, and in legitimate ways since it had laid the groundwork beforehand.

The movie is a self-contained story that leaves a ton of room for sequels. If one or two can match this, not only will it be a well-established franchise, but could also spin off into other parts of the D&D multiverse.

Stick around for a mid-credit scene that's just perfect in every way.

I can't wait until D&D:HAT is available for purchase. I know there are things in the background that I didn't quite catch. The mix of being an incredibly fun movie with being able to rewind it to catch all the Easter eggs and casual references makes it a must-buy for me.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves hits a perfect tone and blend of adventure, heart, and humor. A+
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Beth Rimmels

Beth Rimmels

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I got the impression that the illusion was cast by Simon, hence why it fell apart when Simon got his foot stuck and thus failed concentration
Yeah, that's certainly possible too. I got the impression the spell reached the end of its duration, which is why it started going weird at the end rather than just abruptly stop like we saw at other times when spellcasters had their concentration broken. But that whole sequence was a bit odd to be fair. How exactly did Simon get his foot so comprehensively stuck in a flat and level cobbled courtyard?

There's going to be a few confused first-time players when they pick up the books after watching this movie. The druid didn't cast spells, the whole business with the Thayan blade inflicting incurable wounds, PCs just being able to casually attune to items whenever they feel like it with no mental struggles at all...
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Yeah, that's certainly possible too. I got the impression the spell reached the end of its duration, which is why it started going weird at the end. But that whole sequence was a bit odd to be fair. How exactly did Simon get his foot so comprehensively stuck in a flat and level cobbled courtyard?
Low Concentration roll.

You also didn't mention some of the subpar practical effects (tabaxi).
Yeah, absolutely correct, the Aarakocra looked pretty bad and more like a Kenku. But aside from that aspect, the visuals of the landscpes, cities, spell effects and costumes; just the overall look was really cool.
I took everyone that was willing from my three gaming groups and I was the only one that didn't love this movie.
4 of us from our game group went today. I probably wouldn't have gone but a few others wanted to go based on early reviews, so we got tickets last week and postponed our game for today. Overall, none of us cared for it much.
The story was alright, nothing special, you could see everything coming BUT I feel that it did capture a D&D story told around the table pretty accurately. I'm sure everyone has seen the trailer with the speak with the dead spell, well almost that exact scene happened at my table so my players absolutely loved that scene.
The story was OK, nothing great or anything that was a surprise or a twist. It relied too much on humor. so much so that I found it somewhat annoying, caused me to lose my suspension of disbelief, and some of it was downright cliche. All the Faerunian name-dropping kind of seemed unnecessary and beat you over the head at times. While I caught the references, a lot of them didn't add to the story, so people that didn't know them didn't miss anything. I lost interest when Elminster showed up, I asked myself why.

The scene when they cast the speak with dead kinda of took me out of the moment too and pretty much confirmed that there was no real threat to the main characters. That was a scene that probably should have been portrayed way more seriously than it was, and IMO it went on too long and took the "we've all been there before at the gaming table" joke too far. I wouldn't say the movie was good or bad but just mediocre.

I think I saw Tom Morello as an extra in the stands of the arena too but can't be sure.


I'm seeing more positive youtube reviews, but I'm seeing negative "Men are walking away from Honor Among Thieves" nonsense videos with FAR more views individually than the positive. The exception being that Jeremy Jahns review that's positive with a lot of views.

It's really super odd that some weirdos are completely misunderstanding a soundbite and going out of their way to make sure nobody sees it because of it.
I dont understand the issue

Ok, never mind...read farther into the thread...sorry sorry.


Here is my review of the movie, its spoilerfree:

D&D Honor Among Thieves – the perfect D&D movie? – A review​

D&D Honor Among Thieves is the latest and most expensive Dungeons & Dragons film, which will be released in German cinemas on 30 March. I was lucky enough to see a preview in the original language in Berlin on 24.03 at 23:10. And I have to say, staying up was worth it for me. Although I haven’t been to the cinema since I became a father and didn’t stay up that late, I didn’t regret my decision. The cinema was 3/4 full and I had a great time.
D&D Honor Among Thieves is the perfect D&D movie for me in every way. If you tried to break down a D&D campaign into a movie, the result would look 100% like the movie. At least the campaigns I’ve played like it.
The film is funny but also serious, has great special effects (with a few forgivable misfires) and manages to bring the Forgotten Realms to life.

Although the film is funny and generated many laughs in the cinema, it is not a silly comedy à la Scary Movie or My Wife, the Spartans and Me. Instead, the jokes fit the characters and the story and don’t yank you out of the story. No anachronistic jokes are made, but the funny elements fit the world and the characters.

Although the film is funny, there is no shortage of drama. You feel for the characters and the emotional climaxes are earned. For me, the balance between seriousness and comedy works perfectly. It is a great art to find this balance, but the filmmakers have done it.

The perfect D&D film
The structure of the story is a perfect mirror image for a D&D campaign. This is how most D&D campaigns I have played or seen streamed work. The transfer to the film format works very well. However, it has to be said that the story structure of a D&D campaign is not 100% optimal for a movie, or rather, not 100% the way Hollywood movies are. The film is not as smooth as a standard film where the transitions are perfect and everything fits together perfectly. It’s not a Lord of the Rings. If the script had been rewritten to fit a standard Hollywood format, the film would have lost its identity and become a generic fantasy film. To bring the essence of D&D to the screen, you have to break a bit with the Hollywood film formula. That’s why D&D Honor Among Thieves is the perfect D&D film, a natural 20. But as a pure fantasy film, it’s only a natural 17.

The action in the film is fun. It is varied and not tiring. Many modern fantasy/sci-fi/superhero blockbusters have tedious, miserably long action scenes that consist only of 20 minutes of hitting each other and don’t offer much variety other than hitting harder and causing more collateral damage.
In Honor Among Thieves, every action scene is different and has its own identity. Often the characters are outmatched in terms of strength and have to use their wits to deal with the situation. Each character has strengths and weaknesses that they can use and play to in the action scenes. The final battle is not won because the characters have bigger muscles or more magic, but because they use their wits against an overpowered opponent. This is refreshingly different from many modern action films.

The Characters
The characters are some of the best the film has to offer. Edgin (Chris Pine) and Holga (Michelle Rodriguez) have perfect chemistry and are something like mum and dad to the group, which also includes Doric and Simon.
Hugh Grant as one of the villains is great. He plays Forge perfectly. You love to hate him.
Also, the relationship between Edgin and his daughter Kira is heartwarming and especially I, as a new father, can relate to that. And the motifs that appear in the prequel novels are seamlessly continued in the film.
And Xenk, the paladin, is simply … perfect.
Every character has their own motivation, every character has enough depth to make the film work. No one comes across as flat or like a parody or caricature. And everyone has a character arc that works.

Of course, there are a few minor problems. Some of the special effects are … strange. How the halflings are portrayed, that didn’t work so well for me. Some background effects are not so good either. But luckily that only happened in places that are not so crucial.
Another problem is the background of Doric. I had already complained about “The Druid’s Call” that the story there is incomplete, that the problem is not solved, but that what leaves the book incomplete is taken up in the film. Well, the problem was taken up in the film and solved in the end – but: why the problem arose remained completely unclear even in the film. Maybe it was mentioned in an off-sentence and I overlooked it, but it bothered me that the external problem from the novel was also only dealt with in passing and too superficially in the film.
But those are the biggest problems – the Doric part in particular could be solved if the film were longer. Which is a good sign. One wishes for more from the film.

D&D Honor Among Thieves is the perfect D&D movie and will delight every D&D fan and fantasy lover. It is a light-hearted fantasy adventure with a perfect mix of action, humour and character development. Those who like films like The Princess Bride, Guardians of the Galaxy, a Knight’s Tale or DragonHeart will also love this film. However, fans who only like serious and epic fantasy films like The Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones should be aware that they may not get their money’s worth here. All in all, D&D Honor Among Thieves is a fantastic film worth seeing.


A suffusion of yellow
I really enjoyed it. The only complaint I had was the terrible looking Tabaxi and child. One instance where good CGI might have been a better choice vs practical effects. Was
Holga's ex meant to be a halfling or a gnome? Not sure if I cared for that depiction either
Im actually suprised people keep mentioning the Tabaxi, I thought the Aakarocka looked far far worse :) Halflings werent much better either

but at least the intellect devourer was fun

Im actually suprised people keep mentioning the Tabaxi, I thought the Aakarocka looked far far worse
Yeah, the aarakocra looked absolutely dreadful, sadly. I didn't mind the tabaxi at all. To be honest I was waiting for another scene later on that showed the tabaxi and had stand-out bad effects, because after the fish scene i was left wondering if that was what all the fuss had been about.
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I thought the most expensive D&D movies were the Lord of the Rings trilogy?


Encouraged by the positive reviews so far. Anyone seen a positive review from someone not genre-biased (i.e. not someone immersed in the D&D / gaming / fantasy culture)? Want to see if it mght interest my spouse.

I really enjoyed it. The only complaint I had was the terrible looking Tabaxi and child. One instance where good CGI might have been a better choice vs practical effects. Was
Holga's ex meant to be a halfling or a gnome? Not sure if I cared for that depiction either
I'm pretty sure he and the fellow Holga was flirting with in the end were halflings, and I've read a few reviews that refer to them as such, although nothing official from the production team. I'm assuming the parole review lady was a gnome, but I'm not sure on that one either

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