D&D Movie/TV What would a good D&D movie be like?

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
If they DO go with the predestined hero trope, I hope they subvert & avoid it by borrowing a page from Westworld and Young Guns: kill the character everyone expects to be the hero/focus of the story.
 
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steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
Maybe also Heavy Metal

Maybe also "Jumanji" and whatever that stupid sci-sfi/space adventure sequel was...Oo, we found this old funky looking 70's game box in the attic that says "Forgotten Realms"...No. I do not want to see anything resembling a Fantasy version of Jumanji or Yankee in King Arthur's Court [which Martin Lawrence also, laughably, has already done].

No. A D&D Adventure. In a D&D world [which we know, for the brand, will be FR even if it's not explicit in the first film]. With D&D characters (races and classes). There is absolutely NO reason that a halfway decent [script] writer should not be able to create believable/relatable/sympathetic characters for an audience without some tired thin trick like, "Oh look! They're just the same as us but forced to be there because of [nonsensical] reason." Let alone doing that and expecting the response, "And now it's a fantasy adventure/movie? Cool!"
 

Maybe also "Jumanji" and whatever that stupid sci-sfi/space adventure sequel was...Oo, we found this old funky looking 70's game box in the attic that says "Forgotten Realms"...No. I do not want to see anything resembling a Fantasy version of Jumanji or Yankee in King Arthur's Court [which Martin Lawrence also, laughably, has already done].
Or Farscape, Chronicles of Narnia, Guardians of the Galaxy, or Wizard of Oz. Any idea sounds bad if you only name the bad examples.
But there's not many examples of regular people in a fantasy world beyond Chronicles of Narnia.

No. A D&D Adventure. In a D&D world [which we know, for the brand, will be FR even if it's not explicit in the first film]. With D&D characters (races and classes). There is absolutely NO reason that a halfway decent [script] writer should not be able to create believable/relatable/sympathetic characters for an audience without some tired thin trick like, "Oh look! They're just the same as us but forced to be there because of [nonsensical] reason." Let alone doing that and expecting the response, "And now it's a fantasy adventure/movie? Cool!"
It doesn't have to be a nonsensical reason. A portal between our worlds opening because the Big Bad was doing something planar works and fits the lore. That's not any more ridiculous than anything else magical.

Can it be done? Yes. Is it harder? Very much so. And making the characters believable is not the hard bit. It can be trickier, but it's certainly not impossible.

The hard bit is the world: you need to explain the setting. You need to explain the races and nations and gods and magic and history. You need to explain everything. That helps if you have an outsider character as you can explain to them with the audience. There's a reason most fantasy stories tend to start with a farmboy hero. Structurally, there's not much difference between college kids pulled into a world of magic and Hobbits pulled from rural Hobbiton (read: pastoral England) and thrust into the larger world. Only people are much more familiar with the farmboy trope in cinema, especially with fantasy (Lord of the Rings, Willow, Eragon, Princess' Bride, Star Wars, etc).

The other reason, the one I'm advocating for, is that it would make the movie less generic. D&D is pretty damn generic in terms of fantasy. And a D&D fantasy movie would be "oh, here's another generic fantasy movie." Nothing separates it from the other fantasy movies out there (or potential ones) except the fact it's "based on a game", which doesn't exactly have positive connotations. It's not a selling feature. I'd really rather the selling point of a D&D movie - or at least the first one - not be that it's based on a game, but some other hook for the movie.
 

bogmad

First Post
Please no "Kids from the real world thrust into a magical setting"

Honestly, it just makes the setting less believable and able to buy into if you've got all these "real world" characters talking about how this matches all the fake stuff they know. It's either "Hey a dragon! Wow, I can't believe it!" [pokes it to believe it, while all of us realize it's just a movie] or else you go the route of zombie movies where nobody recognizes or knows the zed word (unless it's a movie where the bigger point is to remark on the genre, and less about immersion). And if these "real world" characters don't recognize a dragon, I'm just left thinking they're idiots.

You can find a viewpoint character in a fantastic setting without having to exit the setting.

The only separation from other fantasy movies out there that means anything is to have a good movie. Any other gimmicks or tricks are irrelevant.
 

Remathilis

Legend
I'm sorry, but when I think "real world people meet fantasy world characters", I think this...

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That's not totally true. I also think "John Carter" and "Captain N, the Game Master", which further doesn't elevate the cause.

You can do the "naive character learns about the world" trope easily by setting any inexperienced character straight off the farm and into the wider world. Harry Potter does it when he's taken to Hogwarts. Luke Skywalker grows up on a backwater planet. Frodo/Bilbo live in the pastoral Shire. Will Turner is a commoner blacksmith who hasn't met a pirate in his adult life. Other times, you introduce a side character to ask all the questions; Rogue in X-Men (like Jubilee in the cartoon before her) would be a good example.

Furthermore, I'm more afraid a "normal dude from modern times" will end up being used for comedy; a joke about Renaissance Festivals, allusions to fantasy movies/TV/books, modern day references to technology or culture, even a Monty Python quote. If the goal was to make a comedy, it might work. If the idea was to make the next LotR, its distracting and suspends disbelief.

In fact, there is one movie I can think of where a modern day character goes to a fantastical medieval world full of dark magic that is widely loved, and while its a great movie, I don't think its quite what WB is looking for.

And if they are, they need to hire Sam Rami and Bruce Campbell ASAP!
 

collin

Explorer
Quag Keep by Andre Norton was (to my knowledge) the "first" D&D novel, and it involved people from the real world playing the game who found themselves thrust into the fantasy world. It was fairly well received for its time. Now, having said that, I would not advocate for a film adaptation of Quag Keep, or any story for the big screen that starts with that premise. I would prefer it just be about some kind of middle age fantasy world and with characters entrenched in that setting and go from there.
 

weldon

Explorer
Please no "Kids from the real world thrust into a magical setting"

You can find a viewpoint character in a fantastic setting without having to exit the setting.

The only separation from other fantasy movies out there that means anything is to have a good movie. Any other gimmicks or tricks are irrelevant.

100% agree.

The TRPG isn't about me as a person leaving our world and entering a fantasy world. Why should the movie use that device? To people that aren't familiar with the game, it will give the impression that Dungeons & Dragons is about people playacting that they leave this world and go to another world. I don't mean to cast judgement on anyone who plays that way, but I don't think that's a fair representation of D&D.

I think these overt references to the game itself are a huge mistake. Just make a good story, in a heroic fantasy setting, with an ensemble cast.
 

MadPuppy

Explorer
For those pushing for the old cartoon idea or other Real world kids thrust into the fantasy world. Just say NO.

D&D is a game yes but it isn't Larping. Thrusting modern day people into the Fantasy setting is Larping.
D&D is story telling after all, every one of you comes up with a character background based in the fantasy world (Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, Spelljammer, Planescape, Dark Sun, etc....)you are playing in.

That is where any D&D movie needs to start, the backgrounds of the "party". This can be done a number of ways Separate stories combining as the movie goes on, or my preferred style something like Snatch where something is happening, the screen pauses and the narrator describes the individual with some brief explanation of the nickname, and some defining characteristic.
Add in some world background like (someone mentioned a cantina style scene in the tavern) a menagerie of D&D specific Races, and organizations, Floating Islands, high magic with items that replace real world items, Portals, Self sweeping broom, prestidigation to clean your clothes quickly, Bag of holding, magic lamppost, Runes, etc....
And most importantly a good story that doesn't fall into the Tolkien Trap, with good action scenes. Hire some great stunt coordinators and real good swordplay (think Phantom Menace saber fights vs. A New Hope saber fights), good dialogue, not stupid accents. Don't force the speech with the robotic crap from the previous movies.
 

PnPgamer

Explorer
How about just using any of the famously hellish dungeons, like undermountain or tomb of horrors. At first the adventurers would be established, how they get together etc. Then they enter the dungeon and the movie would have focus on how the dungeon affects the mental state of the beginner adventurers. Something similar among cube movies.
 



Starts with a good script. Not a good D&D script - just a good script. Fun, interesting plot and characters. A script NOT written by any one of the producers, directors, or actors. Now send it for a light re-write to ensure sufficient D&D-isms to make it sensible that you're hanging the tag of "D&D" on it. Change a few place-names and character names if adapting to an existing, known D&D setting. This should not be hard and is not going to break any script that was tolerably crafted in the first place. Cast with good actors and tell them to take their roles seriously. Hire a director who knows FILM and has a proven track record of success and proof that they DO know film direction. Assign a TECHNICAL ADVISOR to ensure mostly that the movie simply doesn't stray OUTSIDE of D&D rules bounds rather than trying to ensure that rules come first. Don't give the effects work to the guys you knew in high school. Add actual money. Profit.
 

Nebulous

Legend
Cool question. I've thought of it many times before.

And it's not an easy one to answer. As a film fan, I would go with established directors who have a track record of movies I already love. This does not include Peter Jackson who jumped the shark with King Kong as far as I'm concerned and will probably never recover.

Not Michael Bay.

Who would I trust with the D&D franchise? Joss Whedon probably. Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead). JJ Abrams (Star Trek/Wars), Frank Darabont (Shawshank and Walking Dead), David Fincher (Seven, Fight Club).

But Hollywood is so fickle. They could easily give this to a newcomer with the right connections who has only made glitzy but popular music videos on his resume.


As much as part of me would like to see a Drizzt adaptation, i don't think that represents "classic" DnD. Classic adventuring to me would be like Gord the Rogue in Saga of Old City and Artifact of Evil. Plan it out like a trilogy with a plot arc, give it some thought ahead of time, not tagging on sequels haphazard.

A good Dragonlance trilogy would be good too, the original 3, and even Time of the Twins, are amazing books that would adapt well to heroic/romantic/epic fantasy.

No matter what they do, I don't want hardly any CGI monsters.
 



To me, a good D&D movie means a party of heroes needs to be centerstage. Dragonlance novels, the first ones or the Twins saga, would fit nicely and still be "generic" enough not to be necessarily branded as a specific D&D setting to the large public.

The first Drizz't novels weren't bad, but too much centered on a single hero, which for me as a D&D player is not what I'd like to see in a movie (but still would watch it of course :) ).

DL has it all: a party, romance, adventure, dragons and a "comic relief" character who is actually funny and not too Jar Jar Garbish.
 

jodyjohnson

Adventurer
My ONLY stipulation despite ANY director and any scriptwriter is to not make this a computer generated fantasy world with CGI monsters and all that crap.

(but realistically guys this what we're going to get)

Yeah, like James Cameron's Avatar. That movie was a total flop.
 


jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
:confused: Serious question: What do you want instead of CGI monsters? Animatronics? Guys in rubber suits? Maybe you're hoping for just human villains (evil wizards or the like)?

I get that you don't want special effects to be the beginning and end of the movie's substance, at the expense of story and character ... but IMHO a D&D movie with no monsters at all would be lacking in D&D flavor.
 

Wednesday Boy

The Nerd WhoFell to Earth
I'd rather have animatronics and people in suits and makeup. To me CGI along side real people is often too noticeable and comes off like Mary Poppins or Pete's Dragon (e.g., Jar-Jar and Azog).
 

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