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


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Remathilis

Legend
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).

You notice it because its BAD CGI, not because its CGI. Good CGI isn't noticed; that's the point.

[video]https://youtu.be/bL6hp8BKB24[/video]
 

collin

Explorer
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.

That's what I said. Listen to the Man in the Funny Hat - he knows what he's talking about.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
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).

The biggest problem with that is that animatronics and people in suits & makeup can be more expensive than all but the priciest CGI.

I don't want bad CGI, but in a budgetary tug-o-war between having great CGI and not having enough money to pay for decent scriptwriting, directing and acting? Well, I'm going to pick having the latter and hope the CGI doesn't reek.
 

Nebulous

Legend
still my favorite dragon ever, Vermithrax - 1981

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Nebulous

Legend
Reign of Fire did a pretty good job with the dragons too, although the movie itself wasn't so great.

8tZSeck.jpg


Smaug I really wanted to like, but it fell short for me, maybe because it did look like a cartoon. Or maybe because I just didn't like the Hobbit films at all.

1O5clsF.jpg
 



Wednesday Boy

The Nerd WhoFell to Earth
You notice it because its BAD CGI, not because its CGI. Good CGI isn't noticed; that's the point.

I'm not against all CGI and that video makes many points that I agree with. I like how the video compared CGI to a tool in the filmmaker's toolbelt. It's a great tool for landscapes, brief special effects, and extra from far off shots. And I recognize it's an incredible feat of technology and film. It's not my preferred tool for rendering characters from scratch.

If Jar-Jar and Azog are bad CGI, what do you think are examples of good CGI for main characters?

(Also, I recognize it's a matter of aesthetic opinion. I was equally aware Jabba was a special effect in Jedi and the Special Edition ANH. I just prefer the Muppet to the cartoon.)

The biggest problem with that is that animatronics and people in suits & makeup can be more expensive than all but the priciest CGI.

I don't want bad CGI, but in a budgetary tug-o-war between having great CGI and not having enough money to pay for decent scriptwriting, directing and acting? Well, I'm going to pick having the latter and hope the CGI doesn't reek.

For sure--my wanting Muppets and makeup has no basis in budgetary or production hurdles. Like Remathilis's video points out, a great plot, direction, and acting will make me overlook subpar special effects, so I would prioritize those over Muppets any day. But since in this thread my character is a movie exec with limitless time, budget, and resources, I gave Muppets the nod.
 


Blame Tolkien on that one; nobody (important) dies in the Desolation of Smaug...

Don't blame Tolkien for Peter Jackson's sins: all the dwarves Tolkien sent into combat against Smaug died horrible deaths. Of course that all happened in backstory--the protagonist dwarves just avoided Smaug until somebody else killed him.
 


aramis erak

Legend
My bad, only three.



But, all things considered, they were quite well done.

What succeeds on TV and what succeeds in the Movie Theaters are not the same. Made-for-TV movies are NOT the same success formulae as for Theaters - despite the occasional crossover.

The Buffy movie was a flop. The Buffy TV series was a smash hit. (and an attempt to recoup the losses.)

Princess Bride worked - but it had the benefit of a VERY good story that was already accepted as literature, and an incredible cast. Elwes, Patinkin, Crystal, Shaun, Faulk, Kane, and Roussimoff are a powerhouse cast. Even if Roussimoff is only a draw for name recognition (as Andre the Giant).

Hercules and Xena are often painful to watch, as they slaughter History, Mythology, and anything else in great parodies... with rampant homoeroticism, revisionism, and really low budget effects. If anything better had been available on TV in the classic fantasy genres, they would have failed miserably.

And as for HotDQ as movie plot - The Encounters version is about right for a single movie. To do the whole book would easily be a TV series.
 

chibi graz'zt

First Post
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.

Crystal Shard was not focused on Driz'zt, it was focused on all the heroes, in fact, Wulfgar was touted as the main character with Drizzt as his sidekick. The prequel novels changed that. I am glad that the films will not be based on Dragonlance, and instead on the Forgotten Realms. The Dragonlance franchise has become 'dated' and I think its time for Wizards to focus on what makes money and is popular, not nostalgia.
 

Crystal Shard was not focused on Driz'zt, it was focused on all the heroes, in fact, Wulfgar was touted as the main character with Drizzt as his sidekick. The prequel novels changed that. I am glad that the films will not be based on Dragonlance, and instead on the Forgotten Realms. The Dragonlance franchise has become 'dated' and I think its time for Wizards to focus on what makes money and is popular, not nostalgia.

A FR movie would be more than fine as long as it's not a movie about a single fated hero saving the world, which in FR is sadly more probable than DL or most other settings due to the strong presence of Elminster, Drizz't and many other powerhouses.

Drizz't is probably the more popular D&D character out there and the temptation will be huge. I haven't read DL in a long, long time and yes, it may read dated but the tale is strong enough to become a good movie imho, time has not that much influence in how strong a story is. The tale of the brothers mainly really impressed me back then.

Ehi, they made a pretty decent Troy movie out of a "dated" tale...

But really, a FR movie would be more than nice to me, FR surely is "standard D&D fantasy".

Better yet, if (but it's a huge IF) they can both make a great D&D movie AND base it on a new story, with compelling new characters and an intriguing surrounding world it may even be the forthcoming of a new setting...I'd love it, if they can make it right.

You know what? I'd really love something refreshing like the very, very old D&D spirit of characters more like a band of mercenaries looking for riches than heroes saving the world from disaster. Life or death situations, bigger than life but somehow antiheoroic characters.

In other words, a party of BRONNs (from Game of Thrones) and Raistlins and perhaps some less evil version of Entreri trying to carve a place in history. That's what we all really played when we were kids, I think.

At least that would be new :)
 

Remathilis

Legend
Interesting thought...

Would the Lost Mines of Phandelver (streamlined and subquests removed) work?

Its not world shaking, it features some classic foes (drow, orcs, goblins, and such), has a ready-made set of characters (the pre-gens; since they have minis and are on the DM screen already; they even have backgrounds and personalities. All they need is names). And it wouldn't be EPIC, but it'd be a good enough conclusion to springboard to later sequels.

Best of all: WotC could use the movie to sell Starters boxes (relive the adventure!)
 

Flexor the Mighty!

18/100 Strength!
You know what? I'd really love something refreshing like the very, very old D&D spirit of characters more like a band of mercenaries looking for riches than heroes saving the world from disaster. Life or death situations, bigger than life but somehow antiheoroic characters.

In other words, a party of BRONNs (from Game of Thrones) and Raistlins and perhaps some less evil version of Entreri trying to carve a place in history. That's what we all really played when we were kids, I think.

At least that would be new :)

I totally agree. But WoTC has its focus on every party being the Fellowship of the Ring and saving the world so I'm guessing that is where movie efforts would go. To be D&D was always a group of people looking to pull riches out of some abandoned tomb and fighting various horrors in the process.
 

aramis erak

Legend
Yet, despite having the exact same power behind it, and a far more established fiction, John Carter flopped badly.

We were discussing the idea of using established D&D fiction as the basis for a movie. My point is that lots of successful movies have been based on much, much less than a full series of novels, and done quite well.

And John Carter had major deviations from the books, which lack major fanbases anymore anyway. Great movie... but not Barsoom to those who have read the books, and too much glossed over for those who haven't.

In short, it was a great tribute, but not a good intro, and what was needed was a good intro. If they hadn't crammed two novels' worth into one movie...

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.

The D&D cartoon did that...
So did John Carter (movie) and the Barsoom novels, albeit historical person, not modern person.
So also did Twain's Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, along with the movies based upon same.
And Brigadoon (movie). Award Winning, at that.
And Wizard of Oz.
Thomas Covenant, too.

Princess Bride turns the trope on its head - the framing device is that it's a bedtime story being read to a boy... both excusing the fantasy and enabling voice-over narrative introduction.

In fact, it's the most common trope that comes to mind in "Fantasy that sells"...
 

Galendril

Explorer
If I were King of the World, I'd hire Joss Whedon to write the script. I'd give him every module, book, setting source material, and computer game ever made for D&D for reference. My only instruction would be to make a movie he'd enjoy watching. :)
 

Majoru Oakheart

Adventurer
In fact, it's the most common trope that comes to mind in "Fantasy that sells"...
Yeah, it's a pet peeve of mine. It appears to be impossible to have a fantasy movie WITHOUT framing it in terms of "The main character is from modern day earth and is brought into this world." Apparently audiences won't accept fantasy movies unless they have something to relate to.

Almost every fantasy movie that tried to be a fantasy movie from beginning to end has done rather poorly in the box office except for Lord of the Rings. Now that Lord of the Rings has primed audiences, I'm hoping we can finally get past this trope but I have a feeling that writers are too used to using it and will continue doing so. There's a bunch of new movies that use it. Young Adult fiction is rife with it. It is always about some average teenager who finds out they are secretly a wizard/alien/galactic princess/heir to a kingdom in another dimension and so on.

Yes, even Guardians of the Galaxy used it. It isn't always a horrible trope but I really would like them to just stop.
 

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