Dungeons & Dragons – Honor Among Thieves, review: a campaign that wants to include everyone

Dungeons & Dragons – Honor Among Thieves, review: a campaign that wants to include everyone

Dungeons & Dragons – Honor Among Thieves, review

Initially many people feared that Dungeons & Dragons – Honor Among Thieves would be a film only for fans, and fortunately it was not so, since we are faced with a film that manages to speak both those familiar with role-playing than newbies. The two directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein have built a narrative which, also drawing from the classic models of the fantasy genre, is both inclusive and exclusive.

The infinite possibilities of a Dungeons and Dragons campaign come to life and form in Honor Among Thieves, outlining a journey for both the detail-conscious enthusiast and those who want to be transported into a vast and fantastical world. As with other projects that move in the same vein, such as The Legend of Vox Machina for example, we are not talking about a mannered fantasy film, but a real journey that tries to blend together what D&D players experience in their campaigns and the creative and imaginary potential that such an experience can leave you with.

--> These two dimensions, that of the countryside with friends and that of fantasy cinema, here arrive at a sort of compromise in which the story unfolds through two languages, speaking simultaneously and for the whole time two languages ​​that address two types of different viewers. Hence the both inclusive and exclusive features of the path that branches out along a road that can be easily traveled by all, and is also quite interesting in promotional terms.

Dungeons & Dragons – The honor of thieves : ready a new campaign

The story behind Dungeons and Dragons – Honor among Thieves is quite simple and classic: a group of thieves embark on an impossible quest that will cost them everything. While some of them will pay the previous choices with the law, someone else will take advantage of the situation by triggering a new quest even crazier than the previous one. The new venture starts from Elgin (Chris Pine), an ex-spy with a troubled past who seeks in a "tablet" the answer to all his problems, and a weapon with which to finally erase the ghosts he carries within. He is joined by Holga (Michelle Rodriguez) a very strong and impetuous barbarian also with a complicated past, and Simon Aumar (Justice Smith) a sorcerer with an important lineage and Doric (Sophia Lillis) a tiefling druid, whose mysterious personal motivations, the lead to accepting to follow them in the enterprise. The group's goal is to remedy the choices of the past, trying to improve their world for the future.

--> Starting from a not too original incipit, a rather unexpected path will originate in terms of specific details, introducing viewers to a world that is extremely familiar to D&D enthusiasts, and fascinating for all the others (reminding you that it has also been expanded with the publication of a prequel comic published by Panini , Dungeons & Dragons: La Festa della Luna, which you can buy on Amazon , at the center of which you will find some unpublished adventures of the protagonists, and 2 prequel novels , Dungeons & Dragons: La Strada per Neverwinter by Jaleigh Johnson, in which we have the origins of the relationship between some characters with other events, and Dungeons & Dragons: Doric the druid , by E.K. Jonhston, which explores the character in the title).

The funniest features of the various situations proposed, of course, are further expanded if you have minimal experience with the role-playing game, resulting in god highly appreciated even by those who have never tried it. The "countryside" spirit remains a constant in every single shot, merging with a story that knows how to speak to the general public, trying both to introduce something new and to wink at those who love the D&D universe .

Lore or not lore?

--> It is useless to deny it, Dungeons & Dragons – The honor of thieves is obviously full of elements easily recognizable by those who have made one or more campaigns in the famous game. Starting even only from the characterization of the protagonists, many typical traits of their belonging classes are recognized, even if properly smoothed by the script and by the interpretation of the actors. Is this a bad thing? Absolutely not, also because the rendering on the big screen works just fine, and manages to speak even to all newbies of the game. Each character refers to his own class, constantly reminding us of a fundamental detail from the beginning to the end of the film: it is the players (in this case the screenwriters) who make the difference in a world that always and in any case follows universally recognized rules.

Starting from such an assumption, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor among Thieves  outlines a narrative that takes the characteristics of a specific world and reinterprets it according to a completely personal taste that soon becomes light and unpredictable humor, just like it happens in a real campaign with your friends in D&D. At the same time, however, he tries in every way to simplify the proposed cultural fabric, triggering the events within a lore that is sometimes more open and sometimes more closed. This allows everyone to understand what is happening on screen, even if a lot of explanations are closed to non-gamers. Very probably, during the writing phase, the choice was made to prefer a language, even narrative, purely connected with images, and less with "explanations" of the circumstances.

Thus we find ourselves entangled in a story that literally throws to the viewer a lot of very amusing and unpredictable finds, and at the same time not too in-depth, but still easily understandable in the course of events. Much more, unfortunately, is taken for granted, alienating those who are not accustomed to either the typical terminologies of D&D or its rules, while others are facilitated so that they can positively impact everyone.

The biggest flaw of the film is precisely that of not delving into many of the things that appear on the screen, proposing a world made up of names (of places, animals, spells, characters and much more) that are extremely familiar for enthusiasts but simply lateral for those who are not experts. Even if the D&D lore is not too invasive in the plot, it is still predominant in outlining the context surrounding the group of protagonists. Such a choice can both exclude, at least initially, and arouse a certain type of interest in the game and everything that surrounds it, even if the initial reaction to certain details will always be partial compared to that of regular players, unfortunately.

Telling your story with your heart

From a formal point of view, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor among Thieves is a film that shows that you really care about what it is telling. All the love towards the proposed material is clear and tangible from start to finish, in a story that is not too original as a whole, in more macro terms, but still interesting when you look at the specific characterization of some completely unexpected details.

Starting from a "campaign" with rather classic hues, Jonathan Goldstein , John Francis Daley and Michael Gilio , the screenwriters, outline a journey that alternates singular moments, to a world that is only waiting to be explored and which, in the end, leaves many things unfinished, hopefully deliberately. In all of this takes over the touch of directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein and the way in which they have decided to tell the proposed events, opting for an extremely dynamic direction as a whole and ready to launch after the follies that the protagonists themselves experience . It is not possible to promote the CGI with full marks which, in some moments, falters influencing the general atmosphere and generating a rather obvious stylistic detachment from everything else.

On balance Dungeons & Dragons – L'onore dei thieves is an adventure that cares about what it tells, and this is one of its most important and interesting features in the flood of things it offers. The plot, albeit with some indecision, is pleasant both for game experts and for all the others, highlighting a beating heart both in terms of writing and general care (even with its flaws). To frame the narrative commitment we also find a soundtrack (composed by Lorne Balfe ) which leverages the fantasy elements of the story, offering a series of musical accompaniments that know how to transport far away.

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