Thursday, July 31, 2014

Dungeons & Dragons (2000)

Directed by Courtney Solomon
Runtime: 108 minutes

         A rather quick bit of background information about Dungeons & Dragons. In the early 70's Gary Gygax and some of his friends created a set of rules so their miniature war game heroes and generals had something else to. This lead to (at the time this was written) five editions of the game and has inspired hundreds more games similar to Dungeons & Dragons. The game itself defaults to a fantasy world with swords and magic but with some work and imagination can be adapted to whatever the people playing want it to be. So your experience can range from your all time favorite B movie to something Godfrey Ho would give up on.
        Because the source material is so broad it is easy to see how difficult it would be to make a film that appeals to both the fans of the game and a general movie going audience. However what got filmed is a flawed generic fantasy adventure movie with a lot of wasted talent.

        From the opening info dump it is explained that their is magic in the world and humans who use magic are nobles. Humans who can't use magic and anyone who is not human is more than welcome to have no say in this society. Also the Child Empress and Jeremy Irons are both seeking the useless rod of plot momentum. After some average computer generated castle footage for the budget of film the movie cut to Jeremy Irons having a lot of fun being evil and dining on the scenery. He is trying to make his own useless rod of plot momentum. It fails and forces Jeremy Irons to be evil by using politics skill instead of his make artifacts skill.
         The frame shifts to our heroes, generic rouge hero and Marlon Wayans comic relief character number one. Marlon Wayans is funny and he can act when given the right material. This movie however was far from ideal for him. So our two heroes deiced to rob the school of magic because generic rouge hero hates magic users because the obvious coming romance and the plot demand it. In the school of magic, the wizard love interest is helping in the search for the useless rod of plot momentum. Our heroes interrupt her search and Jeremy Iron's goon squad captain and his friends interrupt them. So they use magic to meet the fourth member of their party the second comic relief character and together they all escape.
         Our heroes hide out in the busiest tavern and study a map that leads to the useless rod of plot momentum. Well the map is magical and only works when the characters destined to be in love with other touch the map. Before the other characters can complain the goon squad with their captain show up and a bar fight is started by shouting "Bar Fight!". The dwarf comic relief and Marlon Wayans seek out in the chaos and meet up with the two dimension elf ranger. She only part of the movie is to find the party and sometimes fight. In fact her dialog is so dull I can not recall a single thing she said in the entire film. But before boredom can set in, our two love birds return from the map and tell instead of show where the useless rod of plot momentum is. Also in order to get the rod the group must first get the McGuffin Ruby and that is located in the thieves guild in the city of Out of the Way.
          Richard O'Brien is the thief guild master and is rather over talented for the role and material. Our generic hero goes through the maze holding the McGuffin Ruby and defeats all the traps to get the McGuffin Ruby. However the goon squad with their captain show again, kidnap the love interest, and get attacked by the awesomeness of Richard O'Brien and his hired goons. Being the heroes they naturally go to rescue the love interest who forgot she could save herself with magic. At the base camp of the evil goons, the non-human characters wait for the human heroes to save the love interest, and Marlon Wayans' character get killed off needlessly.
          With our generic hero injured the movie detours to a blue ewok village that is bigger on the inside than the outside. There Tom Baker (Dr Who's fourth doctor) patches up the hero and explains why the rod of plot momentum is so important. The rod controls dragons and the Child Empress also has a rod that controls dragons and if both rods are used to control dragons. If both rods are used then dragons will kill each other and all of creation will get the middle finger. So the generic hero gets the rod and surprise the goon squad with their captain show up.
          This leads into the third act were Jeremy Irons is just having even more fun being evil and commanding average looking computer generated dragons. Sadly the movie ends in a rather predictable manor and leaves one with the impression that they have wasted their lives watching it. 

          This was a badly written movie. The characters are worse than stereotypes and calling this movie a plot is about the nicest thing I can say about the plot. The computer generated was mostly used to good effect and the practical effects are impressive. Also the movie is paced like an action adventure movie. It would have been a better action adventure film if it was not so generic and written by a couple of twelve year old who just wrote their first Dungeons & Dragons game/film. This also makes for a great drinking game movie, which is the only reason I would recommend a sane person to watch this movie.

MVT: The skeleton holding the useless rod of plot momentum. The skeleton is a shining example of why practical effects done right are always better than computer generated.

Make or Break:  Break, badly written characters, stupid plot, writers who did not understand the source material or cared.

Score:  1.3 out of 10

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