Friday, October 31, 2014

Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God (2005)

Directed by: Gerry Lively
Runtime: 105 minutes

Dungeons and Dragons 2, the sequel no one wanted and some how managed to be better than the first film. Yes it is a straight to DVD release, yes it has large plot holes that they can double as a home for a family of four, yes it is kind of dumb, but better than the first movie.

The Captain of the Guard is back in this movie. In the opening credits he explains that he has been undead for a hundred years and is rather upset about that. Since he can't get revenge on the wizard that did this to him, he has set his sights on destroying the city he used to guard.  Luckily for him there is a McGuffin that can help him with his quest. So the opening credits show his journey as he acquires the McGuffin.

Elsewhere in the city that has no idea it is about to be destroyed, Lord Protagonist is ignoring his staff while watching a sword fight. Lord Protagonist used to be captain of the guard and studied to become a CPA. After a distinguished career Lord Protagonist is too old to go on adventures and is put in charge of the tax department. Though at the moment he is more interested in practicing with swords than listening to his staff. So leaving his staff to sputter about tax crap, the Lord finds a sword and some armour and challenges the new captain of the city guard. The new captain was a student of the Lord and is also studying to get his double major in being an Ass.

The two of them duel and the new captain lets the Lord win. After ordering his troops to leave the movie until the third act, the Ass shows the Lord the tip of a feather he cut off of the Lord's helmet. Explaining that if this feather was his neck he would have been killed due to old age. That's right, your neck moves sixteen inches above your head as you reach your late forties. So the Lord consoles himself by visiting his sorceress wife. She is studying the McGuffin wizard school of magic. 

Her attempts at learning McGuffin magic only result in her destroying a pair of gloves. Before she can bemoan the fact that she failed news arrives that there is trouble at the mountains. A couple of farmers went into the mountains and have not been seen again. Wanting to keep costs down Lord Protagonist and his wife volunteer to solve what happened to the farmers.

In the mountains they discover poison gas and a sleeping giant that is breathing out the poison gas. Not just any poison breathing dragon but a poison breathing dragon god that destroyed the McGuffin mages after they imprisoned it. Luckily for our heroes the McGuffin mages hid all their notes in the city library before they quit being mages and took up heavy drinking in a forest somewhere. So Lord Protagonist and his wife stay up all night studying notes that make no sense. Having no luck with that they resort to using magic to make sense of the notes.

This results in part of the library being destroyed, a fair sized chunk of the Sorceress' scalp being removed, and the plot advances in regards to the McGuffin magic.With the fate of the city on the line and the city guard unavailable until the third act there is only one thing to do, assemble a group of third party independent contractors. Lord Protagonist knows just the people that can be brought in to get the job done and because they all owe him a favour so the kingdom will not have to worry about paying them. We have a priest who hates people who wear shoes in holy places of worship, a barbarian warrior woman, a cynical and surly dwarf thief, and a elf teleportation specialist.

Together these five heroes will go forward to find the pool of plot acceleration. Back at the city, the Sorceress is dying due to the Captain of the Guard casting a increase drama spell on her. So in an attempt to make the McGuffin mage's notes readable she set them on fire and the notes become readable. Elsewhere, the fiscally responsible adventures stumble upon their first trap set by a lich (a wizard who's body has died by his mind and will keep going). The party escapes the trap but Lord Protagonist is starting to believe the Ass that he is too old for this kind of life.  

The adventures get closer to the pool of plot acceleration and they fall into another trap that kills the priest. Back in the city, the sorceress is destroying stuff in the name of research and decaying more. Our heroes use the pool of plot acceleration and the elf teleport specialist gets to do her thing. Sadly she teleports them into a trap and gets her hand stuck in stone. However, the Captain of the Guard created an easy to escape trap and our heroes escape with the McGuffin and race towards the city and the third act.

The mages find the McGuffin mage's lair under the city, the Ass and the city guard return, and the dragon god wakes up. The Ass dies and there is much rejoicing by me. The movie ends with a happy and predictable conclusion.

For all the crap I have given this movie it really is not that bad. I have no problem recommending renting this movie or watching it on Netflix. It is a better popcorn fantasy movie than it has any right to be.

MVT: The director was able to mix practical effects with cgi effects to keep the viewer in the movie.

Make or Break: What makes this movie for me is the plot's ability to capture the feel of being on an adventure created by someone who took a crapload of dice and made something entertaining up.

Score: 5.2 of 10

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