Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (2023) Review

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Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (2023): 10 out of 10: is a tale of revenge, redemption, and family set in the rich and dynamic world of the Forgotten Realms.

The story centers around former Harper Edgin Darvis (Chris Pine), who, after a tragedy involving the murder of his wife (Georgia Landers) by disciples of a Red Wizard, turned to a life of thievery along with his daughter Kira (Chloe Coleman) and companion, the barbarian Holga Kilgore (Michelle Rodriguez). They form a band with the amateur sorcerer Simon Aumar (Justice Smith), cunning rogue Forge Fitzwilliam (Hugh Grant), and his mysterious associate, Sofina (Daisy Head). When a plan to steal a “Tablet of Reawakening” to resurrect Edgin’s wife goes awry, Edgin and Holga are incarcerated while their co-conspirators flee.

Two years pass in Revel’s End, an arctic prison, from where the duo escape only to find that Forge has claimed lordship over Neverwinter, manipulating Kira against her father and revealing his betrayal in collaboration with Sofina, a Red Wizard.

To prove their innocence to Kira and resurrect Edgin’s wife, Edgin and Holga plan to rob Forge’s vault during the reinstated High Sun Games. With the aid of Simon and newly recruited druid Doric (Sophia Lillis), they seek the Helm of Disjunction to bypass the vault’s magical defenses. There are a few different plans… none quite work out as well…planned.

The Good

The Good: The genius of Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is that it is a heist film set in the Dungeons & Dragons universe rather than a straightforward Dungeons and Dragons film. This allows people unfamiliar with D & D to enjoy the film on its own merits. It also allows the writers/ directors pack the film to the brim with nods and asides to D & D as a whole and the Forgotten Realms universe within in particular without worrying it would interfere with the story.

To make matters even better, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is a superb heist film. It sticks with the in universe rules and yet surprises with a perfect logic that is available to all watching. In other worlds it doesn’t cheat and its sexy redhead’s power is to turn into an Owlbear rather than make one wonder what the hell does Andy Garcia see in this woman to begin with?

I have a list of little things I loved down below, but let me give an example of where one’s mind can go. The film starts with jail seemingly right out of Game of Thrones. They bring in a prisoner and it is a dead ringer for Martia from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. No, not the gorgeous Iman, but the monster version.

A bunch of hilarious shenanigans later and Chris Pine and Michelle Rodriguez escape the prison and wouldn’t you know it? They are travelling together on a glacier identical to the one Kirk and McCoy used when they escaped Rura Pentre. This can’t be a coincidence, can it? (Particularly with Chris Pine aka Captain Kirk himself leading the trek.)

In retrospect, I realize the prison was a lot more Star Trek’s Rura Pentre than say Game of Thrones’ Dungeons of the Eyrie. And though I can’t prove it, I have to believe it is on purpose. There are a ton of nods and little details like that in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves from rust monsters fighting over scraps of metal in the corner of a scene to the world’s cutesiest cat people ever. This is a finally crafted film that has been polished to a shine.

The Bad

The Bad: I don’t know if it was Hugh Grant’s delivery, or the jokes given to him, but some of his bits seemed forced. Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is a naturally funny film, so the somewhat forced bits stick out more. I usually like Hugh Grant and outside of the humor piece, he is fine in this.

There is no Ugly, so here is a random list of other things I loved about Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

The Harper sigil looks like a good version of the Irish flag.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves does a marvellous job of not just filling in some back story naturally but setting up a cute punchline with why they’re waiting for this one guy to come in (Jarnathan!!)

Speaking of movie references, Daisy Head does a perfect Donald Sutherland with her Invasion of the Body Snatchers shriek.

It’s a nice friendship/relationship between our two main characters (Pine and Rodríguez) and I like the way they made Chris Pine a decent bard that can cheer up his friend.

The dead Viking soldiers, with five questions for each bit, is excellent. They have to dig up each grave individually to put together the story. Each one is more hilarious than the last. There really are a lot of splendid set pieces in this movie.

And yes, I love the fat dragon as well, and the undead assassins. Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves has a really strong second act.

In Conclusion

In Conclusion: I originally gave this movie a nine, but you know what? This is the perfect D & D film. I have seen it twice now and not just did it hold up on second viewing, but I caught a bunch of new things that I loved. Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves does so many things right. I cannot list them all. When all is said and done, it is a funny, heartwarming and fun film.

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