Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves just premiered at SXSW, so unlike many large-scale fantasy movies that gets social media reactions first and reviews later, D&D has full reviews right out of the gate. And as of this writing, they’re all positive. Given the party atmosphere at SXSW, that’s not entirely surprising. But what is surprising is that this seems to work just as well for viewers familiar with the game as for utter noobs.
In the latter category, Owen Gleiberman of Variety, who’s no easy mark for fantasy, and says he’s spent most of his life actively avoiding Dungeons & Dragons, writes, “It’s at once cheesy and charming, synthetic and spectacular, cozily derivative and rambunctiously inventive, a processed piece of junk-culture joy that, by the end, may bring a tear to your eye.”
Coming from more of an RPG-player’s perspective, Kate Sanchez at But Why Tho notes that, “it embraces the chaos of an actual D&D game. From failing spells and plans to freak accidents of luck, it’s all in there, especially in the film’s climactic final fight. There, each party member does their best to get an attack off, and somehow, the action of it all captured a fight at the end of a campaign that has devolved into a free for all.”
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Lovia Gyarkye at THR plays both sides, calling the film, “an adaptation that will appeal to the nostalgic side of existing fans and entertain those whose eyes glaze over at the mention of Dungeon Masters, bards or druids.”
Richard Whittaker at The Austin Chronicle actually compiles stats for the various characters, (he gives Chris Pine’s Edgin “-3 on usefulness in a fight, +1,000 in enthusiasm”) finally deciding that, “It may be the most perfect jumping-on point for first-timers since the release of the 2nd edition in 1989. Don’t know what that this? Doesn’t matter. Honor Among Thieves is a big, bright, iridescent gem of a heist movie in a spectacular, vibrant, and fantastical world. And, seriously, do you really need to know your Orcs of Thar from your Vault of the Dracolich to enjoy Pine and Rodriguez bickering…or appreciate the deeply creepy performance by Daisy Head as the sinister wizard, Sofina?”
Jacob Hall at Slashfilm finds the movie “powered by humor and heart, a take that is more Princess Bride with big action than grim ‘n’ gritty dark fantasy. It can’t help but feel like a specific take torn straight from someone’s table — even if the movie doesn’t feel like your Dungeons & Dragons, it feels vividly like someone’s Dungeons & Dragons.”
As of this writing, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves stands at 100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, with ten reviews filed. While that’s sure to change, it’s a promising start.
What do you make of this first round of reviews? Let us know in comments.
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