As someone who spent time playing the game when I was younger, I have a little personal interest in seeing a film of Dungeons & Dragons done well. Sadly, my expectations are simply not that high. Fantasy is often not done well in the movies, and a hot property like the Dungeons & Dragons franchise is likely to create - from observations of other such transformations - a poor appearance on screen.
Well, there's no pleasant surprise here, unfortunately. The film is designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator. I don't care to learn the elements of the game - I already know them.
At times, this film wants to be an Indiana Jones movie. But mainly it just spends way too much time concentrating on the baddies and having our good guys be comic and personable. They even take out some of elements of the game, such clerics and a system of theology, that might come across as offensive to such groups that might make a ruckus. There's even hints of a christian god at work somewhere here.
It's not all bad. Some of the characters are occasionally interesting, but it's hard to overcome the overall juvenile nature of the film. It seems about right for someone in the range of 8-10 years old. Go younger and there's way too much violence, and those older may not be able to stand the blandness.
One last thing to rail at here - the ending sequence, aimed to be uplifting at the last moment goes too far and then fundamentally undermines one of the actually successful themes of the film.
It really is too much to hope for to have an adaption like the Lord of the Rings - that project at least had a good blueprint to follow, whereas Dungeons & Dragons is, by its nature, a collection of far flung ideas that leads to unlimited possibilities. The potential for a good film is there, but the majority of the paths will lead to crap like this.
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