AV Brew: Dungeons & Dragons|Honor Among Thieves
Edgin is a man who is wallowing in grief. Despite having a beautiful, loving child in Kira, and an amazing best friend in Holga he still can’t get past the death of his beloved wife Zia. So, despite even his own instincts, he chooses to go on one last job to restore to him what he’s lost.
… It doesn’t go well.
And so our adventure begins and our titular band is formed, each embodying a different stage of grief. There’s the aforementioned Edgin, who’s denial is so strong that he’ll risk everything instead of seeing and treasuring what’s right in front of him. Holga, whose anger at all she’s lost is fueling her need to prove herself, even though she has nothing to prove to anyone, as she is well loved by those around her, who would gladly die for her any day of the week. Doric who is constantly bargaining her life for others in an attempt to protect those who’ve loved her unconditionally. Simon whose depression and self-doubt keeps him from fully becoming who he’s meant to be and finally Xenk, who has accepted his losses, circumstances and the consequences of his actions and has determined that for as long as he’s on this plane of existence he’ll do his best to make sure no one suffers what he’s gone through.
Together they go on an epic quest to save not only themselves but to rectify the mistakes of the past and it’s absolutely wonderful.
Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is everything those of us who love the IP have been wanting after one lackluster adaptation after another. Funny, thoughtful, full of heart and sass the film starts off with one of the best intros to a set of characters I’ve ever seen and keeps picking up steam from there. To say anything else would be to spoil the film, and you absolutely do not want that, suffice to say the trailers only hinted at the level of awesome to come.
The performances are what make this movie work, though the effects: a fantastic combination of practicals and subtle CGI; definitely stand out. Chris Pine leads the way as the charming, selfish, heartbroken Edgin. Always looking for a quick fix and somehow always making things worse Pine, and the writers, make a character who could easily be one note into something more, whose pain is just barely masked. Michelle Rodriguez reminds us that she can, in fact, act when she wants to, giving Holga a gentleness that is unexpected and genuine. Justice Smith is adorable as ever, showing why he was able to carry an entire film with just him and several CGI Pokemon, while Sophia Lillis and Chloe Coleman as Doric and Kira respectively bring heart as two girls who were abandoned by the people who were supposed to care for them and reacted in very different ways.
However, in a film full of amazing performances, the stand-outs, hands down, are Hugh Grant and Regė-Jean Page as Forge and Xenk respectively. Grant is clearly having the time of his life as con-man Forge, an absolute slime bag who is still so affably evil that you have a hard time rooting against him even when you want to. Then there’s Page. I’ll be honest, I was never on the Bridgerton train, as much as I love a good period drama, especially one where BIPOCs are represented (as we didn’t just spring into existence in the 20th century, despite what we’re (not) taught) I’m not a Shonda Rhimes fan; I’ve tried, with each show and it’s just not for me. So, beyond knowing that he was beautiful and that everyone I knew was a little in love with him, Page never really registered on my radar.
That’s all changed. Page’s Xenk is an absolute delight. As I said to my companion, if Drax and Spock had the world’s most beautiful son, it would be Xenk. Xenk, a warrior-monk Paladin, has very much embodied the trope of living in the world but not being of the world. He’s constantly out helping others in any way he can but, due to his isolation and upbringing, he quite simply does not understand colloquialisms or sarcasm. That being said, he is not without humor and one of my favorite things in the film is watching him actively troll the other characters, Edgin most of all. Honestly, Zachary Quinto had better watch his back because Pine and Page’s chemistry together is off the charts and for the first time since Star Trek Pine has someone who truly meets him at his level and then goes higher.
The only place the film truly stumbles is with Sofina; though Daisy Head is engaging whenever she’s on screen and brings a quiet menace to her scenes we just don’t see enough of her to really be compelled by her either way.
Overall, this was an excellent franchise starter and I cannot wait to see where our thieves’ next adventure takes them, and us.
4.5 Hither/Thither Sticks
PS: There are several amazing cameos for those who are looking for it, especially for those who love the 1983 show!
Thank you to Allied Marketing and Paramount Pictures for the advanced screening!
Dungeon and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves Directed by: John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein
Written by: John Francis Daley; Jonathan Goldstein; Michael Gilio
Cast: Chris Pine; Michelle Rodriguez; Regé-Jean Page; Justice Smith; Sophia Lillis; Hugh Grant; Daisy Head; Chloe Coleman; Georgia Landers; Sarah Amankwah
I laughed at the idea of a Drax and Spock lovechild- but I adore that pairing to explain Xenk!
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It really is the only way to explain him, lol! Thanks!
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Reblogged this on belleburr and commented:
Existing in the perfect sweet spot between #Willow and #LordOfTheRings #DungeonsAndDragons #HonorAmongThieves is a DELIGHT.