Directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein’s spin on the beloved fantasy game received a commendable 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. The cast lineup for the film is stacked with veterans like Chris Pine and Hugh Grant, as well as new faces like Justice Smith. The film is a continuation of “The Forgotten Realms,” a fantasy world created by Ed Greenwood in the 60s. Lovers of the fantasy role-playing game can thank Greenwood for providing the world where “Dungeons & Dragons” was created and where the film “Honor Among Thieves” takes place.
The strength of “Honor Among Thieves” lies in the film’s emotional center. Navigating a fantasy world as rich as The Forgotten Realms is just not possible, especially in a film that’s as long as this one. Because of this, parts of this movie felt incomplete as the directors have the combined challenge of providing Tolkien-esque context for every aspect of the film as well as maintaining a reasonable pace. This means that the weapons, locations, and characters all have complex backstories, highlighting the reality that a live-action movie format cannot fully encapsulate the complexity of Dungeons & Dragons. Amid the haphazard storytelling, what kept me engaged during this film was the relationship between the characters throughout their quest.
As a longtime fan of the pseudo-board game, I loved this film. However, there are undeniable issues in translating fantasy worlds into live action films, one of the issues being how gimmicky the CGI looked in this movie. Additionally, because the world of animation is quickly making strides to match the quality of live action movies, I think “Honor Among Thieves” would have been much better if it was animated.
As a lover of all things fantasy, one of the biggest challenges is finding the balance between keeping the attention of new fans in the genre and long-time appreciators. This is one of the film’s strong suits, and I appreciated the way the directors mixed classic fantasy tropes with creative interpretations.
Overall, both people who are new to the fantasy genre and long-time lovers of Dungeons & Dragons will appreciate this movie. In the future, I think creators in this genre should consider moving into other film mediums as the genre itself is rich with possibility for different adaptations. That being said, I thought “Honor Among Thieves” was a solid take on the genre and the greater world of the “Forgotten Realms.”