Dungeons and Dragons
A small band of adventurers, including Marlon Wayans and Justin Whalin as thieves and Zoe McClellan as a Mage Apprentice, sets out on a journey to free the Empire of Izmer from its oppressive rulers. Jeremy Irons stars as the evil mage Profion seeking to stop their dangerous quest.
What can one say about the movie, “Dungeons and Dragons” that won’t be construed as a reflection on the role-playing game that was the inspiration for this film? The game has destroyed many lives and families because of its residual effects on overzealous youngsters who lose site of reality in the magical fantasy world they create with paper and pen. A 1995 movie “Jumanji,” starred Robin Williams as a fanatical game player who became a victim of his own fixation. “Dungeons and Dragons,” the movie is a far cry from the game, except for a brief maze that Ridley (Whalin) must master to gain a prize. But, I’m supposed to be reviewing the movie, not the game. To its credit, this wizardly tale is amazingly free of sex, profanity and bloody gore. There are plenty of intensely violent fist fights and sword fights to go around and a few creepy crawlers thrown in for young moviegoers who like to go “yuck.” I had the strangest feeling I had seen this film before. Then, I realized that I was watching plagiarism of the lowest caliber. This movie could have been titled, “Hercules meets the Phantom Menace in Living Color.” The ethnic mixture of the cast was more a tribute to affirmative action than it was to the storyline. The exaggerated performances from Jeremy Irons as the evil wizard, Profion to Marlon Wayans as Ridley’s loose-as-a-goose sidekick, Snails – would have been better suited to an animated tale. As for Thora Birch’s portrayal of the Empress Savina, she recited her lines with the deftness of an amateur thespian reading cue cards. Millions was spent on special effects of the cgi kind, that looked more like those from TV’s “Hercules” and “Zena” than a major motion picture. All in all, “D and D” is a waste of time and money – unless, like me, you are stuck in a snow storm with nowhere else to go. I cannot recommend this film because of its inherent connection to the harmful and dangerous role-playing game it is associated with. If the adage is true that one thing can lead to another, why risk it? There are plenty of safer entertainment choices out there.