North Texas Daily

SXSW 2023: ‘Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves’ reimagines the action-comedy

SXSW 2023: ‘Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves’ reimagines the action-comedy

SXSW 2023: ‘Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves’ reimagines the action-comedy
March 12
04:25 2023

From icy prisons and fiery hell-scapes to weird, red magic that strangely resembles capillaries – “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” explores how far comedy can push an unpopular premise.

Chris Pine speaks during a Q&A session following the world premiere of “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” on March 10, 2023. Maddie Moore

Despite its die-hard fanbase, Dungeons and Dragons scarcely overlaps with the world of cinema. Besides hit show “Stranger Things,” D&D hasn’t been the main feature of a popular film since 2012’s “Dungeons and Dragons 3: The Book of Vile Darkness.”

“Honor Among Thieves” is not going to appeal to every moviegoer, especially those who lean towards dramatic, serious filmography. Its easy-going nature and constant spout of jokes appeal much more to the audiences looking for a light-hearted escape from reality — something the game of D&D itself provides to participants. 

Equipped with a budget of $151 million and one hell of a CGI department, “Honor Among Thieves” is set in the Forgotten Realms campaign. However, the environment is the last thing on the viewer’s mind. 

The film embarks on a journey of redemption and self-discovery through main character Edgin the Bard (Chris Pine) and his unlikely team of rebels: Holga the Barbarian (Michelle Rodriguez), Xenk the Paladin (Regé-Jean Page) and Simon the Sorcerer (Justice Smith). Not to mention the real star of the show, Hugh Grant’s character, Forge Fitzwilliam.

The cast of “Dungeons and Dragons: Horror Among Thieves” answers audience questions at their World Premiere on March 10, 2023. From left to right, Chris Pines, Michelle Rodrigues, Regé-Jean Page and Justice Smith stand on stage together. Rose Wright

If there’s one thing “Honor Among Thieves” does impressively well, it’s establishing lovable characters — which is not unrelated to its accredited cast. Grant does an effortless job at entertaining the audience with his flamboyant charm and unshakeable antics, while characters like Holga, Edgin and Simon make us fall in love with them through their resiliency and irregular quirks. 

Each cast member fantastically commits to the bit. Even when the script seems fanatical and overly self-indulgent, they lean into the quirkiness D&D is founded on, feeding the fantasy rather than trying to awkwardly ground it in reality. 

The film is packed with action, overflowing with snark and tied together with a strict plot line. In a fantasy world filled with creatures, magic and lore no one has heard of, it stays both surprisingly simplistic and extremely entertaining. 

Rarely are there moments where a joke, sarcastic remark or sassy one-liner is not said. While one would believe these bits would grow tiresome after the first 20 minutes, the actors commit to their parts so well the writing flows naturally and leads to organic-feeling interactions between characters. 

It’s no mistake why comedy plays such a big role in the film. It’s frequently used as a tool to create a comfortable atmosphere among the fat dragons and feathery owl-bears for the audience. Without it, the film would have been a difficult watch for people who know nothing about D&D. 

It’s not a conventional movie — when the funny isn’t flying, swords and arrows are. Epic action and fight sequences make up at least half the film, but they’re so well-choreographed and outrageous audiences don’t miss the dialogue. They have viewers entranced by the mythical creatures, scenery and freaky red-cloak-wearing, bald-headed tattooed wizards. 

Luckily the film was able to achieve its ambitious blend of action, comedy and fantasy due in no small part to the writing. Fun, heart-felt and accessible, “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” takes a long dive off a tall tower into a surprising storm of success. 

Rose’s rating: 5/5

Featured Image Cast and crew of “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” speak in a panel following the world premiere at SXSW on March 10, 2023. Rose Wright 

About Author

Rose Wright

Rose Wright

Related Articles


No Comments Yet!

There are no comments at the moment, do you want to add one?

Write a comment

Write a Comment

The Roundup

<script id="mcjs">!function(c,h,i,m,p){m=c.createElement(h),p=c.getElementsByTagName(h)[0],m.async=1,m.src=i,p.parentNode.insertBefore(m,p)}(document,"script","");</script>

Search Bar

Sidebar Thumbnails Ad

Sidebar Bottom Block Ad

Flytedesk Ad