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  • Writer's pictureVariant Magazine

Dungeons and Dragons is For All, Not Just Geeks

Updated: Oct 24, 2023

Bekah Bostick, Associate Editor

Nerd or not, “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” is a hilarious must see. Directed by Jonathan M. Goldstein and John Francis Daley, the movie follows Edgin and his band of adventurers on a quest to retrieve a lost relic; however, like most action movies, things quickly take a turn when the group runs into the wrong people, causing a whole mess of issues they have to attempt to overcome. Just a note- it is not necessary for the audience to have seen any of the previous Dungeons and Dragons movies or have any knowledge about the game, though if you do some research you might not sit there as confused as I did.

The original Dungeons and Dragons game was created in 1974 by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. The game itself is a table-top fantasy role playing game where players create their own characters with a class and rank up the more games they play. The person in charge of the game is called the “Dungeon Master” and they create and lead the players on this on-going adventure. Individual players are able to determine how their characters respond to the events the DM throws their way. However, their success is solely based on their roll of one of the many die, one even having up to 20 sides.

Packed with a star-studded cast, “Honor Among Thieves” was surprisingly hilarious. Chris Pine played the lead as Edgin and was a very believable bard (someone who is able to access their magic or abilities through any form of artistic expression, or in this case, playing the lute). Holga, played by a phenomenal Michelle Rodriquez, is Edgin’s best friend and has stuck by his side ever since his daughter was born. She’s a barbarian who protects the group from danger with impressive fighting capabilities. There were a few cameos that were pleasing to the eye as well like Regé-Jean, playing Xenk, and even Bradley Cooper, playing Holga’s ex-husband (he was only in it for about four minutes and looked so different I could not figure out who the actor was until I looked it up that night).

The best actor by far was Hugh Grant who played human rogue Forge Fitzwilliam. After the interview at the Oscars that got plenty of backlash where he was not interested in answering any questions, his performance in “Honor Among Thieves” was worrisome to say the least. In the film, though, Grant was able to make the audience forget about his uncomfortable interview while playing a kooky fantasy character. His costuming makes him nearly unrecognizable the first time he is shown on screen, though you can tell that it’s him based on his voice alone. His character arch irritated the crap out of me, but that’s because Grant was able to play such an annoying character so well. I love Hugh Grant, most of my favorite movies have him in them, but I was amazed with how well he did in this make-believe movie.

Like most Gen Zers (unless you have a really cool parent that used to play the game), found out about Dungeons and Dragons through Netflix’s “Stranger Things.” However, unlike the Netflix show, “Honor Among Thieves” takes place in the world of Dungeons and Dragons. It doesn’t show anyone playing the game nor does it have a narrator explaining the next steps.

“Honor Among Thieves” felt very similar to “Thor Ragnarok” in many ways. The humor was very similar, the smallest little things getting the audience to giggle like Simon, played by Justice Smith, calling a dragon “chunky.” The Grandmaster in Ragnarok, played by Jeff Goldblum, reminded me of Grant’s character the whole time. Thor’s sister Helga was also very similar to Sofina, the villain in “Honor Among Thieves.” Sofina was just a little funnier and much creepier. Edgin and his posse end up playing in a tournament toward the end of the movie, attempting to still find the relic, and they end up in a maze. I thought that this was very similar to “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” minus the wands and creepy bald villain wanting to kill children. Just like the two mentioned movies, some context to the films would be helpful, but it’s not detrimental for an audience to enjoy them. I understood the story line and what was going on for “Honor Among Thieves,” I just most-likely missed small details and references to the game since I don’t play.

The one complaint that I have is that the runtime is 2 hours and 14 minutes. This was a very long movie. Yes, it was action packed and kept me engaged, but when there are six main characters and each backstory is shown, it gets very time consuming and it felt like at certain parts they were adding things to take up time. The six main characters were all important as well because they all showed a different character used in D&D, but twenty minutes could have easily been cut off and no storyline would’ve been lost.

“Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” takes the audience captive in its hilarious story-telling of the once popular role-playing game. The actors embody their characters, no matter if they are playing a human, wood elf or wizard. The ending did make me tear up, making me roll my eyes at myself for crying at such a ridiculous movie. Whether you grew up playing the game, read the comics that came out in the 80s, recently found out about it because of some Netflix show, or love a specific British asshole and watch every movie he’s in, “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” is enjoyable for all, no matter what your self-proclaimed dweeb-level is.

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