Dungeons and Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God.

August 27, 2006

I TiVoed this movie off the Sci Fi channel and finally got around to watching it while I rode our spinning bike.  I expected the movie to be, well, ass.  Almost every other type of movie or media or what have you associated with the game has been terrible.  I didn’t feel like walking downstairs to get a DVD, so I took a chance.  I was well rewarded.

You have to understand my perspective on this.  I watched Bloodrayne in it’s entirety while exercising.  In other words, there’s not a lot that I can’t make it through (although I didn’t make it through Team America World Police, that truly sucked).

Is D&DWotDG as good as LoTR?  Don’t be silly.  Is it better than Bloodrayne?  Yes, by an order of magnitude.  The acting in D&DWotDG is very good.  I suspect they picked up a cast of stage actors who, while unknown, have journeyman skills.  Next, it’s well shot.  The scenes are well framed and it successfully makes you believe that you’re in medieval fantasy world.  Along with the good cinematography, it’s well directed.  Finally, considering the genre, the writing is strong.

If you want to see a live action D&D story told in a movie, this is the benchmark.  It felt like a campaign that opened up before my eyes.  I appreciated the attention to history of the game as well.  The goblin camp looked like a goblin camp.  There were references to D&D deities and everything fit without being corny and without looking like an expensive fan film.

I was thrilled.  Roy Marsden was particularly excellent, but the whole cast was strong.  At times, the acting rose to Masterpiece Theater level (at times).  It also sort of reminded me of HBO’s Rome series.  I guess because that was a bunch of competent unknown actors in well shot, well written, well directed story too.

This movie should be seen by every director in the future who wants to shoot a fantasy movie.  The message should be:  if you can’t do as well as this, don’t do it.  Don’t give us another Bloodrayne.  Don’t give us horrifically bad schlock.  Don’t blow your money on name actors, just look for Shakespearian stage experience.  Give us competence in all categories.  If you can’t do it, don’t bother.


3 Responses to “Dungeons and Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God.”

  1. SeniorGato Says:

    I remember going to watch the DnD movie that came out in theaters a while back. I was psyched. It was going to have a killer maze sequence. Of course, the maze sucked, along with the characters and the storyline was weak. I dont know if this is the same movie, but if it’s better than it, I’d be happy they did something good with DnD in theaters.

  2. Bendio Says:

    This movie was miles better than the first Dungeons and Dragons Movie. Now, it wasn’t as good as HBO’s Rome (Having rented that and watched the whole thing through in one sitting, all the while recognizing many of the actors from the “Nero” movie I rented the week before), I was however pleased that it was quite true to the feel and excitement of the game. Not exactly a stellar movie, but definatley something you can watch without having to gouge your eyes out when you’ve got nothing better to do.

    Heck, I remember the poorly-written reference to character levels in the first movie (I can’t do that! I’m only a low level mage!), which haunts me to this day and almost prevented me from the second.

  3. This film is the sequel to the first “Dungeons & Dragons” film, and it’s certainly a lot better. The makers sensibly decided to set it a century later, meaning that they could avoid having any of the characters, settings, or anything much from the first film, although it’s nominally set in the same place. This means not only that none of the astoundingly irritating characters from the first film have made it into this one, but also that you don’t have to endure the first film should you wish to appreciate this one. The only real continuity is Damodar, who was Jeremy Irons’ henchman in the first film but has now racked up sufficient XP to remove his blue lipstick and become a main villain in his own right. This film is much better written, balanced, acted, and generally made than the first one – although it’s a shame not to have cameos from the likes of Richard O’Brien and Tom Baker, who provided the only good moments of the first film. Although shot on a lower budget than the original, I thought that the special effects were mostly more convincing, and it’s also much truer to the spirit of the original game. The characters are more interesting and sympathetic, too, and while the film doesn’t try to be as “wacky” in places as the first one, the few moments of humour are actually funny, which is an improvement. My only real complaint with this film was that the opening scene – in which our hero jousts with his former student and current replacement, and thinks he’s won until the young buck tells him that he only let him win and that he’s past it – sets up an interesting bit of tension that leads absolutely nowhere and is never referred to again.

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