Admittedly I am not a gamer, I only game through my daughter albeit D&D (as she calls it) is not her favourite. I decided to watch because I quite like Chris Pine. I watched him grew up on screen in many of his movies, Star Trek franchise, Wonder Women, This Means War (still one of my old time favourite for romance action movie more than a decade later), Princess Diaries and even Just My Luck, not to mention Jack Ryan. So I have watched him nearly 20 years and now here we are in a video game movie for a 42 years old (former) heartthrob. I was just curious how this movie for him given he has done Star Trek and Jack Ryan.
To begin with, I was not expecting funny storyline and rich with backstory (although the backstory is made up, but so is Lord of The Ring and Harry Potter, right ?), backstory that is decently interesting, however it is nothing like the video game. The story is about Edgin and mighty Holga who are pair of thieves with sad backstories who are caught on grand larceny and skullduggery. They then escaped and embarked on mission to get Edgin’s daughter back from shady character Forge who was once part of their team and now betrayed and stolen Edgin daughter and fortune with the help of Sofina who is a Thayan witch. Edgin and Holga then recruited Simon who is a wizard and Doric who is a shape shifting being as well supported by a former Thayan wizard and fighter named Xenk. The storybecome funny as screen writing delivered mountainous of funny irreverent dialogue lines across the movies.
The cast to me is truly stellar cast that elevate the movie to be an A class video game-based movie instead of B or even C class. Their elegantly choreograph acts able to make people forget this movie is indeed based on video game instead of some heavy duty science fiction book. Than Chris Pine witty acerbic acting at its best but with a touch of heart as father and husband as Edgin. He lives up to expectation as entertainer delivering in nearly every frame. Rege-Jean Page lovely acting as Xenk, invincible fighter with a halo in his head. Michelle Rodriguez as her usual fierce acting (not far different than her acting in Fast and Furious series – but still great action acting ) and Justice Smith with wonderful sense of comedic timing. Sofina is a great addition to a stellar cast where her acting deliver absurdly great combo of foreboding earie evil and comedic sense (without necessarily comedic). Hugh Grant as a choice of the ultimate slimy character is an interesting one and after watching him in the Gentlemen where he also played shady character, indeed he succeed to transition himself from his typecast of romance lead to richer characters (you can’t play romance lead forever anyway so his success is indeed a career saving sucessful move for him), while staying true to his bubbly awkward signature act. Their acting alone deserve you shelf your wallet and go watch. My husband who slept through nearly all Marvel series, he did not this time in this movie so there you go.
Standard fight scene but standard also means not awkward and stilted as well as standard prop and costume. These are all standard but that does not mean mediocre at all, it means they are adequately reflect the storyline. One fight scene that stood out for me is done by Rege-Jean Page in the underworld versus Thayan Assasins, that is truly well played and memorable, viciously aggresive and yet elegant. The strength of the directors, John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, are in the combo of hilariously funny yet lively actions such as in Game Night and Horrible Bosses. They both delivers in spade these funny yet lively actions, you are guaranteed laugh out loud and smiles every other frames.
The level of CGI itself is one of the good ones but nothing ground breaking. However sometime it is more on how one leverage the technology rather than the advance of the technology itself. John and Jonathan leverages CGI very creatively to generate not the awe but the comedic sense, the obese dragon scenes (while they are terrifying scenes you cant help but laugh on how big the dragon is), the hither tather stick scenes at the end, the helmet scenes, the CGIs are driven to not only jaw drop but also elicit laugh. I thought this is a brilliant way to leverage technology creatively.
To top it up, this movie receive positive critics and grossing 73 Mil US$ within March. It receives 90% from Rotten Tomatoes and and 7.6/10 from IMDb. New York Post quotes “ The new movie Dungeon and Dragons : Honor Among Thieves has no business being as good as it is. The first one was awarded zero starts and few people saw it. It gives audiences a full-bodied experience that is hard not to like”.
For sure it is a family movie / movie date / movie with friends that will end up with a lot of discussion during the dinner table with a lot of laugh. Verdict : A Must See with your loved ones and best friends !