Dungeons and Dragons

Dungeons and Dragons
Action/Adventure: 1 hr 48 min
Starring: Jeremy Irons , Justin Whalin , Lee Arenberg , Marlon Wayans, Thora Birch
Directed by: Courtney Solomon

The Empire of Izmer has long been a divided land. The Mages - an elite group of magic users - rule whilst the lowly commoners are powerless. Izmer's young Empress, Savina, wants equality and prosperity for all, but the evil Mage Profion is plotting to depose her, and establish his own rule. In order to prevent Profion from taking over her kingdom, the Empress must find the legendary Rod of Savrille that controls the powerful Red Dragons. Enter two thieves, Ridley and Snails, who unwittingly become instrumental in the search for the Rod. They are joined by Mage Apprentice Marina, a feisty Dwarf named Elwood, and helped by the Empress's expert tracker, the Elf Norda, as they outrace Profion's chief henchman Damodar to find the magical Rod that will set their Kingdom free.

Dungeons and Dragons is one of those unfortunate films that should deter one from being a film reviewer. Just at a time when the meatiness of Thirteen Days and Cast Away come along, one also realises that this relentlessly bad film represents, yet again, the very worst of Hollywood. It is likely that sense will prevail, and this cinematic rendition of the 25-year old role playing game will quietly disappear. Directed with unabashed incompetence by one Courtney Soloman, who only got to direct this film because he managed to acquire the rights, there is nothing particularly good about this film in any department. To begin with, forget the stupidity and incoherence of the script, the film uses D-great special effects to mask the lunacy of the plot. Forget the obvious amateurishness of Soloman's misguided direction, that he persuaded any actor worth their salt to be in this film, is an eternal mystery. Not that it matters, because the poor cast is likely to go the way of Soloman's career. Newcomer Justin Whalin is truly awful (bye bye Justin) attempting a poor man's (we're talking homeless) Harrison Ford.Thora Birch, so wonderful in American Beauty, has been relegated to sprouting remarkably bad dialogue and doing very little to enhance a sense of character. Jeremy Irons delivers the worst performance of his career, and the rest of the cast is just as horrendous. Indeed, it makes a case for CGI actors who would have done.

Special effects are all cheesy to the extreme, and the movie is so utterly derivative that it is painstakingly annoying at every turn.

Dungeons and Dragons is an abhorrent mess, a film badly conceived from the outset, based on a terrible script. Technically as unfortunate, the film has a dingy look to it, and never for one fleeting moment does it succeed it engaging the audience. The only good news, is that while Soloman thinks he is about to make two sequels (where is he from, fantasyland?), this will stop short any attempt to reinvent the hockiest genre on the planet.

- Paul Fischer

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