March 1, 2023 – This is like a comic version of Game of Thrones, in which a rag tag band of outcasts sets out to overthrow a corrupt ruler, and redistribute wealth from the rich back to the poor.
I am not a game player, so I did not catch any of the references to the role-playing board game, Dungeons & Dragons, first published by game designers Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson in 1974. Others, familiar with the game, say this movie is true to the spirit of the game and that there are many “Easter Egg” references to the game in the movie. Fortunately for me, you do not have to be a game expert to appreciate the entertainment value of this movie. It is engaging, and it is fun.
The three best known actors in this movie all play key roles in it. Chris Pine of the Star Trek movies, plays the central character of Edgin Darvis, a thief first seen plotting a prison escape with fellow inmate, the barbarian warrior Holga Kilgore (Michelle Rodriguez of the “Fast and Furious” movies). Edgin is on a quest to get his daughter back from a former associate, Forge Fitzwilliam (played by Hugh Grant of “Love Actually”) who has risen to great power with the aid of a Red Wizard, Sofina (Daisy Head of “Underworld: Blood Wars”).
Forge is a con man who once was Edgin's friend, but has now turned Edgin's young daughter, Kira Darvis (played by Chloe Coleman of “Marry Me”) against him while Edgin is imprisoned. Edgin and Holga, fooled by Forge's treachery, narrowly escape Forg's clutches. Edgin plans to get his daughter back, but he needs help, so he enlists the aid of a magical half elf, Simon Aumar (played by Justice Smith of “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”) and a magic, shape-shifting druid, Doric (Sophia Lillis of “Gretel and Hansel”).
Edgin has two goals in his plan to rob Forge's castle, one, to get his daughter back, and two, to recover the “Tablet of Resurrection” he had mistakenly entrusted to Forge, along with his daughter. He plans to use the tablet to resurrect his dead wife.
In order to get the magic tablet, Edgin must first obtain another magical artifact, “The Helm of Disjunction” in order to get into Forge's treasure vault, which is protected by magic. Along the way, Edgin and friends encounter an unlikely ally, the mysterious Xenk Yendar (Regé-Jean Page of “The Gray Man”) a paladin who is devoted to justice. In return for the Helm of Disjunction, Xenk makes Edgin promise to give any treasure he steals to the poor.
As the name implies, there is also a dragon in this story, as well as dungeons, caves, magical creatures and lots and lots of magical weapons, as well as swords, arrows, suits of armor, and all the usual “sword and sorcery” accoutrements.
The main reason this story is compelling is that the characters are complex and captivating, particularly Edgin, Holga and Simon, who are all flawed characters, haunted by their past mistakes. They all have weaknesses that they are trying to overcome. Edgin and Simon, in particular, lack the confidence in themselves that heroes are supposed to have naturally. Instead of being infallible heroes, they are people who just stubbornly keep trying to succeed and to be better. This movie rates a B.
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