Dungeons and Dragons
*.3 BM
Starring: Justin Whalin, Jeremy Irons, Bruce Payne, Thora Birch, Marlon Wayans, Zoe McLellan


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"You know what would be better than a Wand of Wonder? A Wand of Wonder GUN!"

"If you had a Wand of Wonder Gun, I'd need a Wand of You Gotta Be Fuckin' Kiddin' Me!"

This was an actual conversation overheard between a couple of D&D nerds, talking about the Wand of Wonder, which was basically a Wand of Doing Anything You Want Ever. This is the SERIOUS end of the D&D nerd scale. I played some D&D as a young'un, but I'd always name my characters after Transformers and I could never take it seriously, which led my brother to kill off my character all the time and make me all sad and pissy. But there was this picture in one of the monster manuals of this weird-ass thing called an "otyugh" that I always thought was funny-lookin'. I wanted to see one of those in there.

(Kinda like this, but the picture was funnier)

Of course, this movie gave me absolutely nothing I wanted out of it. Instead, it gave me a worthless script, half-ass editing and proof positive that, under the right circumstances, Marlon Wayans can be a better actor than Jeremy Irons. That's right, WAYANS was NOT the worst part of this film. As a matter of fact, they actually killed him in the movie, even though it's done kinda stupidly. That was the only surprise.

Good god, it felt like they ran out of money before they finished the funky effects on a handful of scenes crucial to the logical flow of the story, so they just said 'Screw it' and threw everything together and added throwaway lines that didn't really explain things. They take Wayans away somewhere, but then when they need him, he's right there somehow - things like that. It looked kinda neat sometimes, but a lot of it was really muddy and painfully obvious blue-screen crap. Then you have the ending, which is the dumbest thing ever, unless you rejoice that 'they all die at the end!' - which isn't really the case, but you can easily pretend it is and be happy about it.

Jeremy Irons was awful and ridiculous. Thora Birch was awful and painful. Bruce Payne was awful and craptastic. Zoe McLellan was just kinda silly. Wayans was Wayans, but he said 'halfling' once. Justin Whalin was basically what every lame honky schmuck making a 'thief' character in that game wants him to be - a charming roguish knave that manages to woo an uptight babe. He was also the only character to have more than one dimension. Maybe one and a quarter.

The script felt like it was written by the two dorks who had the above conversation. They kept suggesting that Ridley get out of every situation by drawing a Wand o' Wonder Gun, and people said they couldn't stretch that to an hour and a half. So they watched a bunch of other movies and thought "Hey, you know what would be cool for Ridley to do? Go through the Temple of Doom! And then get a lightsaber! Then a dwarf comes and doesn't help at all and they never even learn his name! Yeah! AWESOME, DUDE! That ROCKS!" Then they'd eat more Doritos and drink more Mountain Dew and continue to brainstorm ideas that would be so awesome, dude. Not a one of 'em got turned down after they accepted that they couldn't have Wands of You Gotta Be Fuckin' Kiddin' Me.

Then again, if those dorks were writing this movie, there'd be more crazy monsters and stuff in it. There is an immense supply of story material and character fodder within the Dungeons & Dragons mythos, and the fact that they couldn't scrape together one halfway decent character or one original story moment out of all that just means that Director/Co-Writer Courtney Solomon needs to be kicked in the nuts, wedgied until the waistband of his tighty-whiteys is draped over his forehead and shoved into a locker until he gives it up. He's completely destroyed any good that the last episode of "Freaks & Geeks" did towards convincing the average schmoe that D&D doesn't have to be considered a refuge of the socially inept.

Or maybe the fact that his film was called Dungeons & Dragons and not Advanced Dungeons & Dragons means that all the cool monsters like kobolds, orcs and otyughs and all the interesting stuff will actually happen in the sequel, in which they will hopefully create a whole bunch of new characters with more hit points, Wand of Wonder Guns, if there's any justice, a LOT more charisma and comeliness.

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