With the rights to a new D&D movie coming up for grabs people are desperate for the villains to be wielding something a little more deadly than +1 Ichiban of lip protection and that the heroes can muster someone a little more heroic than Jimmy Olsen. Now odds are it will just be another D&D movie because you can’t just reboot something like this and expect to get away with it, for you see this movie spreads far deeper and further than you might imagine. It did not stand alone, no it was only the first so the question you’ve got to ask yourself is do you feel lucky punk. Because this isn’t anywhere near as infamous as the first one so is that because it’s not as bad or because it’s worse. There’s only one way to find out, locate your screen, grab your lucky d20 and roll for initative and for the love of god don’t split the party in………
Now this movie is a sequel to the 2000 “classic” though it occours a couple of hundred years later so don’t worry too much about that. Well except when you do, have to I mean. You see Jeremy Irons had a right hand man in the last movie called Bruce Payne who you might remember as the bad guy in Highlander: Endgame and who was in an episode of ‘the Bill’ because he’s British which means he has to legally be on that or ‘Casualty’ at one point in his acting career.
Well because *spoiler* the bad guys lost in the last movie old Bruce got cursed to eternal unrest and now that he has found a way back he’s ready for revenge on the city that beat him.
This would probably be a good place to talk about the budget, you see the last movie was bad but it had a budget so the city would put Naboo to shame for grandiose spectacle. This one, not so much. We’re back down to cgi, matt painting backdrops and half a dozen of the same sets we’ve seen in every other low budget fantasy movie from the past decade. The cast are likewise quite low budget with Bruce coming out as the only one you are liable to recognise well perhaps except for Lucy Gaskell’s elf mage who has also shown up in Doctor Who and Misfits, oh and ‘Casualty’. See I told you it was the law.
But we’re getting a little distracted here aren’t we so let’s start at the beginning with trade and taxes. Yeah that might be why Naboo sprung to mind earlier. Now not only does this fail to grip our attention but it fails to get our main leads either. Former captain of the guard and now head of taxes, I wonder how that chain of promotion works it’s almost as weird as electing a queen. You see while this is being read to him he’s distracted by the duel outside between the head of the guards and someone not important enough for a name. He dashes down to join in the fun and frolicks before being gently told that he is too old for this sort of thing and sent back to the counting halls while they go out on some fun adventure. Unfortunately just as they are gone a peasant comes rushing in for help with something.
As in most city councils when, all the guards have been told to leave they send him to the tax man instead, perhaps they just wanted to make sure he had paid up before offering him any aid. Our hero instead jumps on his horse and rides off to face the terrible danger of, a sleeping dragon. He knows this is a sleeping dragon due to all the adventuring clues to hand and he double checks by opening it’s eye and waving at it. I’m starting to see why they dropped him as captain of the guard.
It turns out this dozing dragon will be Bruce’s revenge on the city and so it is up to Tax man to assemble a party and go and stop him before it is too late. All the while his girlfriend attempts to recover the lost magic of clerics, something that ends up not so much putting her foot to sleep as putting her foot to death. We will keep cutting back to this in case you forget her as she will be quite important toward the end. You can tell because they left the plot in and got Roy Marsden to play her boss.
However most of the movie will be spent with the party who are about as cut out as they come, two fighters, a thief, a druid and a mage. One barbarian, one elf, two humans and one they may be trying to pass of as a halfling because Tim Stern is a bit short but doesn’t have a beard which rules out dwarf.
Together this party must venture through the DM’ handbook to save the day and venture through the handbook they do. See one of the problems people had with the last D&D movie was that it bore little resemblance to actual Dungeons and Dragons. Thus when it came time to make this movie they went through the rules and wrote up a check-list, each of our heroes is a direct representation of their class, every item they come across is named and referenced, each monster is right; down to the behavioural aspects listed underneath the stats. Oh they’re all a bit shit but they’re right. I mean you have to give them the fact that they stuck to the source but in the same way that I feel like half applauding sticking the cannon and following on from the last movie even though no one liked it.
They were going to make Dungeons and Dragons, so they made sure they damn well made Dungeons and Dragons, they were going to make a sequel so they made damn sure they were going to make a sequel.
Maybe it’s because of this that it becomes one of the more boring low budget fantasy movies I’ve seen, they were so concerned with getting the characters right according to the rule book that they forgot to make actual characters. Oh sure they try to set something up between the Barbarian and the thief to create some tension in the group but it never really builds or feels real and before you know it they have learnt some mutual respect for each other and learned to get along. The druid is window dressing and the mage is there because the plot demands a few high level spells toward the end. Our hero meanwhile seems like we’re setting him up for something at the beginning but before too long they simply go, “no that’s enough character for you young man now run along!”
The whole movie, as has been said before, feels like watching some gamers work their way through a campaign. Now I have no problem with this but if that’s what you’re going to make at least make them interesting gamers.
Still at least it’s all over now and we can just sit back and wait for the reboot to fall. Right?