Dungeons & Dragons (2000) Review:

Nobody wants to be watching this for the next quadrillion years.

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I think this image probably speaks for itself.

Cast: Justin Whalin, Jeremy Irons, Zoe McLellan, Bruce Payne, Marlon Wayans et al.

Director: Courtney Solomon.

Runtime: 107 minutes.

Plot: (Taken from IMDb) Profion, a tyrant, attempts to overthrow a peaceful kingdom ruled by a tough empress.

Dungeons & Dragons is a strange beast, a truly terrible film that somehow needs to be seen. It’s a quotable film; it’s hilarious but shockingly awful. The trouble is I quite enjoy awful films – especially ones that don’t take themselves too seriously.

Dungeons & Dragons however does take itself somewhat seriously, and it is in these moments of the film that you can see in all its glory, how terrible the film really is. Indeed, the fact that the film flits between moments of silliness (forced silliness) and moments of supposed seriousness really destroys any kind of momentum the plot attempts to build up.

The major plot is simple to follow and works well enough, it’s nothing engrossing or good, but it works. However, the smaller plot details of the film are so badly put together that it becomes something of a joke. Throughout the film we are made to believe that the two main characters (Justin Whalin and Zoe McLellan) are in love – this particular plot point comes entirely out of nowhere, and it is only upon watching the deleted scenes of the film that we learn how they fall in love. Indeed, a few key details were left on the cutting-room floor, Lee Arenberg’s Dwarf’s name for example. It is only through watching the film and its deleted scenes that we fully understand how badly the film was directed.

Terrible editing and directing aside, we go onto the film’s screenplay. Dialogue runs on for too long, sentences often carry on after you think they should end, and what is said is cringe-worthy – “Now”. Nothing seems to work as it should and the actors never quite look like they know what they should be doing or saying – an after effect of the shoddy direction.

Maybe you’re thinking that perhaps the acting is better than the rest of the piece, believe me when I say it, the acting in Dungeons & Dragons is the icing on the turd cake. It amuses me greatly to see actors I recognise giving such awful performances, it’s a wonder any of them have ever worked since. Jeremy Irons gives the strongest performance out of the cast, but not even his eyebrows can save the script and direction he was given (it’s like watching someone on drugs in a school play), he shouts every line with such a strange grin smeared across his face. Bruce Payne, like Irons does add a lot of comedy value to proceedings, comedy value I’m sure is not meant to be there. The rest of the cast is equally terrible, but at least their performances make the film memorable; giving the internet a punching bag for years to come.

My favourite performance has to go to Lee Arenberg however. I won’t say anything about it, but I will provide this image for your pleasure.

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He don’t like it when you knock his helmet off…

The special effects are awful too, if you want to watch PS1 FMV quality CGI, you should play a PS1 game – you’d get a lot more out of it. Some of the effects are hilarious and some are just never explained (lack of explanation/details is a common issue with this film). Payne’s character for instance battles with CGI tentacle things in his head and inexplicably has glowing blue lips for the entirety of the film.

Even the fight scenes are terrible. These are so bad that they just aren’t funny, the fights are just annoying and painful to watch. Never before (or since) have I seen a film with fight choreography as bad as this, you know Power Rangers fight-scenes? they are better than the ones in this film.

Summary:

Dungeons & Dragons fails on every level, but is something of a classic because of it. I’ll explain it the only way I know how. Staying up till 4:30 in the morning for no reason is awful, but hilarious, and you won’t forget it in a hurry. Dungeons & Dragons is just like staying up till 4:30, pointless, rubbish, but hilarious.

Terrible on every single level, but worth a watch (especially in a stupid mood).

32/100 

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