The Dungeons and Dragons Movies
Dungeons and Dragons has not had the best success in the realm of film. To date there have been three feature length films released based on the role playing game. The first film simply titled Dungeons and Dragons was released in theaters, the second film was a made for TV sequal and the third film never saw a release outside of the UK. The films are probally the weakest part of the Dungeons and Dragons empire to date.
Dungeons and Dragons
The first Dungeons and Dragons film was released in 200 and was simply titled Dungeons and Dragons. Aside from the title the film shared very little with the Dungeons and Dragons game. Almost no reference to the games are made during the movie. Despite having little to no connection with the game the film did have a good cast behind it with Jeremy Irons and Marlon Wayne. Parts of the film where shot in the Sedlec Ossuary a roman cathedral. The story takes place in the empire of Izmer which is ruled by an elite caste of magic users known as mages. The protagonists Ridley and Snails are thieves who are attempting to break into the mages palace to steal magic items. Through the course of the movie these two are joined by a typical rag tag fantasy group. This group includes a magic user as well as a dwarf. The party finds themselves pursued by the members of the mage caste who want a map back that was stolen from them. Dungeons and Dragons did not do well in the box office in part because of its cheap special effects. The movie was over the top and cheesy and really did not give the dark gritty feeling of most Dungeons and Dragons adventures. Fans of D&D had waited a long time for a big screen adaptation of their beloved game, unfortunately this was not what they had been hoping for. Today the movie has sort of a cult like status in the sense that it is so bad it is funny. If you are interested the movie can be found at Amazon as well as Ebay.
Dungeons and Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God
Wrath of the Dragon God was a made for TV sequal to the 2000 Dungeons and Dragons film. Released in 2005, aside from the main villain ( played by Bruce Payne) the second film saw none of the original cast return. Based 100 years after the first film we find that the antagonist Damodar is still alive but forced to wonder the world as a member of the undead. Damodor is looking for an orb that will restore him to his former glory as well as summon the dragon god. The budget for the second Dungeons and Dragons film was less that that of the first. This lead to even worst special effects in the sequel as well as a list of unknown actors taking on the lead roles. The sequel received the same negative reception when it was released as the first film, maybe more so. The one saving grace of the second film is use of actual Dungeons and Dragons lore. Unlike the first movie the main characters are modeled after Dungeons and Dragons player classes and interact like a D&D fan would expect them to. The monsters and creatures that are encounter by the protagonists also closely resemble those that are found in the game. Even with these references to the game itself Wrath of the Dragon God is still a bad movie. Hardcore fans of Dungeons and Dragons will enjoy seeing the Vorpal Sword on the screen. Much like the first movie this one can be had from Amazon as well as Ebay rather cheaply these days.
Dungeons and Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness
The Book of Vile Darkness is the third Dungeons and Dragons film to be released so far. This was a straight to DVD release that only saw the light of day in the UK. The third film has nothing to do with the first two and instead focuses on the adventures of a paladin attempting to stop the followers of Nhagruul. This is the darkest of the three films and shows a lot from the perspective of the bad guys. There are points in the movie where the main character acts just as evil as those he is fighting against. While being darker and retaining the references to the game that the second film started, there are still a lot of problems with the film. The budget for The Book of Vile Darkness was just as low, if not lower than that of Wrath of the Dragon God. This shows through with shallow acting, another list of no name actors, and poor special effects. The concept of showing things from the evil side and also attempting to convey that everything is not black and white is a good idea for a Dungeons and Dragons film, The Book of Vile Darkness just does not do it very well. Of the three films there are a lot of people who consider this to be the best, but that does not make it a good movie. This one can be a little hard to track down but you should be able to pick it up from Amazon if interested.
The Future of Dungeons and Dragons Films
Warner Brothers has recently announced that they want to reboot the Dungeons and Dragons film franchise. Hasbro has issued a lawsuit to stop this since they own the rights to Dungeons and Dragons via their ownership of Wizards of the Coast. Since the director of the first three films is set to direct the reboot this might not be a bad thing. Dungeons and Dragons fans would love to see a proper treatment of their beloved game and maybe someday that will happen. As of now there is interested to make another movie and maybe after the legal battle is over D&D fans will get a movie they can be proud to call their own.
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