"it's an utter fun filled, charming and visually impressive blast, the whole family can watch and enjoy"
So Dungeons & Dragons is a bit of a phenomenon when it comes to gaming, particularly when it comes to role playing board games.
It's been a staple since the 80s in homes across the world and played and enjoyed by millions of players, it's spawned numerous versions, inspired other board games and video games and its lore has been borrowed countless times. When it comes to TV & the Cinema it's been adapted before, there was a beloved cartoon and a... well let's say a so so big screen adaptation previously.
When this new version was announced I can honestly say I was cautiously optimistic, the cast seemed genuine and with Stranger Things bringing the DnD fandom out again it's perhaps time to see if dipping our toes back in the fantasy genre would pay off... and wow was it an amazing ride.
Let's start with the obvious, if you're expecting a table top view with your players and dungeon master then this isn't the film for you. However, the spirit of those nights is on full display; the classes whilst not always stated are pretty obvious.. The Bard, The Warrior, The Druid, The Sorcerer, The Red Mage and of course the outrageously smarmy prick of a Thief/Rouge., let's give you the run down of the motley crew. Chris Pine is the ever charming Edgin The Bard, Michelle Rodriguez is the tough warrior Holga who has a strange kink for dwarves, they're flanked by Sophia Lillis as The Druid Doric, Justice Smith as The Sorcerer in training and Regé-Jean Page as the ever so cool Xenk. No good story is complete without its villains and Daisy Head's Evil Red Mage and the resident Trickster Forge, excellently played by Hugh Grant fit these roles perfectly.
Another thing I noticed after watching is that this is a great family movie as well as being a brilliant fantasy epic, there may be a touch of violence which might need to be explained but it's a largely wholesome feature which will make the 2+ hour runtime disappear quickly with charm, wit and grace. There's also enough similar content to your other favourite fantasy franchises that you'll settle in nice and quickly.
The score is also great, whilst not perhaps on the Game Of Thrones or Lord Of The Rings level it fits in nicely and never feels like its overbearing in its tone. The only downside being is that there isn't a huge over aching theme throughout, Chris Pine's Bard providing adventuring songs however is very entertaining and more than a little catchy. Lastly, I'd like to mention that through great writing you do feel a definite air that this is all being watched over by a dungeon master and players having a whale of a time throughout.
A quick mention should also be made regarding the CGI, it's superb and brings some of the most iconic beasts from the board games rogues gallery to life excellently, whilst it's a treat for casual viewers those with role playing experience will get a real kick out of them, the Owlbear is a particular highlight.
To summarise my experience I'd say it's an utter fun filled, charming and visually impressive blast, the whole family can watch and enjoy this and adults will get a kick out of some of the more subtle jokes, I'd hope it succeeds and spawns an equally fun sequel. It may not fully blow your mind but it's a fun romp that will leave you happy.