Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)
First, a little speech from the soapbox:
I've been on the internet since 1988, before there was the "world wide
web" and have been a part of online D&D discussions through the
original usenet and listserv systems.
Back when there was speculation of a D&D movie being made, and then
when the rights to Dragonlance were officially bought, fans of the D&D
games had this common misconception that anything done would be on an
epic and grand scale of a mega millions blockbuster (like what
eventually happened with Lord of the Rings)
We see that in other D&D movie threads as people speculate on who
would be best cast as whom... often these "dream casts" add up to a
budget of $150-200M just for the actors and then expectations are that
the movie itself would be a billion dollar epic that'll easily rake in
its money based on the D&D branding.
The reality of the situation is that any D&D based movie will be a
smaller budget film, shot with average special effects, makup, script
writing and using "no-name" or "B" and "C" list actors.
So on to the review...
The running time of this movie is 1 hour and 45 minutes.
The first thing I can say in this review is that this movie is nothing
like the first one and D&D fans "should" be happy with the final
product if they can get past the reality as its explained above.
The first Dungeons and Dragons movie was "goofy", or "campy" if you
prefer, and was obviously targetted at kids as the primary viewing
audience with its storyline, script writing and "over the top" acting.
This movie is definitly much better (hundreds of times better?
thousands? Hard to say, its so much better) and it gets bloody and
violent at times.
On the whole, I really enjoyed this movie.
OVERALL STORYLINE: 8/10
The overall story is pretty good. It works and would make a
believable D&D adventure plot. I'd even go so far as to give it a
10/10 because its not a typical cliche storyline... but I gave it an
"8" because it didn't go very deep into the character
The "5" is an average. Early into the movie there are times when
the script is really lame and cheesy... but then after the 10 minute
mark it almost seems like they must have fired the original script
writer and got somebody new in there because it gets alot better as
the movie goes along. First 10 minutes I'd say 2 or 3 out of 10...
rest of the movie is a 7 out of 10.
SPECIAL EFFECTS: 7/10
Most of the special effects are on par with the high end of what
you would see on shows developed by the SCI-FI channel (IE: Stargate
SG1/Atlantis, Battlestar Gallactica, etc).
Most of the time its pretty good... but there are some real goofups
and the occasional bad job. The big there here is that almost
everybody in this movie is human (with a few exceptions) and so it
wasn't a really tough job on the makeup artists.
Nothing stellar, but I give it high marks because its not cheesy
like the first movie... thats a big plus on its own.
CHARACTERS (Personality & Portrayal): 8/10
There isn't much "history" on the characters, but what they have is
decent. Overall the characters were done pretty good and were
entertaining. A few cliches and stereotypes, but that should be
expected in any fantasy movie.
Not a bad job overall, but pretty much what you'd expect... mages
in robes, bad guys in robes, fighters in leather or metal armour.
Like special effects this is about on par with what you would see on
shows developed by the SCI-FI channel.
COMBAT CHOREOGRAPHY: 8/10
Overall pretty well done, though there are times when it could be
better. There aren't any big epic battles or anything like that...
most of its one on one fighting.
The overall D&D Factor in the movie is OK. They didn't go over the
top and really push the whole "Dungeons and Dragons" thing on the
viewer, but there were some obvious references to D&D in the movie.
There were a few things that didn't seem to fit and had that hint of
where the writers were going through the monster manual or players
handbook and just throwing some stuff in to make it more Dungeons and
Dragons than a generic fantasy movie.
My final thought:
I think they really played it safe in making this movie and in some
ways that probably really helped save it. Like I was saying above:
almost everybody is human so they managed to avoid goofy looking
costumes that usually come up when working on a tight budget. They
didn't go overboard with magic and spell like effects, so they didn't
need a huge special effects and computer graphics budget. But in all
it was enjoyable.