29 June 2016

A Brief Synopsis of D&D Movies

I've posted a similar list but I'm trying to generate a bit of buzz for the upcoming D&D film Dungeons & Dragons: The Hand of Fate (D&D-IV) by Warner Brothers. First, those which came before.

Dungeons & Dragons (2000) aka D&D: The Movie, by New Line Cinema. This film had the potential for greatness with an A-list actor in a major role and quite a few familiar faces. The tone of the movie, however, wandered from serious to slapstick and back again in a rather aimless fashion. A low budget and freshman director were the two major problems with the film. Rumors also speak of increasing friction between Sweetpea Entertainment and TSR's CEO Lorriane Williams.

Dungeons & Dragons Wrath of the Dragon God (2005). A sort-of sequel to the first, this made-for-tv film is my favorite of the lot. In spite of a far lower budget and C-list actors, this film managed to get across the feeling of player-character party on a quest quite well.

Dungeons & Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness (2012). Another television movie but not set in the same milieu as the first two, D&D:TBoVD takes a rather darker turn. The unknown actors do a reasonable job for most of the film but come across as a Community Little Theatre Group at times. This one is my least favorite, in part for the storyline and in part because it looks as if it were shot on video. When I bought my copy it wasn't even available for retail in the USA.

Which brings us to Dungeons & Dragons: The Hand of Chaos (2017, unconfirmed). What do we know? As Ed Greenwood proudly told us last year, it will be set in his Forgotten Realms milieu. I'm only familiar with FR from the PC games, but know enough about it to know this is an encouraging development. Too bad they couldn't get Greyhawk from Gary's estate but I'm happy for Ed.

Besides a title and setting we also have a possible protagonist, Ansel (Divergent) Elgort. I'm not familiar with this young man's body of work but that is no surprise, I'm neither of fan of YA fiction nor of the movies they spawn. I've seen no hard evidence he is confirmed, only "in talks."

We have a direction, that is, Guardian of the Galaxy (2014) meets Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Though the studio executive was careful to avoid stating as interpreted by Peter Jackson it would be difficult, to say the least, to convince me he was thinking solely of the books.

We know Courtney Solomon and Sweetpea Entertainment, responsible for the first 3 films, is involved in the production. The director will be Rob Letterman, who brought us Goose Bumps (2015) and Shark Tale (2004). The script will be penned by David Johnson who brought us Wrath of the Titans (2012) and is apparently also writing the DC Super-verse film Aquaman (2018).

Sweetpea Entertainment is joined by Warner Brothers and Hasbro in the film production. Zinc Entertainment, one of the production companies for films II and III, is not listed on the IMDb page.

There you have it. As of today? That's what we know. I'm guardedly optimistic, but I tend to be that way. I know most geeks like to broil things early, before we know much, to give themselves a head start on dissing any fan property. Personally, I'm not attending a movie to figure out ways to hate it. If it gives 2 hours of entertainment, I'd say it was a good film.


  1. I enjoyed the first three movies just fine and don't expect much more from the fourth.

    What we -- as a community -- need to remember is that, until we get someone of Spielberg's stature involved, D&D movies will never have the budget to do Star Wars type special effects. so "B" movies are about all we're ever going to get.

    I'll settle for that, as opposed to nothing at all. I'd prefer a Greyhawk setting too. Since references to the World of Greyhawk were made in "Wrath of the Dragon God," movie four is likely to take a sharp turn too.

  2. It seems to me they're putting a bit more effort into this one than the others. Cool SPFX are nice but a B film with a well-written with capable actors in the main roles? I would be perfectly happy with that. You can do some pretty good fantasy films without going the tentpole movie route.