As gamers and as geeks, we love the fantasy genre. We’ve spent countless hours reinventing ourselves around the table, rolling out polyhedral dice whilst performing heroic deeds and living out the plots and schemes within well-developed worlds filled with adventure and excitement. The opportunity to play Dungeons & Dragons is definitely one of the most rewarding aspects of the geek lifestyle, and it can also be one of the most expensive. If you’re a gamer or know someone who is, you’re well aware of the investment in gaming products one can make, followed by the investment in time and energy it takes to run a game as well. You would think that, given the attention and investment made by gamers and players the world round, the same could be said for the production of a film labelled with the name of one of the most storied gaming franchises ever. Yeah, so did we…
Join us this week as we take time to review the Dungeons & Dragons movie released in 2000. While we admit that we are far from timely in watching and reviewing the film, we felt it was our duty as gamers to overlook our previous apprehensions and view the surprisingly-worse-than-we-thought train wreck that is based on our beloved game. Jump in your time machine and head back to Y2K with us as we review and recall all the reasons we never saw this movie in the first place!
(01:10) – Robert has embraced the New Year, New Game challenge for 2012 by prepping a Shadowrun RPG using the hard to find Shadowrun Runners Toolkit, published by Catalyst Game Labs. He also brings up a discussion on the recently revealed new DC Logo as it’s gone from iconic to craptastic. Way to go DC!
(04:54) Speaking of new games, Wizards of the Coast has recently announced that a 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons is currently in the work. Us being the
aging old school gamers we are, we aren’t particularly thrilled. Matt will never get over his love of 3.5 rules (live in the now, bro), while Karen and Ramses may have to take out a second mortgage to fund another gaming book spree. Of course, none of this will stop us from trying to get into the public playtesting.
(08:15) – Karen has gone British! She’s plugged in to BBC America‘s show, The Fades, chock full of ghost hunting and pop-culture references. If it crosses over the pond, we’re just hoping it goes the way of Being Human and not the way of Skins. Leave it to MTV to tank that and keep Jersey Shore, much to Ramses’ delight.
(12:14) – Ramses gets a gold star and reaches a new grade level in reading proficiency this week! He’s finished the first book of The Hunger Games without getting verklempt. He also read through the Groom Lake graphic novel, written by Chris Ryall and illustrated by Ben Templesmith. Despite being a fan of Templesmith, Ramses feels this one should have gone the way of puppy lake. Maybe he is as cold-blooded and heartless as Karen keeps hinting…
(16:07) – Now that Matt is post-op and healing, he’s got nothing to do but geek-out! He pulls a Robert and media-whores his way through a week on the couch – The War of Art, The Walking Dead trades, Sons of Anarchy, and the Pathfinder Beginners Box all got his attention. He also finished reading Cherie Priest‘s Boneshaker novel (which he started in 2010) – Steampunk alternate history with zombies? How can you go wrong??
(19:51) – In addition to reading and watching tv, Matt also went on a spending spree for more geeky goodness – Pathfinder Beastiary One, Two and Three, Joe Golem and The Drowning City by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden, Witchfinder Volume 2, Abe Sapien Volume 2, and Hellboy Volume 12: The Storm and The Fury. He’s lining Mignola’s pockets while draining the bank account. Just wait until his wife finds out!! Also, he can’t wait for the release of the new Liam Neeson action flick, The Grey, but he may just be on his own with this one. Have fun watching wolves get punched… all by yourself.
(23:48) – Excuse us, New Line Cinema? We’d like 107 minutes of our lives back, please. It’s review time! Seeing as the Dungeons & Dragons (2000) film is horrible, convoluted, and probably would have been better in the Russian version we started with, it was rather difficult to keep our review on track because there was SO MUCH bad to talk about. Here’s a bullet pointed account of our impressions, with far more laughs to be had by listening to the podcast. Enjoy!
- Starring Jeremy Irons, Thora Birch, Marlon Wayans, and Justin Whalin (whom we refer to as Jimmy Olsen). Go to IMDB and just look at how this film made all of their careers skyrocket, just like The Challenger Disaster….
- Blowki – He has blue lips and if you saw Thor, you can put two and two together. No good for a fantasy world, but he would totally be accepted in West Hollywood.
- Attempts to channel Star Wars – similar sounding music, Rancor-style dragon deaths, and a Mos Eisley Cantina-ish tavern scene to name a few – fails as homages to geekhood and feel more like blatant rip offs.
- Orgasm inducing magic items.
- Marlon Wayans out-acts Jeremy Irons…. seriously… High school improv, high school improv everywhere!
- Great effort was given to naming the home of the powerful council of mages, as they all reside in “The Magic School.” True story.
- Jimmy Olsen was the producer and most likely thought this film would be his “big break.” Let us know how that worked out for you…
- Chicken Beard the over-sized guido dwarf.
- Party formation straight out of the worst D&D campaign you’re ever played.
- We still don’t know what this movie has to do with Dungeons & Dragons.
- 10 years of legal battles for rights and to get funding, $35 million budget, a producer forced to direct the film, and a more revised script denied the light of day. No wonder it lost $2 million after domestic and foreign returns combined.
- A beholder, one of the most bad-ass monsters in D&D, treated as and portrayed as a poorly CG’ed guard dog.
- Feeblemind Spell reference used as an insult. Yep, it’s as stupid as it sounds.
- The token black guy – Snails (Marlon Wayans) *SPOILER* dies, original theater-goers cheered at his demise, and then proceeded to tell as many people as they could not to see the film.
- Cliche not-then-hot love interest, Zoe McLellan is the most ineffective mage, EVER!
- Elvish armor that is somehow a cross between Madonna’s cone bras and the nippled batsuits from Batman and Robin.
- WORST. MAZE. EVER.
- You have weapons… feel free to use them at any time!
- Torch vs. Armor fail.
- Blowki has ear tentacles used for tentacle rape.
- Giving the hero a shiny new sword with no explanation or subtitles counts as moving the plot along, right?
- Dragons are attacking dragons and we aren’t sure why and think that maybe Jeremy Irons was the hero after all…
- Thora Birch kind gets raped (?) by some skeletal monster.
- Snail’s grave reveals Imperial racism and they all turn to points of light and fly away. The End. Seriously.
We’re pretty sure that if Battlefield Earth hadn’t come out the same year, this movie would have definitely been the worst film of 2000. Thankfully, New Line Cinema redeemed itself in 2001 by releasing The Fellowship of the Ring, so it earned some of it’s geek-cred back.