I convey to you now a tale of sorcery, mysticism and overacting; a story begot from the still-hot embers of other sagas sans their sanction. We shall begin in the legendary village of the Wood of Holly: a vibrant and rich community, wherein the likes of Lord Lucas and Sir Spielberg reigned — having brought excitement to the lives of many a basement dweller through their accounts of daring, dashing heroes and the highly sought after “figures of action.” Across the seas, in other parts of the magical kingdom of Fictionalis, bards Tolkien and Rowling had amassed legions of magic-wielding warriors via long-admired things known as “books.” This was the way things had been for many decades. Alas, there were certain, less-talented storytellers that grew envious of their deeds and royalties…
Back in 2000, I was managing a video store. I recall a rather “off” customer of mine — whom I had known of since high school — breathlessly ranting about the upcoming big-screen adaptation of Dungeons & Dragons. Although I had been born a geek myself (or perhaps I’m a nerd…or maybe I’m a dork — I guess it all depends on your stance in society), I had never developed a passion for role-playing games like many of my former schoolmates had. I focused on the art of film instead; and, as my ex-educational colleague told me that he “smelled Oscar” emitting from this Dungeons & Dragons movie, my finely-tuned instincts told me that this flick was going to carry with it an unparalleled stench of another kind.
However, I never really bothered checking the movie out…until recently that is. And, a good eleven years after its original theatrical release, Dungeons & Dragons still stinks to high heaven.
Made at a time when CGI was still in its infancy and filmmakers from all aspects of the film industry were fighting to create the next best franchise, Dungeons & Dragons should forever serve as some sort of mighty and resilient monument; one that reminds potential producers how truly bad a movie can wind up being — especially when constructed by people with no talent whatsoever. Using very little (if anything) from its RPG origins, the story instead liberally and unabashedly steals from the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, as well as tapping into the realms of the as-yet-unfilmed Harry Potter and The Lord Of The Rings novels for its characters, segments and predicaments (amongst other flicks). And, if the story wasn’t unoriginally-bad enough to begin with, the film’s backers hired one of the most laughable casts ever assembled.