Back in the day when the world was young and fantasy as a genre wasn’t particularly well-respected, fans took what they could get.
Certainly, you’d see the occasional gem like Conan the Barbarian or Ladyhawke, but most big-screen fantasy epics had to be viewed with a forgiving eye. We’re talking movies like The Beastmaster, The Sword and the Sorcerer, and Hawk the Slayer: enthusiastic adventure tales that reliably swashed their buckles but tended to scrimp on things like consistent worldbuilding, compelling characterisation, and narrative.
Then the genre got respectable with the advent of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings movies, and while not every fantasy flick since then has been a stone-cold banger, the public perception of fantasy had certainly shifted. Fantasy films could be awards season contenders—or at least reliable multiplex fodder. The field had matured.
And now along comes the long-awaited tabletop RPG adaptation Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves, which sits more comfortably alongside those video store perennials of yore. It’s not terrible, mind you; it’s just a little too ironic and self-conscious to be dramatically engaging, and yet too mindful of its source material (and mooted IP value) to really go for broke in the laughs department.