The film begs a variation on Gene Siskel’s old rule of thumb: is this film more entertaining than, say, watching the same four actors at a table playing a D&D session?
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: I played Dungeons & Dragons as a kid, served for years as our neighborhood’s Dungeon Master and owned all the Advanced D&D hardcover manuals published through 1986, by which time all my friends had moved far away, found other pursuits, or quit me specifically. Our group breakup was slow in coming, and the final session ended acrimoniously through no small fault of my own. Eventually my subscriptions to Dragon and Dungeon Adventures magazines expired, and I stopped keep track of updates and new products in the world of TSR’s classic tabletop RPG, unless you count the handful of time my wife and I attended Gen Con and were surrounded by the company’s products. One silver lining: my departure left me with no reason to see the misbegotten 2000 film that took its name in vain.
My attention wandered so far away from the game that years passed before I was aware TSR had been acquired by Wizards of the Coast, the Magic: the Gathering masterminds. Still more years passed before I learned they in turn had been gobbled up by Hasbro, thus moving D&D under the same corporate umbrella as G.I. Joe, the Transformers, and, arguably the source of their company’s best film to date, Clue. I likewise had virtually no emotional investment when trailers began popping up for Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. Once it was released and word-of-mouth picked up momentum, then I gave it a chance. I entered the theater, I mentally rolled a d20 saving throw vs. Awfulness, and the imaginary die blessedly came up a 19.
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