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Dungeons & Dragons  

Profion (Jeremy Irons)
Ridley Freeborne (Justin Whalin)
Snails (Marlon Wayans)
Empress Savina (Thora Birch)
Elwood (Lee Arenberg)
Damodar (Bruce Payne)
Marina (Zoe McLellan)

Directed by Courtney Solomon Written by Topper Lilien and Carroll Cartwright Rated PG-13 for fantasy action violence
Running Time: 108 minutes Distributed by New Line Cinema
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Dungeons and Dragons is a stupid and poorly made film based off of the popular role-playing game. The film is set in mystical land of Izmer. The landís teenage ruler, Empress Savina (Birch), yearns to change the divided empire into a peaceful one. On the other hand, the evil Profion (Irons) wants her power and a more deconstructive splitting of the empire. To control the land of Izmer, each bi-standard must have the magical rod that contains a dragonís eye. Whoever holds the rod gives that person control over the red dragons. In an instant, two thieves, Ridley (Whalin) and Snails (Wayans), enter the story as the men that must find the rod for the Empress. Their counterpart is Profionís own searcher for the rod, Damodar (Payne), who has military skills and sports fluorescent blue lip balm. The film turns into a against the clock adventure with conflict between all the characters for retrieval of the powerful rod.

Dungeons and Dragons is an awful fantasy film that just leads its audience nowhere. This film has a blank script and is one of the worst movies of the year. However, I laughed numerous times during this film because it was so poorly created and tolded.

Screenwriters Topper Lilien and Carroll Cartwright should have trouble finding any more writing jobs after developing this script. It did seem that the writers included most of the characters from the popular game, but almost every aspect of the game that is brought into the film is unclear. An example is that there is no explanation to why the red dragons are more powerful than all of the other colored dragons. The dialogue in the film is so horrific that it seemed more like a spoof of Dungeons and Dragons than a movie. There is also no structure whatsoever with this script at all. The writers throw in so many characters and stupid incidents that you will be shaking your head within the first ten minutes of the film.

Courtney Solomonís direction doesnít hold much better. A lot of his costumes look more religious than fantasy. Examples are the evil Profionís robe-like clothes in the court hearings and the final battle sequence of the film. The film is also filled with special effects and this director creates no balance with his action and special effects. All of the dragons in the film look super fake and the monster that becomes stuck in Damodarís head is one the most wasteful effects ever created. It also seemed that there was no connection between the director and the story or actors. I know that Solomon is a big fan of Dungeons and Dragons and it first seemed like he was a good choice to direct the film version, but his direction is obviously lost.

Jeremy Ironsí performance as Profion is the first poor acting job I have ever seen this actor deliver. I believe this example of Irons shows that even with a talent actor like him, that if the writing is weak in a film, than the actorís performance has a good chance of being tarnished. Justin Whalin, who plays Ridley, is a better actor than he reflects in this film. Whalin was previously in the TV series Lois and Lane, and I hope in the future that he will get some better roles. Ridleyís sidekick, Snails, is overly played by Marlon Wayans. Wayans, who helped create Scary Movie, is most of the time okay with good comedy. However, Dungeons and Dragons isnít suppose to be a comedy, and Wayans ends up delivering an annoying performance. American Beautyís Thora Birch is also nowhere to being believable as the Natalie Portman (Star Wars: Episode I) wanna-be of this film. Lastly, Bruce Payne delivers another weak performance (he had a previous weak performance a few months ago in Highlander: Endgame) as the hard-nosed general with fluorescent blue lip balm Damodar. This film had a better than average cast, but the horrible dialogue made almost all of the actors look elementary. The acting would have probably been better if the cast would have improvised the whole film.

Dungeons and Dragons is nothing short of terrible. This idea should have never been brought to the screen. TNT or some other television studio should have created it into a mini-series. This film is a good example of an absolute waste of actors, time and most of all money.

Report Card Grade: F

Beastmanís Movie Reviews
Copyright, 2000 Joseph C. Tucker

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