||Dungeons and Dragons
2000 - PG-13 - 107 Mins.
|Director: Courtney Solomon|
|Producer: Courtney Solomon|
|Written By: Topper Lilien, Carroll Cartwright|
|Starring: Jeremy Irons, Justin Whalin, Thora Birch, Marlon Wayans |
|Review by: Harrison Cheung
|Official Site: www.seednd.com/|
'Dungeons And Dragons' - based on a role-playing game that was intensely popular in the 70s and 80s, is one of the worst acted and written flicks I've seen in a while. It’s unfortunately a typical sci-fi fantasy project where the money has been poured into the special effects budget rather than invested into a good script. Can a good cast make a silk purse out of this sow’s ear? Nope.
Forcibly dragged to see this movie, I did recall that the trailers with the swooshing dragons caught my eye with the ever-improving CGI special effects technology. Another actor I know was about to start his own dragon movie so I wanted to see the current state of the art with regard to dragon animation.
Much acclaimed Oscar-winner, Jeremy Irons, delivers a performance as the evil Profion that hasn't been so hammy a villain since Christopher Lee in 'Land Of The Faraway'. Indie sweetheart, Thora Birch of 'American Beauty' and ‘Ghost World’ fame is laughably atrocious stuck with unspeakably stilted dialogue and a gasping face that looked like a fish out of water
Marlon Wayans (‘White Chicks’) is our token colored person in this traditionally very English (read: very white) type of sci-fi fantasy movie. Wayans, of course, is the comic relief.
But the star of the movie, Justin Whalin, has the enviable Harrison Ford/Mark Hamill role of being thief/Aladdin/hero but ends up trashing himself by being swarmly and pug. Whalin is probably best known for playing Jimmy Olsen in the ‘Lois & Clark’ TV series.
But aside from the bad dialogue, dreadful performances and poor editing, the worst thing about this movie is that the very story itself is creepily flawed. In a nutshell, there is apparently a scepter held by the Empress (Thora Birch), which controls green dragons. She has ruled her Empire with a Council that wants the scepter taken away from her. With his own dastardly schemes, Profion (Irons) plans to search for a legendary red rod that controls red dragons.
In the end, the movie seems to tell everyone to relax and let the Empress rule with absolute power. Even a good tyrant is a tyrant though. When the Council votes to take away her scepter, she lets loose green dragons which decimate her own capital city. Nice person, eh? The message here seems to be that only change initiated by a tyrant is good change. Anyone else vying for power should be dragon lunch.
Although the director and writers have not worked since this turkey, amazingly, Justin Whalin is starring in ‘Dungeons and Dragons: 2’, which is a straight-to-video release for 2005.
'Dungeons And Dragons' was proof of the ongoing Hollywood curse that no movies about dragons ever do well. From as far back as 'Dragon Slayer' (1981) to Dennis Quaid's 'Dragonheart' (1996) and more recently, the bomb 'Reign Of Fire' (2002), it seems that moviemakers have been unable to capture the imagination of moviegoers with a formerly favorite mythical creature. But there’s something to be learned from all these mediocre dragon movies – how about investing in a magical script rather than magical FX?