New Dungeons & Dragons Movie| Musings on Wizards of the Coast Sins of the Past

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Will The New D&D Movie Be A Critical Success?


In true geek culture fashion, I’m going to get heated about not real things that don’t really matter and quite possibly use some salty language (read assuredly):  you have been warned.  In preparation for writing about the upcoming new Dungeons & Dragons movie, I watched a YouTube clip of the “Top 20 Embarassing Dungeons & Dragons Moments”, a collection of clips from the prior two D&D movies, so seething nerd rage would be fresh on my mind, fanning the flickering flames of distant nerd wrongs into an inferno.  Wizards of the Coast, this is it.
In no time in history will you ever find society more affable to geek culture, it may be a very long time before it’s  more in vogue than it is right now!  The popularity of Magic the Gathering, the fact that nearly everyone has some experience with video games and it’s no longer just the “indoor kids”, shows like The Big Bang Theory, and the level of celebrity that geek culture icons such as Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day enjoy, this is the perfect nerd storm.  This is your moment- roll a natural 20 and not a critical fumble!  In short:  don’t fuck this up.

The Year is 2000, Wizards of the Coast Fucks Up:  The Fecal Matter That Was the First “Dungeons & Dragons” Movie Released.


Now remember folks, this was already a high-point for WOTC, 3rd edition D&D was doing exceptionally well and did a lot to revitalize the tabletop role-playing game hobby.  Let’s imagine an alternative history, one where the D&D movie didn’t suck leathery dragon scrotum and instead was a massive vorpal critical hit!

Imagine if you will:  a great film franchise is launched, many tweens, and teens want to seek-out the role-playing hobby that many of us love- why, the preeminence of geek culture could have been pushed forward a decade!


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Dungeons & Dragons (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The reality of what we got was a schlocky film with cheesy acting (you know you’re in trouble when your fantasy film is riding on the shoulders of Marlin Waynes), laughably maniacally cackling villains, horrendous CGI, and garbage costuming- it literally looked like much of it was picked-up at a Power Rangers garage sale.


What I am hoping this is not is a computer animated visual effects romp- I’m sorry, but if a Michael Bey film is your ideal movie going experience, we’re probably not going into the same theater (and don’t even try to put your hand on my knee).  With that being said, this doesn’t even have to be my kind of movie.

Honestly, I’m not a fan of The Big Bang Theory and obviously not the explosion spectacles that make-up Michael Bey movies, but both of those things have their audiences and hell, there’s 7 FAST & THE FURIOUS MOVIES, so someone has to be going to see them.  Wizards of the Coast, this absolutely has to be somebody’s movie.


Take notes from the Lord of the Rings franchise!

Any fantasy movie that’s ever been made could be a D&D movie!  Lord of the Rings is basically a D&D movie:  a band of adventurers, wizards, battles of the forces of good and evil on opposite sides of an epic quest, and pitched battles- huzzahh!

While some may feel raw about what was cut from Tolkien’s work for the Lord of the Rings films, think about the lushness of the world the production team created, the poignant interactions of the actors in The Fellowship, and the fact that at very few points does the CGI used in the film detract from it.

The buzz is that the new movie’s taking place in the Forgotten Realms setting- the no brainer about this:  make this movie about a dark elf ranger with two scimitars.  People fucking LOVE Drizzt Do’Urdon and at it’s core, the tales of The Companions of the Hall are damned enjoyable (though admittedly I’m more #TeamJarlaxle&Artemis)!  Wizards of the Coast and those producing this new Dungeons & Dragons movie, give us a character driven movie with cool fantastical locals, fight scenes, and not just a series of CGI animatics- guess what:  if we wanted that, your product wouldn’t exist- we’d be off playing video games.

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Follow Ryan Friant:
Ryan is one of the founding members of Nerdarchy. He enjoys all things genre related: art, RPGs, indie tabletop games, novels, film & television. When he is not creating art, brainstorming ideas for games, or tabletop games, Ryan enjoys the nightlife that his native Philadelphia, PA has to offer.

6 Responses

  1. Ty Johnston
    | Reply

    I'm skeptical, but yeah, I'd definitely be happy to see a Jarlaxle and Artemis film. And not that I'm the biggest Marvel movie fan, but if WoTC can tap into some of that mojo, there could easily be a dozen Realms movies over the next decade.

  2. Thiago De Andrade Neves
    | Reply

    I'll not set my expectations high. The screenwriter is David Leslie Johnson and his work is basically CRAP.

  3. Ryan Friant
    | Reply

    I haven't seen any of the movies that he's written, so I didn't want to jump to conclusions there, though it does seem like his big budget experience had been with sequels. I've only seen the new "Clash of the Titans", didn't enjoy that, so didn't bother with the sequel.

  4. Thiago De Andrade Neves
    | Reply

    Ryan Friant Well, it's not only about my personal opinion; on rottentomatoes his BEST rated movie has an average rating of 5.5/10.
    Anyway, the announcement of a good director would cheer me up.

  5. Kevin Heinz
    | Reply

    I think if they go far away from the "Tolkien trap". They will be fine. By Tolkien Trap I mean the world saving ultrapowerful magic plots.
    I would rather see a plot that is smaller in scale and different. Choosing a good director would be a good start. I would like to see Guy Ritchie (Lock Stock and two smoking barrels; Snatch; Sherlock Holmes) helm this movie and blow people away with interesting characters with separate tories all culminating in a big finale.

    • Nathan Riggins
      | Reply

      I agree, I would rather watch 12 mini series movies, than a rushed through 2-2.5 hr movie about saving the world

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