An Open Letter to Warner Bros
Let me start by saying that on the Dungeons & Dragons 2017 Movie, I am very happy with many of the decisions you (as a company) are making. You are pulling this film together with a solid investment of money, excellent actors, a superb script writer and a skilled director. Thank you for how well you have respected the Dungeons & Dragons brand thus far, taking seriously the task of turning this classic American Game into a movie.
Unfortunately, your script is broken. I know this because you were kind enough to share the basic shape of the script publicly so that the Dungeons & Dragons community can know the direction you are heading. (I am truly thankful for this transparency.) Having read what Script Write David Leslie Johnson has planned I can tell there is one major problem with the movie.
You are focusing on the fantasy world of Dungeons & Dragons. You are focusing on the races and classes of the Dungeons & Dragons game. The one part that you are clearly not focusing on in the the script is the players. The Dungeons & Dragons Game does not have the best fantasy worlds. There are many better fantasy worlds written in novels, presented in movies and on television (in both animated and live-action variety) as well as in video games. The Dungeons and Dragons fantasy worlds are not even remotely the best fantasy worlds available to reader, viewers or video game players. However, the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy worlds are unique in that they are not the singular vision of one writer. They are not even the collected vision of a team of writers (as would be the case with a movie or television show). What the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy worlds are are shared fantasy worlds created by the Dungeon Master and then deeply affected by the players. None of that is currently in the script. It needs to be.
Moviegoers will need to see why these stories matter. Dungeons & Dragons fantasy world stories matter because they are built by friends – people who trust one another, people who care about each, people who know each other. When they are playing their characters, players bring their hurts and their joys and their passions, all of their emotions, into each and every decision made for their player character. This needs to be captured and shown in the movie. The players must be actually depicted (by actors) in the movie. Moviegoers should see how what is affecting the player is affecting, directly, the character. This is what is special about the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy worlds and without this being shown, you just have the Dungeons and Dragons fantasy worlds competing with better fantasy worlds from other mediums. The movie will be fighting with one arm tied behind its back.
Right now as the script is written, the movie will show a human fighter attack an orc. What should be shown is a College Sophomore who just failed her Physics Exam choosing to have her human fighter attack an orc, taking out the frustrations of her day in a space that is filled with friendship and fun. The swing of the sword has effects in two worlds, the fantasy and the real. While the outcome of the sword swipe is devastating in one world, it is healing in another.
The relationship between the Dungeon Master and the players should be delved into. There is an entire layer that needs to be explored in this film and right now the script you have does not touch upon this. Your script is broken, but if you put the players into the film, moviegoers will see what every Dungeons & Dragons player see now – Dungeons & Dragons fantasy worlds are unique and special because they belong to friends who are telling stories together and those stories contain the pathos of their creators (Dungeon Masters and players).
I am very appreciative of all the effort you are putting into this film. I put this open letter forward with the hopes that you will make the change to fix this part of the film. I am rooting for you. Every Dungeon Master and player is rooting for you. You can make this a great film. Thank you.