| 2 | 3
Digital 5.1, Stereo Surround
||May 22, 2001
with Director Courtney Solomon, Game co-creator Dave Milsome,
and alternately with Actor Justin Whalen and Doug Milsom. Director
commentary during deleted scenes.
The Games Begin"- A profile and history of adventure
for all principle actors
Notes and Photo Gallery
Marlon Wayans, Thora Birtch, Zoe McLellan, Kristen Wilson, Lee
Arenberg, Bruce Payne and Jeremy Irons
& Carrol Cartwright
||Joel Silver, Allan Zeman,
Nelson Leong, Kia Jam, Tom Hammel
||Justin Caine Burnett
film has been in development forever. I remember reading about
it years ago and imagining wondrous worlds and fantastic creatures.
A band of adventurers who would traverse dangerous environments
on personal quests of revenge, glory, riches, you name it. Unfortunately
we were handed this. Dungeons & Dragons is a mess of TV quality
special effects and vacuous characters on a quest to widen the
middle class of the Kingdom of Izmer. The story starts off with
Jeremy Irons as the evil mage Profion chewing up juvenile dialogue
with crazed delight as he attempts to control a golden dragon.
He meets with little success, so he decides he needs a better
magic wand. Enter Damodar (Bruce Payne), a frustrated transvestite
judging from his cover-girl blue lipstick. Possibly the most
annoying bad guy ever, he insists on hissing every line and
annunciating every syllable excruciatingly slow. Profion infests
Damodar's body with some kind of parasite to assure his loyalty,
and sends him on his way to retrieve the red dragon rod, which
will make them do his evil bidding. Meanwhile we follow two
thieves as they bungle a burglary of a mage school. This is
Marlon Wayans turn to annoy as he foppishly flails around squealing
like a stuck pig. Remember the guy from "The 5th Element"? Here
they meet a student of the school who invites them to join her
quest to find the dragon rod before Damodar. From there they
go find a ruby which opens the dungeon where they find the rod.
This all culminates in a dragon war over Izmer which is actually
quality of the transfer overall was very good. A little grain
was noticeable in some dark areas, but otherwise there were
no obvious blemishes. The sound was excellent and had a very
active surround field. Dragons whooshing by the channels during
the dragon war were impressive.
lacked animation were functional. One note on this; to access
the Special Features before seeing the film, you must go through
the same trials as the main character in the film. Sort of a
video game, you must enter the bone to pass the axes, the sword
to get by the flames and the hourglass to conquer the spikes.
The first documentary, "Let the Games Begin" covers a bit of
the game's history and it's connection to the filmmakers. It
is an acceptable addition and runs just about 15 minutes. The
second is a typical "Making Of" that speeds through the production
process. Mostly Interviews with the cast and filmmakers intercut
with scenes from the movie, it leaves a bit to be desired. This
doc runs just under 20 minutes. Of course this whole film should
be a deleted scene, but just in case you're curious what didn't
make the cut, there are 11 deleted Scenes. All are fairly superfluous,
although 1 (inside the map) at least explains how they know
where to go to begin their quest. The alternate ending is only
slightly less stupid than the one they opted for. You can play
them all together in a row or individually. Director commentary
is optional. The "Special Effects Deconstruction" always sounds
cooler than it is and this is a prime example. Four scenes are
shown first with very rough animation, then more polished but
still clunky animation, then as the finished scene. whoopee.
||I was kind
of looking forward to hearing these guys hymn and haw about
how they didn't have enough money, or the studio interfered
with their vision. Instead I was surprised to hear them fawning
all over their creation. I often wondered if they were watching
the same movie. For example, on a sweeping virtual helicopter
shot of a castle, Justin Whalen says, "That's exactly how that
castle looked in real life", and I'm wondering "Where, in Toonville?"
They do however disclose a lot of on-the-set-stories for those
interested. This is a very full commentary with nary a quiet
moment as someone is always going on about how wonderful the
acting is or some other BS.
||I was very
disappointed with Dungeons & Dragons. The acting was all very
over the top. Although Jeremy Irons can pull this off, all anyone
else did was irritate me. The dialogue was childish and very
cartoony. Speaking of cartoony, how about those effects?To put
it simply, this film was an hour and a half episode of Xena:
Warrior Princess; same effects, same wardrobe, same acting.
This is truly a missed opportunity. D&D should have been an
A budget picture with top quality cast, screenwriting and directing.
If it's cool dragon effects you want, watch Dragonheart again
or wait for Reign of Fire. Maybe you should just go play the
game, I'm sure it's infinitely more enjoyable.