In the Dark: Dungeons & Dragons
Eric D. Snider
It's a dream come true for literally dozens of obsessive losers: There's finally a "Dungeons & Dragons" movie! Shout hurray and huzzah and roll the dice to find out how many more years you'll be living in your parents' basement!
Alas, fans of the role-playing game will be disappointed to know that the film based on their beloved pastime is a big, stinky pile of poo (or, to put it in fantasy terms, a big, stinky pile of elf poo).
The movie takes place in an ancient civilization so advanced that the inhabitants can use magic, construct tall buildings, and employ twenty-first century American slang and haircuts. (Ancient barbers apparently were quite adept in the art of feathering.) There is a great rift between the people who can use magic, called Mages, and the people who can't use magic, called Muggles — er, sorry, non-Mages.
Not helping this rift any is an evil Mage named Profion, played by Jeremy Irons, who was at one point a good actor. Profion wants to just kill all the non-Mages and let God sort 'em out; fortunately, there's a righteous young empress named Queen Amidala — er, sorry, Empress Savina (Thora Birch) — who opposes him and maintains power by means of a special rod that enables her to control the gold dragons.
But wait! There's another rod, which we later learn looks just like The Club (the anti-car-theft device), that controls the red dragons. Controlling gold dragons, sure, that's fine if it's all you can do. But if you really want to rule the earth, you'll want to get your hands on some red dragons. We eventually discover why red dragons are so much better to have then gold dragons: because they are red, whereas the other ones are merely gold.
To get this rod, Profion has to, I don't know, kill a lot of people or something. Somehow, two non-Mages played by Justin Whalin and Marlon Wayans (I know, their names almost rhyme) get involved, along with a nerdy young Mage played by Zoe McLellan. There's a bunch of maps and mazes and physical challenges and lifelines and vowel-buying, and the good guys win, and Profion gets killed, I think. Yeah, I'm pretty sure he does.
I know Marlon Wayans gets killed, which is honestly the best thing this movie does, as Marlon Wayans's character is very annoying. (So is Marlon Wayans in general, of course, but that's irrelevant here.) He's like a black character from the vaudeville days, and he screams like a girl. A lot. Every five seconds, the movie is already scraping your eyeballs with sandpaper, and then Marlon Wayans screams like a girl and pours lemon juice on it.
The problem with the film is that not one single line, character, or plot development is original. If you've seen "Star Wars," "Star Trek," or the Indiana Jones movies, or read a Harry Potter book, you've seen this movie already, only better.
It's also an all-you-can-eat buffet of bad acting, and Jeremy Irons is going back for seconds. Giving him a run for his money is…well, everyone. Thora Birch seems to forget her lines several times, and Zoe McLellan is the worst actress this side of porn. If this sounds like your idea of a good time, then this film has a strength factor of ten. Otherwise, it has a crap factor of a million.