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In 2000, a film was released based on the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy roleplaying game.
Set in The Empire of Izmer; mages rule with iron fists whilst the commoners are lowly slaves. Empress Savina (Thora Birch), wants equality and prosperity for all, but the evil, overacting Archmage Profion (Jeremy Irons) is plotting to depose her and establish his own rule. The Empress possesses a scepter which controls Izmer's Golden Dragons. To challenge her rule, Profion must have the scepter, and tricks the Council of Mages into believing Savina is unfit to hold it. Knowing that Profion will soon get his hands on her rod and use it to wreak chaos, Savina seeks the Rod of Savrille which controls red dragons, a species even mightier than the gold. Two common thieves, Ridley (Justin Whalin) and Snails (Marlon Wayans), plus a mage named Marina (Zoe McLellan) somehow get embroiled in these matters and end up embarking on a scarcely-coherent quest for the Rod themselves. Along the way, they're joined by the requisite elf and dwarf. Profion sends his henchman, Damodar (Bruce Payne), who is clad in bright blue lipstick for some reason, after them. Do they succeed in their quest? You get three guesses.
So, how much does any of this actually have to do with Dungeons & Dragons? Well, a Beholder is seen very briefly, acting Out of Character, and at one point a "feeblemind" spell is mentioned, and... that's about it.
The film was almost universally despised by critics and roleplaying fans alike. To fans it's almost worse than a malicious slandering of the games as something evil; it makes the mainstream think their favorite games outright suck.
In 2005 a made-for-TV sequel titled Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God premiered on the Sci Fi Channel. It was low-budget but was much better received than the original despite that; mainly on account of it actually bearing some resemblance to the game unlike the original.
- Action Girl: Norda, the Elf Tracker
- Anticlimax Boss: Profion is devoured by a dragon while gloating.
- Bald of Evil: Damodar.
- Berserk Button: Don't shoot down the helm of the dwarf.
- Big Bad: Profion, the Evil Mage
- Big Good: The Empress
- Big No: Ridley, when Snails dies.
- Body Horror: Profion puts a snail/plant/worm-like... thing in Damodar's brain... ouch..
- Bowdlerize: the four standard classes in D&D are fighter, wizard, thief... and cleric - the latter of which is strangely absent from the movie. Apparently the people funding it weren't too keen on polytheism and healing by laying-on-hands.
- The Cameo: Tom Baker as the Elf King. Yes, really. Also, watch for Richard O'Brien playing against type as a weird, creepy character with ulterior motives.
- Captain Obvious: "Just like you thieves; always taking things that don't belong to you."
- Conspicuous CGI: Some of the visual effects look quite decent, although the low budget made the dragons seem a little...blocky.
- Death Glare: In the beginning we see Profion trying to tame a Red Dragon with a prototype scepter. After some seconds of struggle, the beast destroys it with a glare.
- Deleted Scene: Found on the DVD, with commentary. Some were removed to stop plot-holes.
- Though there's also the scene of Ridley and Marina in the map, which was removed despite containing the setup for the entire story. Some very awkward exposition was shoved in afterwards instead.
- Dem Bones: Savrille, the original creator of the Rod of Savrille, was cursed by the Gods. He was forced to possess his own skeleton, pinned to the wall of his treasure filled tomb, until the rod is taken by the chosen one. It was punishment for the crime of hubris, believing mankind should be allowed to command Red (Evil) Dragons.
- Democracy Is Bad: Averted, to some extent. The (presumably hereditary) teenage empress is the Big Good, but her proposed royal decree is to extend the vote to commoners and end the Deadly Decadent Court of authoritarian mages.
- Dull Surprise: Ridley, The Empress, and Damodar seems to deliver his lines like this a lot of the time.
- Evil Is Hammy: Profion basically offers the Empress a whole deep-fried pig.
- Evil Sorcerer: Profion.
- Forgot I Could Cast Spells: For being a mage, Marina sure casts very little magic despite being able to talk and move her hands freely.
- Grey and Gray Morality: So, Profion wishes to rule over the land by controlling an army of Dragons. And That's Terrible. But isn't the sole reason why the Empress herself is in power because she controls an army of Dragons?
- Keep in mind the Empress also wants the Rod of Savrille to secure her throne. Are we sure she's NOT the tyrant here?
- Ham-to-Ham Combat: Irons vs. Irons' Eyebrows, which are on the verge of out-acting him on occasion.
- And on a more serious note, any time Damador and Profion share a scene.
- The High Queen: The Empress
- Honor Among Thieves: Ridley thinks that makes his people better than the backstabbing mages of the ruling class. It later turns out that only thieves of Ismer feel this way.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Damodar.
- Large Ham: Profion!
- Loveable Rogue: Ridley and Snails were meant to be this. Whether they actually are depends on the viewer
- Magic Wand: Scepters that command dragons are the MacGuffin here.
- The Magocracy
- Milking the Giant Cow: Profion.
- Money, Dear Boy: Irons rather famously took the role of Profion to pay for the refurbishment of a castle he had just bought. How appropriate.
- On the other hand he seems to be having a wonderful time playing an EVILLLL wizard. Certainly more fun than the audience is having.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Damodar gives one of these to Snails.
- No Name Given: The Dwarf's name is Elwood Gutworthy, but you never actually hear it in the movie. (It is in a deleted scene, though.)
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Even has the Dwarf mention female Dwarf beards and a fight with an gang of Orcs.
- Our Elves Are Better: Averted and played straight. Elves are just as reliant on the (Human) chosen one as the rest of us, but they do give the requisite "man bad, nature good" speech.
- Our Dragons Are Different: Maybe, maybe not. The Dragons themselves aren't different, but their hatching is where life comes from.
- Pimped-Out Dress: The empress has a few.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Snails and Elwood.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: The film's Novelization changed a lot of aspects for the better. Snails became the Only Sane Man (the polar opposite of his role in the movie), the Dwarf's name was actually used, and the film's good deleted scenes were re-added.
- Red Right Hand: Damodar's blue lips
- Scenery Porn: In a very limited sense. Anytime there's a scene in that council chamber, drink it in. They used a real palace in Europe, and it's truly gorgeous.
- Shout-Out: British viewers will know that this isn't the first time Richard O'Brien has been the keeper of a fiendish maze guarding a vitally plot-important crystal...
- Too Dumb to Live: Sure, breaking in a wizard school to steal something valuable is a brilliant idea...
- The Slow Walk: Damodar makes an apparently inappropriate use of this method when he's chasing after Snails through a building with no locked doors.
- Some Kind of Force Field: When our heroes run into a Wall of Force spell, it shimmers a bit, and they exclaim, "It's some sort of wall of force!"
- Uncle Tomfoolery: Snails.
- The Worf Effect: Profion single-handedly curbstomps the main party, but is instantly chomped and eaten by a dragon of some sort.
- You Said You Would Let Them Go: Followed by I Lied.