Gather your party for a magical heist that rolls a natural 20 in our Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves Review!
Since its debut on tabletops across the globe in the mid ’70s, Dungeons & Dragons has been a pivotal component of pop culture. While the game’s origins may spring forth scenes of basement dwellers cramped around dimly lit dinner tables, this now couldn’t be any further from the truth. D&D is a gaming staple enjoyed by millions across the globe from all walks of life, with monumental impact on film, videogames, and even our favourite TV shows. Whether you’ve actively participated in a campaign or not, I can say with absolute certainty that some form of media you enjoy has been inspired and influenced by Dungeons & Dragons.
Just some random kids having a great time playing D&D.
Many TV series, low budget films, and B-grade flicks have desperately tried to capture the sheer magic of D&D. Many have failed miserably. But striding valiantly over the D&D corpses of its fallen brethren, joyfully strumming away on a lute, Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves learns from its predecessors to at last offer fans the fantasy adventure we deserve. With the charismatic Chris Pine at the helm of a rag-tag party, Honour Among Thieves finally captures the magical charm, creativity, and unhinged lunacy that D&D fans have come to love.
So grab your player’s handbook, fill out your character sheet, and roll for initiative as adventure awaits in our Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves review.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves Review – Story
WARNING: some mild story spoilers ahead.
Every good campaign begins in a tavern, right? Well not this one. But that’s only because our heroes have been imprisoned for the misdeeds of their past lives. Left to rot away in a cell, locked in the confines of an isolated tower amongst a frigid wasteland, we are introduced to Edgin (Chris Pine) and Holgar (Michelle Rodriguez). This bard/barbarian duo once freely roamed the land, playfully plucking plectrums and pilfering precious prizes from the princely all while padding their pockets. However, ever since their biggest heist went awry, the pair have found themselves incarcerated.
No prizes for guessing who’s who.
Lucky for them, today is their parole day. With the silver tongue of a bard, Edgin recounts the actions that landed him and his companion in prison, whilst providing viewers with a detailed backstory on the two characters. After the unfortunate murder of Edgin’s wife, his party set off on their most dangerous quest to retrieve a fabled resurrection tablet, capable of bringing back a single soul to the land of the living. Though that heist doesn’t quite go according to plan, and as a result Edgin and Holgar are captured, where they now find themselves held captive.
Maybe staying in prison would have been safer…
You might have guessed it, but the pair manage to secure their freedom, and in doing so resume their search for the resurrection tablet. And it just so happens that the tablet seems to have come into the possession of the new Lord of Neverwinter, and the pair’s old faithful companion, Lord Forge (Hugh Grant). Although reunited with their old friend and having gathering a party of helpful allies along the way, the tablet slips through Edgin’s deft fingers. Thwarted by the malevolent power of the Red Wizards, an evil sect who seek to conquer the world with dark magic, the band of thieves must commence a plan to retrieve the tablet and overthrow the evil seeping throughout Neverwinter.
It’s party time.
Without giving too much more away, Honour Among Thieves perfectly weaves its story through the eyes of its protagonist much like an amusing D&D campaign. Its mismatched party achieve harmony of comedy and narrative in perfect equilibrium, like a well-balanced dagger. Rather than relying on tired fantasy tropes, the film’s story takes a light-hearted storytelling approach that captures every part of makes Dungeons & Dragons so engaging.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves Review – Characters & Actors
No campaign would be complete without a party of engaging characters, and this is exactly what makes Honour Among Thieves the ideal tribute to Dungeons & Dragons. Several classes are represented throughout the film, with Edgin the Bard (Chris Pine) taking centre stage; the glue that holds the team together. Pine portrays the class perfectly, sporting a suave sense of charm and overconfidence that’s merely a front for his own idiocy.
Going towards the mountain of corpses probably wasn’t a great plan.
And while he claims to be the leader and “planner” of the crew, it’s notable just how little Edgin manages to achieve without the assistance of his companions. That’s exactly because the team need more than just bardic inspiration – they need strength, wisdom, dexterity, and constitution. Each of these are represented through the characters, who feel just as if you could be watching along with a campaign being played straight out of the book.
Holga the Barbarian (Michelle Rodriguez) delivers a performance as powerful and shattering as her axe blows, with intense and clever fight choreography. Simon the Sorcerer (Justice Smith) plays a low level spellcaster lacking in confidence, who over time harnesses power to become a master of magic. Doric the Druid (Sofia Lillis) is deft and deadly, with a deep environmental connection to the creatures she shapeshifts into. And lastly, Xenk the Paladin (Regé-Jean Page) is a stoic and stalwart upholder of justice, if not slightly lacking in communication skills.
Hope they rolled for initiative before charging in like that.
The real highlight of Honour Among Thieves is seeing these characters, whose backgrounds and skills are so vastly different, come together to work in jolly cooperation. They’re mismatched, misguided, and misinformed by their self-proclaimed leader in Edgin, but this only makes their dynamic all the more amusing. As they set out on their journey, our heroes are disjointed and untrusting of one another, but the party’s eventual growth and ability to gel in both ideas and combat becomes a delight to behold.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves Review – Visuals
Where Dungeons & Dragons is a game that often relies upon the creativity of the players’ imaginations to bring the game to life, Honour Among Thieves delivers the world directly onto the big screen in all its glory. Seasoned D&D veterans will immediately recognise a treasure trove of visual references, with settings, enemies, items, and spells portrayed through a delightful blend of special and practical effects. Scenes like the mighty Owlbear tearing enemies limb from limb, or watching on as the party embed themselves in a gelatinous cube, offer fanservice specifically catered towards D&D fans.
Would it really be D&D without a gelatinous cube?
But even if you’re not a fan of Dungeons & Dragons or have had no exposure to the series at all, you’ll still be treated to the film’s entrancing fantasy aesthetic. Fight scenes are flawlessly choreographed, with dynamic combat that seriously packs a punch, and some impressive one-shot sequences that keep the action constantly moving. To add to the aesthetic, all of the film’s characters are colourful with a slight level of camp to them, giving the feel of an ’80s fantasy adventure film but with far higher production value.
Taking the “pal” out of Paladin.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves Review – Audio
With a bard at the helm of the film, music is sure to play a critical role in the worldbuilding of Dungeons & Dragons. Composed by Lorne Balfe (Mission Impossible: Fallout, Assassin’s Creed III), the film’s score draws upon Celtic folk music and medieval influence to create a sound truly befitting of a fantasy adventure. Many of the tracks would feel right at home being played in the background of a campaign, which makes perfect sense knowing that the composer grew up playing D&D and aspired to compose music for the film. And as an added bonus, Tame Impala have also created an original song, “Wings of Time“, that features in the film and its credits.
Sound effects too pack quite a punch, with the cracking of spells and the clanging of axe upon armour echoing and immersing viewers in the action. However, there were certain moments where I found myself becoming quite overwhelmed by the sheer volume of some of these, which is worth noting for any viewers who may have sensitivity to loud noises.
Honour Among Thieves captures the true essence of Dungeons & Dragons through an ideal blend of delightful charm, blistering action, and unhinged comedy. And in doing so, the film crafts an adventure that’s not only approachable for complete newcomers or novices, but one that will satisfy even the most seasoned Dungeon Masters in the audience. With a party as loveable and charming as the Bard that leads them, Honour Among Thieves is at last a Dungeons & Dragons film that rolls a natural 20.
So, why should you watch Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves?
- Charming cast of characters, with actors that perfectly represent each class
- Plenty of references for D&D fans, but still approachable for newcomers
- Engaging story that never takes itself too seriously
- Impressive and fast-paced fight scene choreography
But why shouldn’t you watch Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves?
- Don’t like comedy in your fantasy? This may not be to your tastes
A preview screening was kindly provided by Paramount Pictures Australia for the purpose of our Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves review. If you enjoyed this review, be sure to check out our tabletop gaming content, or join the Qualbert Discord to talk all things D&D!