Good news fellow Dungeons & Dragons players! It looks like we finally got a real movie, complete with a good cast and real plot. It's a little soon to say for sure, but according to viewers of the trailer previewed at DragonCon, Dungeons and Dragons: The Movie, is on the right track.
Characters include our standard faves: a thief, a lovely mage princess, a dwarven fighter, an elf, and a tough but stunning female ranger. These aren't just cardboard cutout-one dimensional characters either. They have backgrounds, goals, and a plot surrounding them. Among the actors portraying these personalities are Jeremy Irons as Profion, the evil archmage, Richard O'brien as Xilus, the Thieves' Guildmaster, and Marlon Wayons as Snails, the bumbling burglar. Other actors include Lee Arenburg (the elf), Justin Whalin (Ridley the thief), and Thora Birch as the mage-princess. Since Dungeons & Dragons: The Movie is scheduled to be the first of a trilogy, we can hope to see some of these folks again in later movies.
No D&D movie would be complete without dragons, of course. This movie has plenty of them, culminating in a huge battle of dragons high above the city. According to an article at E!Online News, it took 150 painstakingly detailed models to create the 11-minute final battle!
One of the most positive comments about the move came from David Bachmann of the International Fantasy Gaming Society, a D&D player since 1985. "The movie has the potential to take D&D to a more popular level and turn away some of the fears that people have had [about the hobby] that still lurk below the surface. I definitely think it will put the game into a positive spin." His quote echoes the sentiments of many fans who love the game but face criticism from those who don't know much about their beloved pasttime.
For those of us who just hope movie makers did justice to the characters we strive to enjoy, other conventioneers, had this to say, "From the trailer, it looks like it's going to be incredible! Before I saw the previews, I was worried they'd go cheesy on it, but it doesn't look like they're doing that." Also, "It's great that there's an actual story going through it as opposed to just a special effects bonanza."
Special effects are a big part of the movie, about 450 of them. With a budget of only $35 million, though, not all the visuals are created in the F/X departments. Many of the scenes are filmed on location in the Prague Royal Opera House, which viewers will see as the home of the Mage Council, and the Bone Chapel at Kutna Hora which becomes the dark and brooding home of arch-villain Profion. The Theology Room at the Strahov Monastery houses the Dracology lab where important information about the secret Rod of Sevrille, a rod of dragon control, is discovered.
Until the movie's release this winter, check out these sites for more info and lots of juicy photos of characters and scenes from the upcoming flick:
http://www.dndmovie.com and http://www.tsr.com
. The actual theatrical trailer is also scheduled to be shown at the upcoming GenCon for those lucky fans who can be there. Show your support by visiting these sites!
-Sonja Torres 2000
Red Sonja would like to thank E!Online News for their article "Dungeons & Dragons Trailer Debuts" without which she would not have begun her search for this information. To read the article, go to