Film: Dungeons & Dragons

Dungeons & Dragons is a film released in 2000, 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 wears 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.

In 2005, a made-for-TV sequel titled Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God premiered on the Sci Fi Channel. It spawned another Non-Linear Sequel in 2012, Dungeons & Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness.

Dungeons & Dragons provides examples of the following tropes:

  • The Archmage: Profion
  • Action Girl: Norda, the Elf Tracker
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Snails' reaction to Marina's crack about having to put a Feeble Mind spell on herself to want to hang out with him and Ridley.
  • All There in the Manual: Dragon magazine published 3rd edition stats for all the major characters. The main adventuring party were all 3rd level, the elf ranger was 7th level and Profion was a 15th level wizard.
    • Elwood the Dwarf's name is never mentioned in the actual movie.
  • An Axe to Grind: Elwood the Dwarf's primary weapon.
  • 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... Allegedly Word of God says it was supposed to be a Mind-Flayer, although it bore no resemblance to one (mind flayers are Cthulhumanoids in the actual game).
    • Larval mind flayers resemble tadpoles and are often inserted into their (unwilling) victims through the ear by their sires, but the host is soon incapacitated as ceremorphosis (the process of transformation into a new adult mind flayer) takes effect. Perhaps Profion made some modifications to it.
  • The Cameo: Tom Baker as the Elf King. Yes, really. Also, watch for Richard O'Brien playing to 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.
  • Costume Porn: Hit and Miss. Anything regal like the Empress' dresses looks absolutely stunning while everything else looks like it came from a seasonal local costume shop.
  • Cowardly Sidekick: Snails
  • Crowning Musicof Awesome: The Main Suite, which provides both the opening AND the closing of the film, and a portion of the action music during Ripley's soiree through the so-called "maze" in the Thieve's Guild. It is, sadly, the only really good music to come from the film.
  • Death Glare: In the beginning we see Profion trying to tame a Gold Dragon with a prototype scepter. After some seconds of struggle, the beast destroys it with a glare.
  • Defiant to the End: Snails when fighting Damador.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "You thieves, always taking things that don't belong to you."
  • 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.
  • The Dragon: Damodar to Profion.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The brainworm scene between Marina and Damidar looks suspiciously like a rape scene. It doesn't really help when Marina is screaming in pain and Damidar and Marina are panting from the intensity of the process.
  • Dull Surprise: Ridley, The Empress, and Damodar all seem to deliver their lines like this a lot of the time.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Profion basically offers the Empress a whole deep-fried pig. Damodar offers up Cold Ham in contrast.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Profion.
  • Fate Worse Than Death:
    Damodar: Do not let them escape or you will suffer a fate far worse than that which hath been inflicted upon me.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: Ridley was a multiclass fighter-thief already and the movie repeatedly drops hints that were supposed to play out in a sequel that he had a talent for magic as well.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Follow the Leader: This film is every Star Wars cliche in the book - and apes mostly from The Phantom Menace, complete with its own Jar Jar Binks.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Damador vs. Xilus:
      Damador: You must be joking.
      Xilus: I never joke when mages trespass. In MAH GUILD!
  • Happiness in Slavery: The subjects of the Empire are apparently all slaves to the Magocracy, so the Empresses's plan to free them is treated like it's a world-shattering event. But aside from being poor, does anyone actually look oppressed and suffering?
  • 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.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: To Ridley, Profion is just another scheming mage, while Damodar is the guy who killed his friend right in front of him. Guess which one is his Arch-Enemy and he battles at the climax of the movie.
  • Large Ham: Profion!!! HATATATATATATATATATA!!!!!!
    • Courtesy of Jeremy Irons: "Let the blood RAIN from the SKY!!!
      • Which ends up sounding more like "LET THEIR BLUD REEIIINNN FROM THA SKAAAAAAAUAUUUUGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
  • Loveable Rogue: Ridley and Snails were meant to be this. Whether they actually are depends on the viewer
  • Magic Map: The one they're all after, which somehow pulls Ridley and Marina into it.
  • Magic Wand: Scepters that command dragons are the chief Plot Devices here.
  • The Magocracy
  • Milking the Giant Cow: Profion.
  • Moral Myopia: Ridley is a thief and is shocked to his core when a fellow thief robs him.
  • Nerds Are Sexy: Marina
  • 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.)
  • Obviously Evil: Profion, at least most of the time.
  • 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.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: The purple headed guy "before you get the words 'Outsiders not appreciated' branded right. where. your. nose. used. to. be."
  • 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
    • A possible explanation is that he is addicted to Sannish, a drug that causes permanent staining of the lips, later it is mentioned that he cannot control his urges, supporting this.
  • 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.
    • Really any interior scene that takes place in Izmer. They made extensive use of real world locations, such as Profion's lair being a real bone chapel in Prague.
  • 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!"
  • Supernormal Bindings: When Ridley and Snails break into the library, Marina catches them in conjured ropes that seems to pull them along wherever she goes.
  • Uncle Tomfoolery: Snails.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Actually subverted in the film's one really clever moment, as we're led to believe Profion will kill Damodar after he captures the heroes, but then he removes the parasite just like he promised.
  • You Said You Would Let Them Go: Followed by I Lied.