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Film / Dungeons & Dragons (2000)

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Dungeons & Dragons is a film released in 2000, based on the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy roleplaying game.

In The Empire of Izmer, Mages rule with iron fists whilst the Commoners are lowly slaves. Empress Savina (Thora Birch) wants all her subjects to be socially equal and able to prosper, but the evil Archmage Profion (Jeremy Irons) plots 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, to which end he 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 havoc, 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 an apprentice Mage named Marina (Zoe McLellan) get embroiled in these matters somehow and end up embarking on a quest for the Rod themselves, pursued by Profion's top henchman, Damodar (Bruce Payne).

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. A Continuity Reboot, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, released in 2023.

Dungeons & Dragons provides examples of the following tropes:

  • 10-Minute Retirement: After Snails dies, Ridley briefly swears off the quest until Marina educates him on what the Empress is trying to do.
  • Action Girl: Norda, the Elf Tracker. Unlike Marina, she's a deadly fighter, racking up an impressive body count between the bar brawl she gets caught in and the party's escape from Damodar's goons.
  • Actor Allusion: Richard O'Brien is basically reprising his role as the host of The Crystal Maze.
    • Jeremy Irons, playing Profion, says: "As you wish, Your Majesty," exactly as his character Scar says the same line in The Lion King.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Snails' reaction to Marina's crack about how she'd have 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 third-edition stats for all the major characters. The main adventuring party were all third-level, Norda the elf ranger was seventh-level, and Profion was a fifteenth-level wizard.
    • Elwood the Dwarf's name is mentioned only once in the actual movie, and it's easy to miss.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Profion, obviously, who wants to take over the kingdom and will go to any lengths to do so. This is also Ridley's biggest flaw: it's not just treasure he's after as a thief, it's power and recognition, and to be seen as more than just some commoner thief. It takes the death of Snails due to one of Ridley's own ideas to get him to grow out of this.
  • Angrish: Snails' dialogue quickly devolves into angry noises whenever he gets wound up.
  • The Archmage: Profion. He holds this as his title in the Empire of Izmir. As such, he heads up their Council of Mages and is hands down the most powerful Mage in the film.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted with Damodar; when Ridley swings his sword at Damodar's chest, the armor stops it cold. He also blocks all the previous strikes with his arm guards. It's played straight in the climax, since Ridley's blade has been enchanted. The blade itself doesn't get through the armor, but the magic still shocks Damodar.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Rod of Savrille is, as Ridley learns when he reaches it, pure evil. Anyone who uses it is subject to a horrible fate (its creator is a living skeleton cursed to guard it until someone takes it), and only by breaking the spell is the curse avoided. Ridley destroys it rather than use it, sparing him.
  • Badass Boast: Profion gets a decent one as he confronts Ridley.
    Profion: You think you can take away my destiny?! I'll invent a new destiny, especially for you, full of pain! New kinds of pain...and new senses to feel it with!
  • Bald of Evil: Damodar: while Profion's a bad egg, his second-in-command proves himself even more brutal and sadistic.
  • Bar Brawl: Having noticed Damodar and his goons entering the tavern, Elwood instigates a bar fight so he and Snails can escape in the chaos.
  • Bar Full of Aliens: Or in this case, of fantasy creatures. A bar in the movie is shown to have a clientele made up of many non-human creatures.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Maria is introduced grousing about how she feels like she should be doing more with her life than playing librarian in the wizard's school: barely ten minutes later, Damodar storms the school, kills her master, and forces her on a harrowing quest with a pair of Commoner thieves.
  • Berserk Button: Don't shoot the dwarf's helm off him. He's very sensitive about his...ahem...'hairstyle'.
    Elwood: You shouldn't have done that...
  • Big Bad: Profion, the evil Archmage.
  • Big Good: The Empress: her attempts to overturn the caste system and stop Profion from taking over Izmer kick off the plot, and the heroes are attempting to get the Rod of Savrille to her to those ends.
  • Big "NO!": Ridley, when Snails dies.
    • Profion, when he realizes Ridley intends to , and does, destroy the Rod of Savrille.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Snails is the first major character to die. Technically, the first named character to die was Marina's mentor, Vildan, but he barely counts.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Damodar's gauntlets hold spring-loaded blades: he uses them to kill Snails.
  • Blinded by Rage: Snails' death sends Ridley into a grief-stricken rage, and he charges Damodar screaming and swinging wildly: his blows bounce harmlessly off of Damodar's armor, and he's ultimately disarmed and stabbed in the shoulder.
  • Body Horror: Profion uses magic to implant a leech-like worm in Damodar's brain. Per invokedWord of God, it was supposed to be a Mind-Flayer, although it bore no resemblance to one (Mind-Flayers are Cthulhumanoids in the 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 for purposes of torture. Whatever the case, the spell itself causes Damodar's head to pulse unnervingly as it does its work, and as the movie progresses his skull and ears turn angrily bloodshot.
  • Break the Haughty: Both Marina and Ridley go through this to varying degrees. Ridley acknowledges that his arrogance in trying to give the Mages the middle finger by robbing the wizard school ended up getting his best friend killed, and it shakes him to the point that he nearly gives up on the quest and any hope of overthrowing the status quo. Marina's harsh lesson in humility is the crux of her Character Development: she starts off a haughty, aristocratic mage who delights in disparaging commoners like Ridley and Snails as unintelligent plebeians. Then she's roped into the quest and quickly learns how useless she ultimately is, ending up being saved and protected by the commoners she looks down on again and again and again. By the end, she's come to realize that social status has absolutely nothing to do with one's worth, and finds herself falling in love with Ridley for his confidence, resourcefulness and never-say-die attitude.
  • Brick Joke: In their first scene, Snails cracks a joke about "Ridley the savior," gently mocking his best friend's Small Name, Big Ego. At the end of the film, Ridley tries to invoke it as an affectionate Ironic Echo at Snails' grave...before nearly breaking down as he remembers his ego got his friend killed.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Rare literal example - Profion keeps a dragon chained in his dungeon to test out his attempts at a mind control scepter. It's not happy about that.
  • 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.
  • Canon Foreigner: The setting and characters are not part of any existing game setting, though there have been tie-in adventures for the tabletop game.
  • Canon Immigrant: There are a handful of adventure scenarios set in Izmer, with character sheets for Elwood, Marina, Snails and Ridley.
  • Captain Obvious: Damodar: "Just like you thieves, always taking things that don't belong to you." Granted, he was taunting Snails over said thieving habits having just landed Snails in a world of trouble.
  • Character Development: Ridley and Marina both go through this: Ridley starts off a self-centered thief bigoted against Mages and harboring an unhealthy thirst for glory. A growing crush on Marina over the course of their adventures and learning that the Empress wants to overthrow the caste system starts to alleviate his unreasoning hatred of Mages, and the death of Snails as a result of one of Ridley's own ideas humbles him immensely and dampens his ambitions. Marina starts as a petulant, whiny aristocrat who looks down on commoners, but she too gets a lesson in humility when she learns her status and rudimentary magic powers don't mean much in the brutal world of the commoners, forcing her to rely on the unwashed plebeians she had been disparaging all this time. She starts getting a crush on Ridley in particular, especially when he sneaks into Damodar's stronghold to rescue her despite having no real need to do so.
  • The Chosen One: Ridley learns he is this when he is the only member of his party to enter the cave where the Rod of Savrille is kept, and is able to take it and leave.
  • Cold Ham:
    • Damodar chews a lot of scenery despite mostly speaking in a drawling monotone.
    • Thora Birch as Empress Savina also usually speaks in a Dull Surprise manner, but there are times where she raises her voice for big proclamations while still keeping up a disinterested monotone.
  • Combat Parkour: Ridley uses his thief agility with his swordsmanship to get a leg up over stronger, bulkier foes. When Damodar overbalances after a clumsy swing in Ridley's final fight with him, Ridley springboards off the balcony behind him and leaps clear over Damodar's head, all but vanishing from sight and giving him the finishing blow.
  • Concepts Are Cheap: The Empress talks a big game about wanting to give more rights and freedoms to the commoners, but what this entails is never explained.
  • Costume Porn: Hit and miss. Anything regal, like the Empress' dresses, looks absolutely stunning, but everything else looks like it came from a seasonal local costume shop.
  • Cowardly Sidekick: Snails seems like this on the surface. When cornered by Damodar, he stands his ground and fights to his last breath.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Snails vs. Damodar. He manages to nick Damodar with a dagger, but he mostly gets his ass kicked. Then Damodar murders him.
    • Ridley vs. Damodar. The first round goes pretty badly for Ridley, whose sword is useless against Damodar's armor. He does better in round two, since the elves gave his sword a magic upgrade and he isn't Blinded by Rage this time.
    • The entire party vs. Profion. Ridley gets a beatdown from Profion's staff, while the rest of them get hit with paralyzing magic and tossed aside. The Empress is likewise pinned by Profion's familiar, but she manages to grab her scepter and has one of her dragons eat him.
  • Death Glare: The movie opens with Profion trying to tame a Gold Dragon with a prototype scepter. After some seconds of struggle, the beast destroys it with a glare.
  • Defector from Decadence: After Profion's and the Empress' confrontation in front of the council, when the Empress leaves and Profion rallies the mages behind him, you can see some mages quickly leaving their seats. It's implied that they joined the Empress' side. Indeed, during the final battle, she's accompanied by a group of mages.
  • Defiant to the End: Snails when fighting Damodar. He knows full well he's not going to make it out, but he still spends his last moments fighting as hard as he can, and refuses to let Ridley trade the Dragon's Eye for him.
    Damodar: If you give me the Dragon's Eye, I may decide to let you die quickly.
    Snails: GO TO HELL!
  • Dem Bones: Savrille, the original creator of the Rod of Savrille, was cursed by the Gods as punishment for the crime of hubris, believing mankind should be allowed to command Red (Evil) Dragons. He was forced to possess his own skeleton, pinned to the wall of his treasure-filled tomb, until The Chosen One claims the Rod.
  • 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 Decadent Court of authoritarian mages.
  • Disney Villain Death: Ridley runs Damodar through and then chucks him off a tower. Rather appropriate, considering he did pretty much the same thing to Snails.
  • The Dragon: Damodar to Profion. Damodar is Chief of the Crimson Brigade and meets the heroes several times while Profion is an untouchable aristocrat giving the orders. By the time of the final battle, pretty much all the heroes have a personal beef with him, Damodar having killed Ridley's best friend and Marina's master before subjecting Marina herself to Mind Rape, and having shot Elwood's helmet off.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Profion loses what little sanity he has left when he gets his hands on the Rod of Savrille, utterly consumed by its power. Ridley comes dangerously close to this when he uses the Rod to take control of the red dragons and Marina tells him to use it to kill Profion: he spends a long moment gazing down at the Rod with a huge, psychotic smile on his face, but he manages to pull himself back to reality and chooses to destroy the evil artifact.
  • Dull Surprise: Ridley, Savina, and Damodar all seem to deliver their lines like this a lot of the time.
  • Dungeon Bypass: Ridley elects to balance on top of a series of swinging pendulums in the Guild Maze instead of trying to maneuver through them.
  • Elves vs. Dwarves: Elwood hates elves, as you do. The animosity, however, doesn't seem to be reciprocated: Norda at least barely seems to register him.
  • Evil Counterpart: Profion to Ridley: they both share the Fatal Flaw of Pride and both nurture a thirst for power and recognition. Before his character development, Ridley is hinted to have a habit of demanding difficult heists for the sake of his reputation, and not seeming to mind if Snails gets screwed over in the process, just as Profion doesn't care who gets hurt in his bid for rule over Izmir. Ridley is devastated, however, when one of his ideas ends up causing Snails' death, and by the time of the final battle, he seems to recognize that should he let his darker side define him, he'd end up just like Profion.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Profion basically offers the Empress a whole deep-fried pig. By contrast, Damodar offers up Cold Ham.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Profion. Damodar too, though unlike his Squishy Wizard master, he's not above getting his hands dirty.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Both Profion and Damodar.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: In case laymen are confused, in the first two minutes of the film, we see a dragon trapped in a dungeon.
  • Expy: The political situation in Izmir is based on the Empire of Alphatia in Mystara.
  • Fantastic Drug: While not shown on-screen, Damodar's blue lips are a side-effect of a morphene-like drug called "sannish," derived from dried desert flower juice treated with wolf's milk rather than poppy resin.
  • Fantastic Racism: We got our classic Elves vs. Dwarves with Elwood and Norda (though Norda barely seems to even register Elwood), but the prime example in Izmir is 'Commoner' vs 'Mage'. The Mages look down on and oppress the Commoners, and the Commoners are none too fond of their oppressors. Say what you will about the movie, but the sheer venom in Ridley's voice during his argument with Marina is palpable.
    Marina: You're wrong-
    Ridley: No, you're wrong! MAGE!
  • Fate Worse than Death: The worm-thing that Profion puts into Damodar's head.
    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 multi-class 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. In the context of the party itself, Ridley and Snails were Thieves, Elwood was the Fighter, and Marina was the Mage.
  • Film Adaptation (Live-Action): Adaptation based on the fantasy roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons, with Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God and Dungeons & Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness as sequels.
  • Foil: Ridley and Snails are foils to each other: while Ridley is a hot-headed daredevil with big dreams, Snails is far more down-to-earth, cynical and cautious. Even their approach to thievery is different: while Ridley prefers the big scores and is just as concerned about his reputation as a thief as the treasure itself, Snails will pilfer pretty much anything not nailed down.
  • Foreshadowing: An offhand mention to the Rod of Savrille causing "The Great War" is made early in the story and promptly forgot about...until Ridley finds a huge mural in Savrille's tomb depicting it: two mages controlling dragons, the battle between them wreaking unholy havoc on the city below. The horror on Ridley's face is palpable as he slowly realizes the position he's in: he either helps history repeat, or let Profion take over all of Izmir.
  • Forgot About His Powers:
    • Despite being a mage, Marina casts very little magic even though she can talk and move her hands freely. This might have something to do with her being an apprentice. When she manages to get her hands on magic artifacts or powder, she does a lot better.
    • Damodar too: it's easy to forget he's even a mage at all, considering his penchant for swords and heavy plate armor. He even stoops to using a crossbow at one point. The only spell he's shown using at all, in fact, is a portal he opens right at the end.
  • Functional Addict: Hinted with Damodar: his blue lips are a sign of heavy Sannish use, but he's captain of the guard for a damn good reason.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Dwarves having an aversion to horses is not a regular trait of dwarves in the game.
  • Groin Attack: Snails was on the receiving end of one in the past from a halfling when they tried to rob his house. Judging by the way Ridley mouths along as Snails recollects it, his friend just will not stop bringing it up.
  • 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 Damadar and Profion share a scene.
    • Damodar vs. Xilus:
      Damodar: You must be joking.
      Xilus: I never joke when Mages trespass... in MYYYYYYYY GUILD!
  • Happiness in Slavery: Played with. The commoner subjects of the Empire are stated to be slaves to the Magocracy, so the Empress' plan to free them is treated like it's a world-shattering event. Despite this, outright 'slavery' of the commoners is never shown: it seems more like a simple class system that most commoners are fine with, if only because they've been Conditioned to Accept Horror. A deleted scene goes into a bit more detail about their plight, revealing that some Mages barely register commoners as human: they thought nothing of magically lobotomizing a commoner inventor and stealing the credit for his creations. Whether this is a common sentiment among the Mages is unclear, but Marina, even at her most sheltered and bigoted, was speechless with disgust when Ridley told her about his father's fate.
  • Healing Hands: The elf healer uses magic from his hands to cure Ridley's stab wound. Marina is surprised he didn't need a spell to do it.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Implied. During the final climactic battle, the Empress is accompanied by a group of mages who chose her side over Profion's.
  • The High Queen: The Empress: she's one of the few Mages willing to abolish the class system, and the movie ends with Ridley going off to be knighted by her.
  • History Repeats: A mural in the tomb of Savrille depicts the Great War: Savrille and another mage commanding dragons against each other, the battle between the beasts all but flattening the city below them: by the look of dawning horror on Ridley's face, it's clearly not lost on him that the situation between Profion and the Empress is dangerously close to becoming what he's seeing.
  • Hollywood Torches: There are a number of torches burning on the walls of the den of thieves and even inside the maze of booby traps.
  • 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 Sumdall feel this way.
    Ridley: We may live outside the law but we respect each other.
  • Hope Spot: A rare villain example at the beginning of the movie: Profion's elated that the prototype staff he built to control Golden Dragons finally works...until the dragon breaks free.
    Profion: With a dragon army at my command, I can crush the empress, and rule what is rightfully mine! [...] Now, follow me.
    The Dragon: [takes a few steps forward, then backs away]
    Profion: [more forcefully] Follow me.
    The Dragon: [continues to back away]
    Profion: I SAID FOLLOW ME!
    (the dragon shoots the staff a Death Glare and the staff fizzles out, leaving Profion staring in horror)
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: Damodar attempts this twice on Ridley: the first time it fails when Snails refuses to play along and gives his life to get the map to Ridley. The second time it works: Ridley gives up the Rod of Savrille to Damodar when the rest of his friends are taken hostage, in no small part due to Damodar reminding Ridley of what happened the last time he hesitated in a situation like this.
  • I Gave My Word: Profion promises Damodar that he'll remove the parasite from his head if he successfully retrieves the scepter. When Damodar succeeds, he does so after being reminded of his end of the bargain.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Damodar, when Ridley knocks him off the castle ledge at the end.
  • Implied Death Threat:
    Damodar: Remember your stupidity and persistence got your thief friend killed. Don't let it be responsible for finishing off the rest of your social circle ... [Ridley hesitates. Damodar puts a cut on Marina's neck.] Oh, look. I've cut her. What a shame.
  • Informed Attribute: The dwarf isn't short. In fact, he's nearly as tall as Ridley.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Marina tries to console Ridley after Snails' death by telling him Snails died for a good cause. This only serves to outright infuriate Ridley, since, well, he didn't know what the cause was and as far as he was concerned his best friend's death was just the result of him getting caught up in a power play between power-hungry Mages and stepped on as collateral.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: To Ridley, Profion is just another scheming elitist mage in a city full of them, while Damodar is the guy who killed his friend right in front of him. Guess which one is his Arch-Enemy whom he battles at the climax of the movie.
  • Jabba Table Manners: Elwood, who messily stuffs his face with chicken and talks with his mouth full, to Marina's disgust.
  • Just Desserts: Profion ends up being eaten by a gold dragon summoned by Savina.
  • Karmic Death: Damodar kills Snails by stabbing him in the back and flinging him off a high tower. Ridley gets his revenge for his best friend's death by stabbing Damodar in the back (with Snails' knife, no less) and flinging him off a high tower.
  • Kung-Fu Wizard: Profion is a lesser example: he's no out-and-out Magic Knight, but he demonstrates enough martial skill with a magic staff to utterly clobber Ridley hand-to-hand.
  • Large Ham: Profion, courtesy of Jeremy Irons: "Let the blood RAIN from the SKY!!!" Which ends up sounding more like "LET THEIR BLUD REEIIINNN FROM THA SKAAAAAAAUAUUUUGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!"
  • Let Me Get This Straight...: Profion laying into Damodar after the latter allows Marina to escape with the scroll.
    Profion: You allow a slip of a girl to escape you, with the scroll. And now Norda, the Empress's finest tracker, is in pursuit. And you tell me...not to concern myself?
  • Lovable Rogue: Ridley and Snails. Despite Ridley's ego and bigotry against Mages and Snails' cowardice, the two are ultimately noble at heart.
  • Magic Map: The one they're all after, which somehow pulls Ridley and Marina into it.note 
  • Magic Wand: Scepters that command dragons are the chief Plot Devices here.
  • The Magocracy: The mages rule and have far higher status than the non-mages, and they want it to stay that way.
  • Menacing Stroll: Damodar uses this method rather inappropriately when he's chasing after Snails through a building with no locked doors. He even takes a moment to casually adjust his collar. His blase attitude becomes a little more understandable when he manages to catch up to Snails regardless and beat the stuffing out of him: the poor thief never had a prayer of escaping.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: Profion has a tendency for this.
  • Mind Rape: Damodar uses the parasite in his head to slowly and agonizingly suck the information he wants out of Marina's mind. When Ridley finds her afterward, she's swaddled herself in blankets and is curled up in the corner crying. Also, a deleted scene reveals that Mages jealous of Ridley's inventor father did this to him and stole all the credit for his inventions.
  • Moral Myopia: Ridley, a thief, is shocked to his core when another thief robs him.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Empress Savina says this almost verbatim once her dragons start dying and the balance starts being disrupted. She recalls them out of Profion's reach, then jumps aboard one to ride over and face Profion herself.
  • Nerds Are Sexy: Marina: the nerdy librarian look goes away rather early, though, and by the end she's more Unkempt Beauty.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Damodar gives Snails one before he can escape with the map.
  • No Name Given: The Dwarf's name is Elwood Gutworthy, but it only gets one mention when Ridley offhandedly tells him to wait outside the Thieves' Guild. (He properly introduces himself in a Deleted Scene, though.)
  • Non-Action Guy: Snails: he's got a knife for emergencies, but unlike Ridley he's a pure Thief and not good with combat: when a battle breaks out in the Thieves Guild, he takes the opportunity to duck behind a counter and pilfer as much as he can.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: Ridley is initially roped into the plot against his will, and goes along with it because he and Snails really have no better option. Once Snails is killed, Ridley loses even that motivation, disparaging the whole affair as a power struggle between Mages that he really couldn't care less about. Once Marina tells him about the Empress' plans to uplift the Commoners and get rid of the class system, however, his opinion changes quick-smart.
  • Novelization: Dungeons & Dragons: The Movie by Neal Barrett Jr., including deleted scenes from the movie. Also, the Dungeons & Dragons: The Movie young adult novel by Steve Atley.
  • Obi-Wan Moment: From Snails, no less: Damodar has beaten him to a bloody pulp and is holding him hostage, demanding the Dragon's Eye in exchange. Ridley is about to comply...then he notices Snails grinning as he pulls out the map. Before Ridley can stop him, Snails chucks the map to him and Marina, and a furious Damodar knifes him to death.
  • Obviously Evil: Profion can put on a Faux Affably Evil show of being a Gentleman Wizard if it suits his needs, complete with fancy white dress robes when he's in front of the council. Damodar on the other hand is just a thug.
  • Omniglot: According to her character sheet, Marina is fluent in Celestian, Common, Terran, Draconic and Elven.
  • Only in It for the Money: Elwood the dwarf: the one and only reason he gets involved with the quest is because there's bound to be a huge reward for helping out Empress Savina.
  • Only Sane Man: Snails, shockingly enough. He's far more cautious and conservative than Ridley, and ultimately every one of his gut feelings come true in one way or another. Unfortunately, this doesn't end up saving him as Ridley and Marina charge bullheadedly into the situations Snails is trying to warn them against, and while they manage to come out on top, Snails' luck isn't nearly as good.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Despite being an inordinately powerful Archmage, Profion spends most of the movie back in Sumdall, having his flunky Damodar do the heavy lifting looking for the Rod of Savrille and menacing the heroes. Understandable, as he's trying to keep up his Gentleman Wizard facade and personally running around looking for an Artifact of Doom would raise some eyebrows. He's not entirely passive, though: he plays politics and manipulates the council in the meantime to prepare for his takeover.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Even has the Dwarf mention female Dwarf beards and a fight with a gang of Orcs.
  • Our Elves Are Different: Although they are not portrayed as superior than the human chosen ones, Elves 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: Empress Savina has a few regal dresses.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Snails and Elwood share the role.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The film's novelization changed several aspects for the better. Snails became the Only Sane Man (a role severely undercut by his Comic Relief status in the movie), the Dwarf's name was actually used, and the film's good deleted scenes were reinserted.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: The purple-headed guy (credited as "Three Eyes") tells Ridley and company to leave Antius "before you get the words 'Outsiders NOT Appreciated.' Branded. Right. Where. Your. Nose. Used. To be."
  • Quicksand Sucks: A booby-trap in Damodar's castle is a quicksand pit disguised as a fancy rug.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Profion's evil lair is so covered in human bones it comes across as extremely heavy-handed and over the top. While it certainly fits Profion's personality, it's a real place, and more or less unaltered.
  • Red Right Hand: Damodar's blue lips. He could be addicted to Sannish, a drug that causes permanent staining of the lips.
  • Rescue Romance: Ridley's confidence and determination slowly wins Marina over over the course of their adventures, despite her initial distaste for him. But it's only after he rescues her from Damodar's fortress that she starts being honest with her feelings: having gotten the Eye of the Dragon, he had no need to risk his life saving her. But he does anyway, and Marina glomps him on sight.
  • Ret-Canon: Izmer was introduced in adventures for the tabletop game based on the film series, with character sheets for Elwood, Marina, Snails and Ridley.
  • Sanity Slippage: Somehow, Profion becomes even hammier after getting his hands on the Rod of Savrille: by the time Ridley confronts him, the mage has gone from simply 'theatrical and melodramatic' to 'entirely unhinged'.
  • Scenery Porn:
    • In a very limited sense. Any time there's a scene in that council chamber, drink it in. The filmmakers used a real Czech palace, 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.
  • Sequel Hook: In a deleted scene, Ridley places the Eye of the Dragon on Snails' grave, activating the crystal. A voice says, "your friend awaits you," and the group is teleported away.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Show Within a Show: The film seems to hint at the end that the entire film was a campaign session, with the players leaving after it ends (it would explain the cheesiness of the plot that mimics other storylines of popular entertainment).note 
  • Small Role, Big Impact: The dragon at the very start: had its blood not lit the lake on fire, Ridley and Snails never would have gotten involved and Profion's scheme probably would have gone off without a hitch.
  • Some Kind of Force Field: When our heroes run into a shield spell that prevents everyone but Ridley from passing. A fascinated Marina exclaims, "It's a Wall of Force of some kind...I've never seen this kind of magic." Even Norda is stumped by it, and Ridley is left with no choice but to forge ahead alone.
  • Spell Blade: Ridley's blade is enchanted after his first fight with Damodar, causing it to release yellow energy with each strike. Damodar's blade has a similar effect, only purple.
  • Stupidest Thing I've Ever Heard: Snails, upon hearing that Ridley agreed to search for the Rod of Savrille.
    Snails: I got a new name for dumb: "Ridley." This is the Ridleyest thing I ever heard of.
  • Supernormal Bindings: When Ridley and Snails break into the library, Marina catches them in conjured ropes that seem to pull them along wherever she goes.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Damodar attempts this on Marina, lying that he's still loyal to Savina and that he's being forced by Profion into doing his bidding, telling her that if he does not obtain the Rod of Savrille he will die (which is true, to his credit). Marina seems to genuinely feel bad for him for a moment, even if she still refuses to help him. At this point, Damodar loses patience and uses the parasite in his brain to torture the information out of her.
  • Tae Kwon Door: Having lost control of the dragon when his prototype scepter broke, Profion sends two quick Magic Missiles into the cage door's winches: the door crashes down and crushes the charging dragon's neck.
  • Team Hand-Stack: At the end of the movie the four remaining protagonists do a hand stack over the Eye of the Dragon gem and are teleported away.
  • This Cannot Be!: Profion gets a shockingly understated (for him) one when Ridley uses the Rod of Savrille to take control of the red dragons.
    Profion: ...Well, that's impossible.
  • Tragic Bigot: A deleted scene explains why Ridley has such a deep-rooted hatred of Mages even by commoner standards: Mages were jealous of his inventor father and couldn't stand that a commoner could be such a genius. Their solution to the problem was to magically lobotomize him and steal credit for all his inventions. He starts to get over this as the movie progresses, recognizing that not all Mages are evil, but he still has a particular hatred for those like Profion and Damodar (evil Mages who are above the law).
Ridley: (looking at the body of Savrille) Finally: a Mage who got what he deserved.
  • Tranquil Fury: Profion of all people gets so pissed at Damodar for his failure to claim the scroll at the Magic School that he lapses into this. He doesn't raise his voice once in the whole scene as he curses Damodar with a magical brain parasite and warns him not to fail him again.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The thieves. Sure, breaking into a wizard school to steal something valuable is a brilliant idea. Snails even snarks at Ridley about just how stupid this is (but still goes with him). They are quickly caught in Supernormal Bindings and definitely would have received a severe punishment if not for the plot happening.
  • Too Fast to Stop: Marina is so frantic to escape Damodar during his attack on the wizard school that she runs full bore through a portal in full panic mode; by the time she realizes a huge pile of garbage is in her path, she's running too fast and clumsily to stop and slams face-first into it.
  • Uncle Tomfoolery: Snails. Played with: as goofy, loud and annoying as he can be, he's actually smarter than Ridley, constantly pointing out his daredevil friend's rash decisions and usually being right: it's Ridley's refusal to heed him that ultimately costs Snails his life. When cornered by Damodar, Snails' over-the-top routine all but vanishes as he stands his ground and fights to his last breath.
    Damodar: You cannot be serious.
    Snails: I've never been so serious.
  • Unexpected Kindness: In a deleted scene when Ridley tells Marina about how Mages Mind Raped his father out of jealousy. When a horrified Marina expresses sympathy, for a moment Ridley seems unsure how to react. Of all the things he expected from this hoity-toity Mage, empathy doesn't seem to have been one of them. While the two of them still snipe at each other, things aren't quite as tense between them going forward.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The Empress' attempt to unearth the Rod of Savrille for insurance against Profion set the stage for what could have been the end of the world: on top of the catastrophic damage a battle between dragons would cause to the city of Sumdall, the dragons all killing each other would disrupt the balance of magic, heralding the apocalypse. Luckily, Ridley is able to safely banish the Red Dragons and destroy the rod before too much damage could be done.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The Rod of Savrille starts wearing away at Profion's already-fragile sanity over the course of the final battle, and once the Rod is destroyed he completely loses it. It culminates with him pinning the Empress to the ground with a familiar and screaming an incantation at the top of his lungs. He's so out of it that he doesn't notice the Empress struggling for her fallen scepter and using it to summon a dragon until the beast's shadow falls over him. At that point he can do nothing but gawk blankly as the dragon lunges down and devours him.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Profion. A powerful, respected Archmage and important member of the council who effortlessly manipulates his fellow traditionalists into turning on the empress 'for the good of Izmir' while planning to backstab them the entire time and seize total power. Surprisingly, Damodar is this in the eyes of the Empress as well. Even Norda, the Empress' eyes and ears in Sumdall, is stunned by the revelation that Damodar is in league with Profion. According to Damodar, he earned his good publicity after years of loyally serving the royal family.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Profion presents one so basic that a blind svirfneblin could see through it. He suggests that the Council votes to remove the Empress' Artifact of Doom (likely so he can claim it) from her possession, effectively making her powerless. If she agrees, he's removed his biggest political opponent. If not, he will claim it's proof that the empress does not have the Council's best interest in mind. It works in no small part due to the Council already not liking the Empress to begin with: ultimately, Profion just articulated an excuse for them to do what they've wanted to do for a while.
  • You Are What You Hate: It's hinted very strongly, and would have later played out in a sequel, that Ridley is actually a Mage.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Actually subverted in the film's one really clever moment: we're led to believe Profion will kill Damodar (or at least let him die) after he brings him the Artifact of Doom, but then he removes the parasite, as he promised.
  • You Said You Would Let Them Go:
    • Ridley surrenders the Rod of Savrille to Damodar, against his compatriots' requests, then says this to Damodar. Damodar replies, "I Lied."
    • Played with when Damodar gives the Rod to Profion, demanding that Profion undo the spell placed on him. Profion seems more concerned with the Rod, but honors his end of the deal when Damodar presses the issue.


Video Example(s):



Jeremy Irons proceeds to completely and utterly obliterate the D&D movie's scenery.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (16 votes)

Example of:

Main / ChewingTheScenery

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