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Johnny Angel
12-09-2000, 05:24 AM
Johnny Angel's Review of Dungeons & Dragons

[Warning: this review contains slight spoilers, but mostly of predictable developments, and some gratuitous D&D terminology that the author hasn't bothered to define for the squares]

I didn't ask much of this movie, and it failed to deliver. I went in with full willingness to suspend disbelief, and tried very hard to let the film sweep me away, but Dungeons & Dragons did nothing to reward my indulgence. It failed as a movie in general, and failed especially as a movie for D&D fans. It barely ever rose above mediocre, even by the generous standards I chose to judge it by.

Justin Whalin, as Ridley, cuts a dashing figure of a swashbuckling rogue when he gets to do something, which isn't often enough. Mostly, like every other character, he's a mouthpiece for empty dialogue. We get to see him use the traditional D&D thieving skills -- he reads languages, finds traps, picks locks and suprisingly even gets in a devastating backstab, though by D&D rules, he was cheating.
Ridley's sidekick Snails, played by Marlon Wayans, smacks very much of the sambo characters of another era. He's cowardly, inept, and never contributes anything worth his share of the XP. I don't mind him being comic relief, but a better movie would have given him some skills, made him a solid guy you could count on in a pinch. It's been done before, and audiences respond well. Look at Bull Harris in Howard Hawks' El Dorado. He amounts to more than the sum of his dagnabits and tarnations -- he knows his job and does it well. But Snails is a throwaway character, and the movie does indeed throw him away.

The mage, played by Zoe McLellan, knows two spells -- Magic Missle and Dimension Door -- and doesn't bother to cast them often, largely because she doesn't bother to carry any spell components. However, those of us who play D&D know that neither of these spells actually require material components. McLellan is the love interest for Whalin, though they appear to have fallen in love in a scene that was cut.

Lee Arenberg's portrayal of a dwarf is exactly what we gamers like a dwarf to be. Scruffy, mean, violent and loud. Unfortunately, he doesn't do much, doesn't have many good lines, and could have easily have been cut out of the story altogether.

Kristen Wilson's elven ranger was appropriately high-tone and laconic, but this unfortunately means that we never get to see any depth to her personality. And her costume is absurd, both because her metal breastplate violates the D&D armor restrictions for rangers, and because under it she appears to be wearing khakis or longjohns or something. She does get to be the love interest for Snails, since she is the only other black person in the movie. Clearly, the human/elf race line is blurry, but the black/white race line is cut in stone.

The Empress Savina is played by Thora Birch, much lauded for her role in the Oscar-winning American Beauty, who delivers the worst performance I've ever seen outside of a Billy Jack movie. Everbody in the movie has lousy dialogue, but Thora Birch chokes on hers. To be fair, hers is the worst. But this doesn't explain or justify her abysmally bad, constipated and simpering delivery. We all know she can act; it's not clear why she decided not to.

I thought Jeremy Irons' over-the-top performance as the evil mage Profion was marvelous. He delivers every line with his face quivering, his voice trilling, his fists clenching and flailing, even when there seemed to be no need for it. He was absolutely my favorite character, and if he had been given any good lines at all, he would have stolen the film and set the standards for villians for years to come.

Bruce Payne is the badass evil henchman, who for some unexplained reason has periwinkle lips. He has a strong presence, and makes a decent villain, though he doesn't actually do anything all that interesting. Yet, he's more involved in the plot than Irons.

Tom Baker has a cameo, and he does a good job of delivering a bad speech that sounds like it has something to do with the plot, but doesn't.

Yes, there is a plot. But it's so confused that to be charitable we have to assume that the original script must have been four times the size of the one that made it to the screen. We seem to be missing a lot of explanation.

Irons tries to create a rod of dragon control, and fails, ruining his scheme to take over the empire and foil Birch's attempt at enlightened despotism. He needn't have worried much. The Empress is no Voltaire. She clearly hasn't thought this through, since no attempt is made to explain how she expects to enforce universal equality in a world where the nobles can all shoot fireballs out of their finger-tips, except that apparently she plans to throw dragons at the problem. She has her own rod of dragon control, which she apparently can't use yet, until at some point in the movie she suddenly, and without explanation, can.

Because the council of mages, at Irons' urging, has voted for Birch to give up her rod, the heroes go in search of yet another one, hoping to pull a sly one on the council by allowing the Empress to comply without relinquishing her power. This entire premise is shot to hell when the Empress summons her dragons before the new rod is found, making the entire quest pointless. Yet, the quest continues anyway, though the only thing it can accomplish at this point is to deliver the rod into the hands of the bad guys, which is just what happens. Mother Theresa may have been charitable enough to read this as ironic. I am made of weaker stuff. I took it as sloppy writing.

There are some things D&D fans will like about the film, but a lot more things they won't. It's nice that they threw in a beholder, an infamous creature in D&D, but for some reason, it's being used by humans as some kind of a guard dog. In D&D, it's beholders who use humans, often as food. The difference between gold and red dragons is never explained (gold dragons are good, red ones are evil), and dragons never seem to be more than snarling brutes, in contrast to the deviously hyper-intelligent spellcasters gamers know them to be. Their breath weapons come in short bursts of fire, rather than the streaming cones described in the Monster Manual. I could point out more, but you get the point. They didn't try very hard to get it right.

Although there were action sequences in the movie that I enjoyed, nothing particularly interesting happens until the second act, and even then the story fails to gather any momentum. If the movie had been distilled down to the perhaps thirty minutes of battling dragons, swinging blades and magic swords clashing, the story would have made just as much sense and would have been a treat to see. As a bonus, I wouldn't have had to sit through the Birch's blubbering speeches, which were embarassingly bad attempts at social commentary and courtly intrigue. But the good stuff doesn't make up for the bad stuff. Not nearly.

Even with all the things I liked about the film, the dungeon crawling and the dwarf hollering and the atmospheric set design and computer-generated architecture and the (usually) decent costuming, I cannot in good conscience recommend this film to anyone at all, not at full price. If you're curious, go and see it when it comes around to the El Cheapo, or wait until it comes out on video and give it the MST3K treatment. Just don't expect it to be worth the money. I'd like to support the production of D&D movies, but I sure don't want to send the message that this is what gamers are looking for.

Conan the Barbarian still remains the closest thing to a D&D movie ever made.

Surgoshan
12-09-2000, 11:05 AM
Dude, I HAVE to see this movie!

If for no other reason than to find out if you were overly critical.

Kyberneticist
12-09-2000, 06:05 PM
RottenTomatoes ("http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=00/12/08/1427208&mode=thread]/.[/url] is discussing it right now.

The meta reviewer [url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com) shows it has collected one of the worst assortment of reviews I have seen so far (one marked "good" was that it was a better B-movie then SW Episode I was in epic sci-fi).

A couple of people who gave it good reviews on /. did so by saying they thought the lame acting and script brought to mind a group of teenage kids playing around at D&D.

bleah.

Kyberneticist
12-09-2000, 06:06 PM
/. (http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=00/12/08/1427208&mode=thread) is discussing it right now.

Didn't notice I had cut n pasted the url outside of the "" marks.
grr.

Goose
12-09-2000, 06:41 PM
Please, please, please see this movie. Do it for me. If it gets a lot of money they will make a Drangonlance movie. If it flops, no Dragonlance movie. I want to die a happy man. Oh please, kindly donate to me 2 hours of your life. Hell, I saw it twice yesterday.

Surgoshan
12-09-2000, 06:47 PM
They might make a Dragonlance movie?

::running to the theater::

Kyberneticist
12-09-2000, 06:57 PM
A dragonlance movie with the same director?
Do you really want that to happen?

Dark Lord Davidson
12-09-2000, 07:24 PM
Originally posted by Johnny Angel
Justin Whalin, as Ridley, cuts a dashing figure of a swashbuckling rogue when he gets to do something, which isn't often enough. Mostly, like every other character, he's a mouthpiece for empty dialogue. We get to see him use the traditional D&D thieving skills -- he reads languages, finds traps, picks locks and suprisingly even gets in a devastating backstab, though by D&D rules, he was cheating.

Lithe figure, boyish good looks, impossibly agile..a rogue by any standard! Too bad they had to fucking ruin it by making him a swordsman throughout the whole god damn movie.

Ridley's sidekick Snails, played by Marlon Wayans, smacks very much of the sambo characters of another era. He's cowardly, inept, and never contributes anything worth his share of the XP. I don't mind him being comic relief, but a better movie would have given him some skills, made him a solid guy you could count on in a pinch. It's been done before, and audiences respond well. Look at Bull Harris in Howard Hawks' El Dorado. He amounts to more than the sum of his dagnabits and tarnations -- he knows his job and does it well. But Snails is a throwaway character, and the movie does indeed throw him away.

Without a doubt, and as much as I hate to say this...Marlon Wayans gave the best performance out of anyone in the movie. He had a role--he played it well (and I LOVE his high-pitched squeal). Can't say the same for anyone else.

The mage, played by Zoe McLellan, knows two spells -- Magic Missle and Dimension Door -- and doesn't bother to cast them often, largely because she doesn't bother to carry any spell components. However, those of us who play D&D know that neither of these spells actually require material components. McLellan is the love interest for Whalin, though they appear to have fallen in love in a scene that was cut.

This character was so incredibly shallow that you could have taken a cardboard cutout of her with a stunned look on her dirty face, and it would have had the same effect (if not more) than the actual actress did.

Lee Arenberg's portrayal of a dwarf is exactly what we gamers like a dwarf to be. Scruffy, mean, violent and loud. Unfortunately, he doesn't do much, doesn't have many good lines, and could have easily have been cut out of the story altogether.

This was probably the most true-to-D&D aspect of the movie. A short, strong dwarf with a huge battle axe and a chip on his shoulder the size of..uh..what was the kingdom's name? Anyway..his description of stout dwarf women with something to hold onto had me in stitches.

Kristen Wilson's elven ranger was appropriately high-tone and laconic, but this unfortunately means that we never get to see any depth to her personality. And her costume is absurd, both because her metal breastplate violates the D&D armor restrictions for rangers, and because under it she appears to be wearing khakis or longjohns or something. She does get to be the love interest for Snails, since she is the only other black person in the movie. Clearly, the human/elf race line is blurry, but the black/white race line is cut in stone.

Another totally forgettable character whose breastsplate was probably more dangerous than any other weapon she could have used. Ridiculously cold even for an Elf, she was a terrible representation of the race as a whole.

The Empress Savina is played by Thora Birch, much lauded for her role in the Oscar-winning American Beauty, who delivers the worst performance I've ever seen outside of a Billy Jack movie. Everbody in the movie has lousy dialogue, but Thora Birch chokes on hers. To be fair, hers is the worst. But this doesn't explain or justify her abysmally bad, constipated and simpering delivery. We all know she can act; it's not clear why she decided not to.

All I could think of whenever I saw her: Amidala. A young ruler trying to prevent an evil rebel from wresting control of her empire for his own diabolical use. Is it Savina? Is it Amidala? You decide. An awfully written and acted character.

I thought Jeremy Irons' over-the-top performance as the evil mage Profion was marvelous. He delivers every line with his face quivering, his voice trilling, his fists clenching and flailing, even when there seemed to be no need for it. He was absolutely my favorite character, and if he had been given any good lines at all, he would have stolen the film and set the standards for villians for years to come.

Please tell me you're joking..PLEASE. This character was SO overacted it's disgusting. It just made him look silly. I couldn't stand to even look at him the whole time.

Bruce Payne is the badass evil henchman, who for some unexplained reason has periwinkle lips. He has a strong presence, and makes a decent villain, though he doesn't actually do anything all that interesting. Yet, he's more involved in the plot than Irons.

A rebel without a cause would be a perfect description of this character. I loved his battle attire and fighting style, but his performance was reduced to a number of cold stares and lifeless dialogue.

Tom Baker has a cameo, and he does a good job of delivering a bad speech that sounds like it has something to do with the plot, but doesn't.

I don't know who you're talking about here, so I'm not going to comment.

Yes, there is a plot. But it's so confused that to be charitable we have to assume that the original script must have been four times the size of the one that made it to the screen. We seem to be missing a lot of explanation.

I agree totally. Why didn't the dragons talk, at all? What "evil" was it that the Rod of Red Dragon Control radiated and instilled in its user? Why were fireballs flaming from the moment the mages threw them, instead of exploding soon after deploying? Why was it so easy to gain access to a major thieves guild? Why were two rogues so adept at using swords? Why did Snails name get scratched off the rock at the end? Where the hell did the red dragon eye take the four? How the hell did they end up WITH the red dragon eye, after he used it to gain access to the crypt? How did they gain access to an extremely high spire in the mage tower? Why did they only show beholders for 20 seconds? What was Snails planning to do with the magic dust (which, by the way, seemed to be the universal spell component throughout the movie) he swiped from Damadar's room? Was the elf who healed Ridley a cleric, or a druid?

There are so many (more) unanswered questions it almost scares me.

If I wasn't such a fan of the genre, I'd give it a 0. As it is...it gets a 1.5.

Surgoshan
12-09-2000, 08:44 PM
From what people have been saying:
They made the movie for non D&D fans. They played on the well-known stereotypes for each class (rogues are always witty swash-bucklers. Did they have rapiers?). It also sounds like they loaded the movie with too many characters for each one to be well developed (there are a ton of X-Men, they dealt with about 5).

Then, they forgot that the main audience for a D&D movie would be: people who love D&D and know what the people SHOULD be like, rather than the stereotypes.

Sound good?

Danimal
12-09-2000, 09:24 PM
Originally posted by Johnny Angel
Johnny Angel's Review of Dungeons & Dragons
Justin Whalin, as Ridley, cuts a dashing figure of a swashbuckling rogue when he gets to do something, which isn't often enough. Mostly, like every other character, he's a mouthpiece for empty dialogue. We get to see him use the traditional D&D thieving skills -- he reads languages, finds traps, picks locks and suprisingly even gets in a devastating backstab, though by D&D rules, he was cheating.

What I found even more annoying is that Ridley's the only guy who really gets to do anything successful in the whole damn movie. Even the villains can't do anything right.

You notice there was one skill that neither of those two bumbling buffoons never seemed to use: MOVE SILENTLY!!! They made more noise than two cats in heat! And their wall-climbing skills were less than impressive, at least to D&D players who are used to thieves who climb sheer walls with their bare hands.

[qoute]Ridley's sidekick Snails, played by Marlon Wayans, smacks very much of the sambo characters of another era. He's cowardly, inept, and never contributes anything worth his share of the XP.[/quote]

Amen, pardner. Couldn't have said it any better. I hated what they did with that character.

Lee Arenberg's portrayal of a dwarf is exactly what we gamers like a dwarf to be. Scruffy, mean, violent and loud. Unfortunately, he doesn't do much, doesn't have many good lines, and could have easily have been cut out of the story altogether.

I would have hated to see him cut, just because he was the only thing that made the first half of the movie bearable. Arenberg does the best job in the whole movie.

Kristen Wilson's elven ranger was appropriately high-tone and laconic, but this unfortunately means that we never get to see any depth to her personality. And her costume is absurd, both because her metal breastplate violates the D&D armor restrictions for rangers, and because under it she appears to be wearing khakis or longjohns or something. She does get to be the love interest for Snails, since she is the only other black person in the movie. Clearly, the human/elf race line is blurry, but the black/white race line is cut in stone.

Actually, no rule says rangers can't use metal armor; they just temporarily give up a few of their special abilities to do it. Although that particular metal armor . . . just how do you bend over in that thing?

As for everything else you say, and most especially the black/white race line, the most eloquent thing I can say is: Ditto! You tell 'em!

I thought Jeremy Irons' over-the-top performance as the evil mage Profion was marvelous. He delivers every line with his face quivering, his voice trilling, his fists clenching and flailing, even when there seemed to be no need for it. He was absolutely my favorite character, and if he had been given any good lines at all, he would have stolen the film and set the standards for villians for years to come.

No, I gotta go with Davidson on this one. Payne is over-the-top, and enjoyable. Irons is just parodying himself.

Overall, I would say the movie is worth while seeing as long as you walk in an hour late, or fast forward through the first hour on video. Thereby you spare yourself the irritation of Snails, and see the only part of the movie that is worth seeing: the dragon battle over the city.

Your exposition of the movie's flaws is, overall, superb.

Danimal (now forging his longsword +3, +6 vs. Courtney Solomon.

Mauve Dog
12-09-2000, 09:56 PM
I just got back from seeing the movie. I was very disappointed. And, like Johnny Angel, I wasn't expecting much to begin with.

Others have already pointed out many of the films major faults. One that I was particularly annoyed with was the portrayal of relative fighting skills.

As anyone who's played the game knows, thieves, fighters and mages all have definite fighting styles: fighters fight well, thieves fight so-so, and are better at sneaky tactics, and mages suck at it. In the movie, the mid-level (at best) thief out-fights the much stronger, high-level warrior-henchman (the fight between the henchman and Snails, I thought, was much truer to the game). The Evil Mage out-fights said thief by using a staff one-handed (I should point out, however, that the movie's version of 'out-fighting' in this case involves the Evil Mage simply hiding behind his staff, as the thief-guy swings his sword at it). This is way off from the way things would happen in the game.

Personally, I feel that the movie's biggest failing was in attaching the "Dungeons & Dragons" name to it. By implying that the movie is going to essentially be a D&D adventure come to life, fans of the game (or even RPGing in general) are going to have certain expectations. The director (and probably everyone else involved) has apparently never played the game, so had no idea what these expectations were, and as a result, missed the point. The movie had a lot of potential, whether played seriously, or even camped up as a film version of what tends to happen in an actual game (personally, I think the latter would have been a real hoot). Unfortunately, it failed to live up to any of its potential.

They only needed to roll a 10 to score a hit and probably make most of its audience happy.

They rolled a one.

Johnny Angel
12-09-2000, 10:22 PM
Dark Lord Davidson wrote:

Lithe figure, boyish good looks, impossibly agile..a rogue by any standard! Too bad they had to fucking ruin it by making him a swordsman throughout the whole god damn movie.

I took him to be of the Swashbuckler kit, from The Complete Thieves' Handbook. They select a favorite weapon, and go up in THAC0 with that weapon as a fighter of the same level. In any case, clearly Ridley was at least 10th level, so he was probably a pretty good swordsman anyway.

Anyway..his description of stout dwarf women with something to hold onto had me in stitches.

My favorite line was, "If I'm not drinkin', you're not shoppin'!"

Please tell me you're joking..PLEASE. This character was SO overacted it's disgusting. It just made him look silly. I couldn't stand to even look at him the whole time.

We're obviously shins and knees on this one -- you loved Wayans' performance, but didn't like Irons'. I just can't see it.

I don't know who you're talking about here, so I'm not going to comment.

Tom Baker was the very popular fourth Doctor, from the show Dr. Who. In this movie, he played the elf king.

Danimal wrote:

What I found even more annoying is that Ridley's the only guy who really gets to do anything successful in the whole damn movie. Even the villains can't do anything right.

For a D&D movie, the whole party needs to be competent. Even if you're going to have one party member be a focus character, the rest need to be highly competent too. Look at how well this worked with Tommy Lee Jones and his team in The Fugitive.

You notice there was one skill that neither of those two bumbling buffoons never seemed to use: MOVE SILENTLY!!! They made more noise than two cats in heat! And their wall-climbing skills were less than impressive, at least to D&D players who are used to thieves who climb sheer walls with their bare hands.

Under the basic D&D set I once had, climb walls was called `climb sheer surfaces'. I imagined Steve Martin in The Man with Two Brains, licking his hands and using them as suction cups. But if Snails had at least been good at sneaking around, and hiding in shadows, his cowardace would have been less irritating.

Actually, no rule says rangers can't use metal armor; they just temporarily give up a few of their special abilities to do it.

That's right. I should have known this, because I just got done playing Baldur's Gate II.

Irons is just parodying himself.

And having a load of fun with it. I myself had a load of fun doing my Profion impression. My friends were sick of it within the hour, but I'm still enchanted.

Danimal (now forging his longsword +3, +6 vs. Courtney Solomon.

The writers, I noticed on IMDB, both also worked on Where the Money Is. Now I'd like to see this other film, and find out if the problem might just be them.

SPOOFE
12-10-2000, 01:42 AM
My reaction to the D&D movie: Star Wars without guns. They simply substituted "magic" for "The Force", magic swords for lightsabers, dragons for X-wings, and a dwarf for Chewbacca. They didn't even substitute the Empress... they kept the queen they had in TMP.

Anyway...

The acting was horrendous. I originally thought that Marlon Wayans would ruin the movie, but it turns out he was the best actor in the whole thing, with Justin Whalin coming in a close second. Nobody else even comes close.

Profion was a pretty good villain, but he looked like a Wall Street executive. I half-expected him to pull out his cell phone and say "Sell my Mage Corp. stock!"

The best part of the movie was listening to the hardcore fanboys in the theatre whispering about the movie... "Ooh, a spell of binding... aha, a dwarf!... wow, an Elven blade!... oh, no, Beholders!"

On the way out, me and my friend started a list of what the typical D&D enthusiast would think after seeing the movie... here're some of the better ones:

"They didn't roll dice once in that movie!"

"That was horrible... they made him take 17 points of damage when EVERYbody knows he should have only taken 15!"

"Y'know that part where they had their lips pressed together? What's that called, anyway?"

:D

tracer
12-10-2000, 01:51 AM
AD&D players: Please see my sarcastic review of the movie at http://www.hit-n-run.com/cgi/read_review.cgi?review=53538_rogermw, in which I re-tell the entire plot using AD&D rules terminology. ;)

Oh, and I'm sure that wasn't metal breastplate the elven ranger was wearing. It was probably a silver lamé 1-piece swimsuit, which sounds like the perfect garment to be wearing in the middle of the woods at night. :rolleyes:

tracer
12-10-2000, 02:12 AM
Johnny Angel wrote:

The mage, played by Zoe McLellan, knows two spells -- Magic Missle and Dimension Door
No no no, she also knows the "make a rope appear around Justin Whalin and Marlon Wayans, tying them together" spell! (It couldn't have been a "bind" spell because that requires her to throw a real non-magical rope at them and hit them with it, and it couldn't have been a "hold person" spell because "hold person" prevents someone from speaking and Justin Whalin just wouldn't shut up.)

And that other spell she cast at Bruce Payne twice might not have been "magic missile", it could've been "lightning bolt." What with those little electric arc bolts and things. (Of course, lightning bolt requires material components she didn't have, but then again, dimension door should've been too high level a spell for her to cast anyway.)


Dark Lord Davidson wrote:

Why were fireballs flaming from the moment the mages threw them, instead of exploding soon after deploying?
They weren't fireballs, they were magic missile spells! ;) They missed the gold dragons because, as of the 2nd Edition Monstrous Compendium/Monstrous Manual, adult and older gold dragons have magic resistance. They must've all made their magic resistance rolls.

Why were two rogues so adept at using swords?
Now now, thieves are allowed to take swords as weapons of proficiency.

Was the elf who healed Ridley a cleric, or a druid?
He must've been a cleric. Pure elves can't be druids in 1st edition OR 2nd edition. (And in 1st edition, only NPC elves could be clerics, and they couldn't progress past 7th level, which would mean they couldn't cast raise dead -- therefore, if that was a raise dead spell he cast on Ridley and not merely one of the "cure xxx wounds" spells, that proves they were operating under 2nd edition rules. ;) )

The Tim
12-10-2000, 02:18 AM
I haven't seen the movie, and don't plan to (sorry Goose). D&D doesn't have a distinct setting. A Dragonlance movie would have been a better idea, it has a plot ready for convertion as well as a definite setting that is at least somewhat different from generic fantasy.

Besides this it was cleary WotC thinking, "Hmm we have a nice fan base, most everyone at least knows of D&D. Does anyone else smell profit?" Now there isn't anything wrong with making money, but the movie's point was just money. I doubt much thought, passion or effort went into the film.

Irishman
12-10-2000, 03:43 AM
*cough cough*

Congratulations! Welcome to the world of "How can Hollywood screw up this franchise?"

For those of you unfamiliar with this game, I suggest you do an archive search for "Heinlein" in MPSIMS and IMHO. (Here, I'll save you the trouble.)
Heinlein Books and Movies: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=20966

Starship Troopers: did anybody understand it?: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=43651

One of the threads has a link to a web site by one of the screenwriters for Robert Heinlein's The Puppet Masters. It is an eye-opening look at how Hollywood goes about screwing up a good thing. From a person deeply involved in the process, and crying the whole way. There is also a link to an interview of the director of Starship Troopers, and how he decided he didn't like Heinlein's premise and views, so set about destroying the story by his interpretation.

Here's the link to the story.
http://www.wordplayer.com/columns/wp15.Building.the.Bomb.html

Someone said that the surest way to tell when a story most deviates from the author's version is when they list the author's name in the title. I think that applies here.

GuanoLad
12-10-2000, 04:35 AM
One of the reasons for the bad script is it took them 10 years of rewriting before they got it greenlit. Then, whenever they came up with a good idea, the director would go "Yeah! great! let's do it!" and the next day "Nope, sorry, it's crap. Start again from scratch."

This guy got so obsessed with making a great movie, he forgot to make a great movie.

Or so I'm gathering from these reviews. (I ain't seen it yet)

Goose
12-10-2000, 11:40 AM
Originally posted by Kyberneticist
A dragonlance movie with the same director?
Do you really want that to happen?

What, did you major in 'kill little boy's dreams' in college!? ;)

Did anyone else see Darth Maul in Bruce Payne? What about Yosemite Sam in the dwarf?

tracer
12-10-2000, 12:24 PM
Johnny Angel wrote, in the OP:

Lee Arenberg's portrayal of a dwarf is exactly what we gamers like a dwarf to be. Scruffy, mean, violent and loud.
But he's not wearing PLATE MAIL!
What fighter doesn't wear plate mail? Or plate armor, when that became available in the Unearthed Arcana supplement to the 1st Edition rules. But at least plate mail.

Johnny Angel
12-10-2000, 02:09 PM
tracer wrote:

AD&D players: Please see my sarcastic review of the movie at http://www.hit-n-run.com/cgi/read_review.cgi?review=53538_rogermw, in which I re-tell the entire plot using AD&D rules terminology.

I see you've got the thieves figured at 3rd or 4th level. Madness! Ridley must be at least tenth level, because he can read scrolls, use magical devices.

As for the spells Profion uses, I think he can cast Minor Fireball and Tasha's Uncontrollable Hideous Thing On Your Back.

tracer
12-10-2000, 05:41 PM
Johnny Angel wrote:

I see you've got the thieves figured at 3rd or 4th level. Madness! Ridley must be at least tenth level, because he can read scrolls, use magical devices.

Justin Whalin's character with the experience level of a Master Thief? Pish-tosh! Why, that would mean he'd have his own castle and be attracting his own gang of thieves by now. (You canNOT tell me that Snails qualifies as a "gang"!)

I contend that the "scroll" he invoked was not a scroll at all, but a magic treasure map that's activated by a command word. Furthermore, there are plenty of magical devices that don't require any special skills to use -- a jack-in-the-box that projects an illusory image of a miniature dragon skeleton by touching a button doesn't require any arcane knowledge to operate, f'rinstance.

As for the spells Profion uses, I think he can cast Minor Fireball and Tasha's Uncontrollable Hideous Thing On Your Back.
And don't forget the "Fail To Enchant An Item" spell he cast at that magic-device-under-construction during the opening credits. Plus, didn't he make every member of the party EXCEPT for Ridley freeze in their tracks by casting "Otto's Irresistible Standing Still" on them?

Johnny Angel
12-10-2000, 06:41 PM
tracer wrote:

And don't forget the "Fail To Enchant An Item" spell he cast at that magic-device-under-construction during the opening credits. Plus, didn't he make every member of the party EXCEPT for Ridley freeze in their tracks by casting "Otto's Irresistible Standing Still" on them?

I think he blew most of his mana casting Bigby's Gesticulating Fist. But I think most of the reviewers indexed on Rotten Tomatoes failed to save against his Obscure Plot. But I spent a round disbelieving, and I made my wiz check, so let me tell you the score: In the first scene, what he was really testing was his Gate of Dragon Slaying +5. The rod was a put-on, so that his henchmen wouldn't crap their breeches when the gate went up. He practically failed to save vs. breach load himself when the gate didn't close at the proper time, but he put a cork in it in time.

Unfortunately, it turns out that dragon's blood explodes when it hits water. Thank goodness nobody bothered to find out where it came from. Otherwise, we might have missed hearing Profion shout, "You can rrrrrrrrunnnnnnn, but you can't hiiiiiiiiiiide-uh!" while people were running toward him.

Dark Lord Davidson
12-10-2000, 09:45 PM
Originally posted by tracer
Dark Lord Davidson wrote:

Why were fireballs flaming from the moment the mages threw them, instead of exploding soon after deploying?
They weren't fireballs, they were magic missile spells! ;) They missed the gold dragons because, as of the 2nd Edition Monstrous Compendium/Monstrous Manual, adult and older gold dragons have magic resistance. They must've all made their magic resistance rolls.
[/B]

Hogwash. Then why did Profion yell "READY FIREBALLS" or some such when the dragons were about to attack?

Damn stupid.

Badtz Maru
12-11-2000, 12:34 AM
Arrgh, I really disliked it. I went in not expecting much and hoping to have a good time, and it was so bad I really couldn't even enjoy it on a B-movie level.

broccoli!
12-11-2000, 08:57 AM
After watching that, erhem, "Movie" I went out and ate a big pile of DOG SHIT to get the BAD TASTE OUT OF MY MOUTH.

'nuff said
broccoli! (King Dork and sixteen year gamer [yes I know a lot of you have me beat {just more bracketing}])

tracer
12-11-2000, 10:58 AM
Dark Lord Davidson wrote:

Originally posted by tracer
They weren't fireballs, they were magic missile spells! ;) They missed the gold dragons because, as of the 2nd Edition Monstrous Compendium/Monstrous Manual, adult and older gold dragons have magic resistance. They must've all made their magic resistance rolls.

Hogwash. Then why did Profion yell "READY FIREBALLS" or some such when the dragons were about to attack?
Um ... because the sound in the theater I saw the movie in was so bad (I think only that one "center dialog" speaker behind the screen was working, and the treble must have been turned down) that I couldn't make out the characters' lines if they were even slightly mumbled. So I didn't hear Jeremy Irons say "Ready fireballs!".

(And, hey, if I'm gonna watch a D&D movie, I wanna be able to memorize the verbal components they utter when they cast their spells! Klaatu Barada Nikto!)

Oh -- and considering the presence of ballistae on that upper parapet, perhaps they were actually casting "flame arrow." (And what's with those ballista missiles with grappling hooks and tow cables on them? It's not like they were "reeling in" any of the dragons they harpooned with them.)

Tamex
12-11-2000, 11:33 AM
They really needed to get a new Dungeon Master for this one. The 1980's D&D cartoon was better, for Pete's sake. And what was up with Wayans's strange ear-covering/hat thingy? I thought at the beginning, "Oh, he's really a half-elf or an elf, and he's trying to 'pass' as human." But I guess he really was human...he told the elf woman that he was only 23, after all. So, I guess it was just a silly hat.

Oh, and the Empress...Look, there's another Child-Like Empress! Oh boy! Her lack of acting has already been covered. And exactly how was she going to make everyone "equal", anyway? Did I miss something?...the "commoner" populace didn't look enslaved or anything like that, but that seemed to be what was implied.

My husband thinks that they must have been under a lot of constraints to keep away from any aspect of the game that might possibly be construed as "Satanic" by the fundies out there. But, don't fundies already think the game is Satanic, anyway? I don't think this movie will change their minds, at any rate. I wish they had made this movie for the people who were going to see it rather than for the people who weren't.

tracer
12-11-2000, 01:29 PM
Tamex wrote:

They really needed to get a new Dungeon Master for this one. The 1980's D&D cartoon was better, for Pete's sake.
Even though the "Cavalier" character in the cartoon wasn't wearing plate armor? :o

And exactly how was she going to make everyone "equal", anyway?
Um ... I'd guess she was going to pass the medieval equivalent of the 14th Amendment. Either that, or institute Communism.



Oh, and there's TWO MORE reasons why the spells those mages cast at the Gold Dragons COULD NOT have been "fireball"s: Fireballs detonate whether or not they hit something, and those flamebolts didn't detonate at all; and
Everyone knows that gold dragons are immune to fire. (They're immune to poison gas, too, but those obviously weren't "cloudkill" spells. And why didn't the gold dragons ever user their posion-gas breath?)

Tamex
12-11-2000, 03:54 PM
Originally posted by tracer
Tamex wrote:

They really needed to get a new Dungeon Master for this one. The 1980's D&D cartoon was better, for Pete's sake.
Even though the "Cavalier" character in the cartoon wasn't wearing plate armor? :o

Hey, my sister had a major crush on that character! In fact, she told me that when she had heard that there was going to be a D&D movie, she was thinking about going, until she discovered that there was going to be no "Eric".

Besides, Eric would have been an even bigger whiner in plate armor. "My armor's too hot! It's too heavy! Let's sit down!" "ERIC!"


And exactly how was she going to make everyone "equal", anyway?
Um ... I'd guess she was going to pass the medieval equivalent of the 14th Amendment. Either that, or institute Communism.

"Dungeons and Dragons II: Reconstruction"

APB9999
12-11-2000, 04:25 PM
I've never played D&D but I like fantasy fiction and the like, so I saw this movie the other day. Man, did it suck.

However, I think you guys are missing the boat when you criticize it for being insufficiently accurate wrt hit points, spell levels, character restrictions, etc. etc. This was NOT the game. It was a MOVIE loosely based on the game. You sound like Trekkies decrying the use of an incorrect verb tense in the Klingon word for "to stab" in StarTrek V. Get a grip.

The movie sucked for reasons that had entirely to do with movie making. Specifically, the direction was simply atrocious. The actors may have pulled off even the hideous dialogue they were given, with a little guidance, but they were left floundering. I'm particularly thinking of the silly romance tacked on between the dame and the buckaroo, whatever their names were - I forget now. It must be a union rule or something to have that stupid, tired, "after-initial-tension-they-finally-realize-they-love-each-other" scene in every fucking movie made in Hollywood. Even Jeremey Irons started out okay but got ever more hammy as the thing went on. Personally, I think he's a good enough, experienced enough actor to realize the project was turning into a turkey and he was trying to carry the thing. Unfortunately he ended up emoting wildly while the rest of the cast muttered and shuffled like a high school drama class.

Except for the Wayans guy who was just plain awful. Even unfamiliar with the game as I am, I can appreciate the need for a professional thief to be subtle and quiet just on the grounds of plausability. This guy might as well have tied a string of tin cans to his ankles. But really, I think the worst part about him was that he just WASN'T FUNNY. He played a kind of a Stan Laurel/Lou Costello/Bob Denver/Three Stooges sad sack, but without all that wit and dignity. He was about as entertaining and humorous as reruns of Scooby Doo. I suppose there are people for whom that appeals, but I'm not one of them. I'll leave that sort of humor to those who enjoy it, and to you I say, Rotsa Ruck.

That mage character shore do got a purty mouth, but was otherwise lacking in interest. Same for the elf with her boobplate armor. And please, don't criticize this one appealing aspect of her character! The princess would make a good Lolita, but did not make a good princess (was it empress? Whatever. She seemed too young to be an empress).

The dwarf character was okay, mainly because he didn't say much.

The bad guy with the blue lipstick was a complete enigma, but not in a good way. (Was he a quasi-transvestite? A punk rocker? Very cold?) He needed more characterization, or perhaps less - either would have been better than the confusions of motivation and/or loyalty we got (or did we? I'm not sure). They ALL needed something (like a director), in place of the frenetic, disconnected "plot". Generally, plots should develop, not just happen.

To summarize:
1) Hideous Acting, even from Jeremy Irons who usually knows his business.
2) A script that was only involved in the project to get publicity until her big break comes along.
3) Okay special effects, although since the advent of computer methods, effects just aren't special enough by themselves to carry a movie anymore.
4) A couple of hot actresses, provided you don't listen.
And finally, the main problem:
5) No direction whatsoever most of the time, and bad direction the rest.

tracer
12-11-2000, 04:28 PM
Tamex wrote:

Originally posted by tracer
Even though the "Cavalier" character in the cartoon wasn't wearing plate armor? :o
Hey, my sister had a major crush on that character!
Ah, the irresistibly sexy voice of Donny "Ralph Malph" Most. What woman could resist its charms? ;)

Um ... I'd guess [the Empress] was going to pass the medieval equivalent of the 14th Amendment. Either that, or institute Communism.
"Dungeons and Dragons II: Reconstruction"
Followed by "Dungeons and Dragons III: What Happens To The Economy When Everybody And His Brother Gets To Play In A Monty Haul Campaign?"

tracer
12-11-2000, 04:41 PM
APB9999 wrote:

I think you guys are missing the boat when you criticize it for being insufficiently accurate wrt hit points, spell levels, character restrictions, etc. etc. This was NOT the game. It was a MOVIE loosely based on the game. You sound like Trekkies decrying the use of an incorrect verb tense in the Klingon word for "to stab" in StarTrek V. Get a grip.
Fie on thee! If the scriptwriters can't even check up on their Klingon grammar, what are they doing writing a Trek movie in the first place? Sheesh!

But seriously, folks, my, ahem, "criticisms" of the points at which the movie got the D&D mechanics wrong are essentially sarcasm. There was obviously nothing redeeming about this moive as a movie, so the only way to keep from regurgitating my lunch and clawing out my own eyeballs while I was trapped in the movie theater was to focus my attention on some nice, convenient distraction -- such as counting the number of times it violated AD&D rules. Calculating the characters' Armor Classes, or looking up the spells they were casting in the Player's Handbook, was far more entertaining than the movie itself was, believe me.

The princess would make a good Lolita, but did not make a good princess (was it empress? Whatever. She seemed too young to be an empress).
You bet she was too young! You need lots of experience levels and hit points if you're going to rule an empire! Why, at HER age, I'll bet she was barely a first-level character! (See how easy it is to sarcastically apply D&D mechanics to the movie? Try it! It's fun!)

LateComer
12-12-2000, 09:58 AM
Originally posted by tracer
AD&D players: Please see my sarcastic review of the movie at http://www.hit-n-run.com/cgi/read_review.cgi?review=53538_rogermw, in which I re-tell the entire plot using AD&D rules terminology. ;)



Very funny and well written. You have way too much time on your hands.


I would like to point out, though, that Marlon Wayans is certainly NOT the "7-Up" guy. That would be Orlando Jones (http://us.imdb.com/Name?Jones,+Orlando) who seems to also be having an illustrious movie career.

Danimal
12-12-2000, 11:09 AM
Anybody happen to know whether "Courtney Solomon," the director of this atrocity, is male or female? "Courtney" does leave both possibilities open.

RickJay
12-12-2000, 11:43 AM
It is now just a matter of time before Hollywood pumps out "EverQuest: The Movie," starring somebody named Chad, Jason or Justin as the lovable thief, somebody named Wayans as the funny black guy, and Halle Berry as the Erudite spellcaster. Movie theatres across the world will be filled with irate EQ addicts screaming, "A 16th level magician can't proc Chaotic Feedback from a Staff of Writhing!" and wondering if the Iskar are being poorly represented as a race.

I wonder if Spielberg will direct.

tracer
12-12-2000, 01:23 PM
LateComer wrote:

I would like to point out, though, that Marlon Wayans is certainly NOT the "7-Up" guy. That would be Orlando Jones (http://us.imdb.com/Name?Jones,+Orlando) who seems to also be having an illustrious movie career.
D'OH!!!

[redneck mode]
All them thar goofy klutzes all look alike to me!
[/redneck mode]

tracer
12-12-2000, 01:30 PM
RickJay wrote:

It is now just a matter of time before Hollywood pumps out "EverQuest: The Movie,"
Nuts to that! The next logical step is Car Wars: The Movie!!

<somebody whispers something into tracer's ear about Death Race 2000>
D'OH!!

Okay, then, how about Paranoia: The Movie?

JosephFinn
12-12-2000, 02:23 PM
Originally posted by tracer
RickJay wrote:

It is now just a matter of time before Hollywood pumps out "EverQuest: The Movie,"
Nuts to that! The next logical step is Car Wars: The Movie!!

<somebody whispers something into tracer's ear about Death Race 2000>
D'OH!!

Okay, then, how about Paranoia: The Movie?

Yeah, but who would you trust to make it?

<rimshot>

GuanoLad
12-12-2000, 06:23 PM
Originally posted by Danimal
Anybody happen to know whether "Courtney Solomon," the director of this atrocity, is male or female? "Courtney" does leave both possibilities open.

He's male. And, indeed, a big D&D fan, apparently.

Check this out (http://filmforce.ign.com/features/39.html)

tracer
12-12-2000, 08:26 PM
I am disappointed that the D&D Movie didn't address that one deep question that's been plaguing humanity since the beginning of time.

Namely: Does a "protection from magic" scroll disable magic items within its radius of effect, line an "anti-magic shell" spell does?

tracer
12-12-2000, 08:31 PM
GuanoLad wrote:

[Courtney Solomon]'s male. And, indeed, a big D&D fan, apparently.

Check this out (http://filmforce.ign.com/features/39.html)
Hah! Some "big D&D fan"! He said:

"Third edition came out in like 1993"

When we all know the 3rd edition rules came out just this year!


(note: ;) for the sarcasm-impaired)

Johnny Angel
12-12-2000, 10:05 PM
The stats for all the PCs are available online, as well as the maps to what passed for dungeons. Chequez vous (http://www.wizards.com/dnd/article.asp?x=movie/mx20001208c).

But wait, something is screwy. Ridley has a 15 DEX, which gives him a +4 bonus? Uh uh. That's either an 18 DEX or a +2 bonus.

Norda is not a ranger, as I had assumed, but a 7th level fighter. Even Elwood is a third level fighter. But Ridley is a 2nd level rogue, 1st level fighter. How come he did most of the fighting? And how did he manage to last as long as he did against Damodar, who is also a 7th level fighter?

According to her character sheet, Marina can't cast Dimension Door at all, or any other gate or teleport spell. She has a magical device that allows her to cast Magic Lasso, though. With her current spell selection, she's incapable of casting Feeblemind on herself, so I guess she won't want to go out with Ridley.

Snails is a 3rd level thief, and actually looks fairly competent, if skill ranks are anything to go by. Obviously, though, he's too cowardly to actually use any of these skills.

Odesio
12-12-2000, 10:12 PM
Originally posted by tracer
I am disappointed that the D&D Movie didn't address that one deep question that's been plaguing humanity since the beginning of time.

Namely: Does a "protection from magic" scroll disable magic items within its radius of effect, line an "anti-magic shell" spell does?

The answer is no. It will protect you from spell like effects but it will not protect you from the weapon itself.

Marc

SPOOFE
12-13-2000, 01:59 AM
A comment about the special effects in D&D...

Frankly, even they sucked.

We've gone through the Jurassic Park movies. We know that CG designers can A: make big, realistic lizard-like things (i.e. dragons) and B: make them interact with the environment realistically.

The CG in this movie were cheap, shoddy, and cartoony, the kind of thing you'd find in the earliest days of computer games with CG movies, or even in some of the "graphics-intensive" movies that followed immediately after Terminator 2.

So you can't even say that the special effects in this movie were good. Especially when compared to other movies.

BAH! HUMBUG!

At least we have The Lord of the Rings coming out soon to help us forget this travesty. ::crosses fingers::

GuanoLad
12-13-2000, 02:54 AM
The sad part is, this movie was greenlit now so that it could cash in on the Fantasy mania that Lord of the Rings is establishing. After it comes out, there'll be an onslaught of cheapo stuff ruining potential franchises.

There's an Elfquest movie coming out. There's a Dinotopia movie (and TV series) shooting now. There's hope for a Dragonlance movie, and also a Dragonriders of Pern film. (I think the Pern movie has been cancelled, though)

Most of those will be rushed, cheap, and made by first-timers who haven't learned the lesson that Fantasy is so hard to translate well.

tracer
12-13-2000, 12:17 PM
Johnny Angel summarized the official character sheets for the D&D movie charactes thusly:

Norda is not a ranger, as I had assumed, but a 7th level fighter.

What?! That's just plain nuts. If she's a plain fighter, how could she find Damodar's tracks in the woods?!

But Ridley is a 2nd level rogue, 1st level fighter. How come he did most of the fighting? And how did he manage to last as long as he did against Damodar, who is also a 7th level fighter?

He lasted as long as he did because melee rounds last a full minute in AD&D. ;) (Seriously, I think Damodar was supposed to be toying with him.)

I can't believe Damodar is only 7th level, though.

[Marina] has a magical device that allows her to cast Magic Lasso

"Magic Lasso"? What the heck spell is that? I don't remember seeing it in the PHB or the Tome of Magic. It sounds less like a magic-user spell than a piece of Wonder Woman's crimefighting gear.

With her current spell selection, she's incapable of casting Feeblemind on herself, so I guess she won't want to go out with Ridley.

<rimshot> He'll be here all week! Tip your waitresses!

Kyberneticist
12-13-2000, 03:57 PM
Originally posted by GuanoLad
The sad part is, this movie was greenlit now so that it could cash in on the Fantasy mania that Lord of the Rings is establishing. After it comes out, there'll be an onslaught of cheapo stuff ruining potential franchises.

There's an Elfquest movie coming out. There's a Dinotopia movie (and TV series) shooting now. There's hope for a Dragonlance movie, and also a Dragonriders of Pern film. (I think the Pern movie has been cancelled, though)

Most of those will be rushed, cheap, and made by first-timers who haven't learned the lesson that Fantasy is so hard to translate well.


That is just disturbing. Are these films going to make it out before LOTR? I'm just seeing 2001 filled with lousy fantasy, and the burnt out public refusing to see LOTR. :(

tracer
12-13-2000, 07:48 PM
Johnny Angel wrote:

The stats for all the PCs are available online, as well as the maps to what passed for dungeons. Chequez vous (http://www.wizards.com/dnd/article.asp?x=movie/mx20001208c).
Now hold on just a cotton-pickin' melee round here!

The character sheets on that page are writted for 3rd Edition D&D rules! I thought they were using 2nd Edition AD&D as the basis for the movie!

Norda is not a ranger, as I had assumed, but a 7th level fighter.
I think I see why they did this. The character sheets and adventures on that webpage were written for use with the "D&D Adventure Game", which is a simplified version of D&D designed for first-time players. I believe the "D&D Adventure Game" only has fighter, rogue, wizard, and priest character classes. The more "advanced" character classes -- paladins, rangers, monks, sorcerers, druids, golf pros, etc. -- only appear in the real D&D 3rd Edition PHB.

Goose
12-13-2000, 07:51 PM
Originally posted by Kyberneticist
Originally posted by GuanoLad
The sad part is, this movie was greenlit now so that it could cash in on the Fantasy mania that Lord of the Rings is establishing. After it comes out, there'll be an onslaught of cheapo stuff ruining potential franchises.

There's an Elfquest movie coming out. There's a Dinotopia movie (and TV series) shooting now. There's hope for a Dragonlance movie, and also a Dragonriders of Pern film. (I think the Pern movie has been cancelled, though)

Most of those will be rushed, cheap, and made by first-timers who haven't learned the lesson that Fantasy is so hard to translate well.


That is just disturbing. Are these films going to make it out before LOTR? I'm just seeing 2001 filled with lousy fantasy, and the burnt out public refusing to see LOTR. :(

Blasphemy! Don't ever say that again, OK? They'll hear us. They have ears everywhere!!

tracer
12-13-2000, 08:02 PM
Oh, pshaw. I'll bet you believe in black helicopters and ethereal mummy attacks too.

Johnny Angel
12-13-2000, 08:43 PM
tracer wrote:

I think I see why they did this. The character sheets and adventures on that webpage were written for use with the "D&D Adventure Game", which is a simplified version of D&D designed for first-time players. I believe the "D&D Adventure Game" only has fighter, rogue, wizard, and priest character classes. The more "advanced" character classes -- paladins, rangers, monks, sorcerers, druids, golf pros, etc. -- only appear in the real D&D 3rd Edition PHB.

I believe Golf Pro is a prestige class.

tracer
12-13-2000, 08:51 PM
Don't get me started on "prestige classes"....

Danimal
12-13-2000, 10:15 PM
Originally posted by tracer
Hah! Some "big D&D fan"! He said:

"Third edition came out in like 1993"

When we all know the 3rd edition rules came out just this year!

WHOOSH!!! (sound of sarcasm going over Danimal's head).

OK, I admit it, I'm really confused here. Obviously Solomon's aware of the 3rd edition that just came out, because in the interview he talks about the "latest edition" that only now has arrived. So what is the "3rd edition" from 1993 that he's talking about? I don't remember anything like that. Does he mean the Player's Option type stuff (I never did buy those)?

Johnny Angel
12-13-2000, 10:25 PM
I'd say you should be at least a 10th level fighter before you can start leveling as a Blue-Lipped Badass. Armor restrictions: black, spikey. Alignments allowed -- any evil. Makes you eligible for the feat Lavender Liptwitch (prereq. Great Cleave) -- you can get a whole party of adventureres to surrender to your 1 hit die foot soldiers just by showing up, as long as they don't have dashing rogue around to actually fight back.

Badtz Maru
12-14-2000, 03:43 AM
Just got done looking through the game adaptation of the movie. Those beholder stats were messed up, way too weak - but since the highest level PC is 3rd level, I guess that makes sense (how did that girl cast Dimension Door at 3rd level?).

tracer
12-14-2000, 06:25 PM
I'm not sure that was a "dimension door" spell.

Remember how, when she first cast it in the mage school, Marina pulled herself and BOTH of her lassoed thieves through the portal? Well, feast your eyes on the following sentence from the description of "dimension door" in the 2nd Edition PHB:

All that the wizard wears or carries, subject to a maximum weight equal to 500 pounds of nonliving matter, or half that amount of living matter, is transferred with the spellcaster.

You canNOT tell me that Ridley and Snails had a combined weight less than 250 pounds!


And on a related note, what spell did Damodar use to return to the evil mage's fortress after he got the Rod of Savrille? That was clearly not a dimension door. Not only was the distance between the Cave of Savrille and the Mage Fortress FAR greater than the maximum range of a dimension door spell, but Ridley followed Damodar through the portal! No teleportation spell I know of allows a straggler to follow you and hitch a free ride.

tracer
12-14-2000, 08:27 PM
Danimal wrote:

Obviously Solomon's aware of the 3rd edition that just came out, because in the interview he talks about the "latest edition" that only now has arrived. So what is the "3rd edition" from 1993 that he's talking about?
He might have been referring to the "Revised 2nd Edition" that came out at about that time. The Revised 2nd Edition consisted of bright, shiny new cover art for the PHB & DMG, a few little minor changes throughout the rules hither and thither (the only change I've noticed so far is a comma has been removed from after the word "holy avenger" in the description of intelligent weapon alignment restrictions), and the binding of the Monstrous Compendium into a non-loose-leaf hardcover volume called the Monstrous Manual.

However, a caveat near the beginning of the Revised 2nd Edition Player's Handbook clearly stated, in big bold colored type, "This is not AD&D 3rd Edition!". So either this wasn't what Solomon was talking about, or he was blind as a bat with a power word: blind spell cast on it.

Johnny Angel
12-14-2000, 09:30 PM
Or, another possibility I've considered is that he just misspoke. He was nervous, knowing that he had just laid a steaming stinker on the D&D community, and was about to start watching the gate figures rolling in, and some guy is asking him a bunch of questions.

SPOOFE
12-15-2000, 03:51 AM
And on a related note, what spell did Damodar use to return to the evil mage's fortress after he got the Rod of Savrille?

It's the most powerful spell known to the Kingdom of Wooded Holly. There are no level restraints, and the only reagents you need for its casting is lucre. This spell, fellow 'Dopers, is called "Cheap Gimmicky Plot Device."

tracer
12-15-2000, 02:08 PM
The official Wizards of the Coast stats given for Damodar, at http://www.wizards.com/dnd/files/Damodar.pdf , have him in chain mail armor!

Come on! What were those big, black, evil-looking metal plates that Bruce Payne (Damodar) was wearing in the movie, if not plate mail or plate armor?! Are the Wizards of the Coast folks saying that those were merely "decorative" metal plates? Are they saying he'd just washed his dishes and hung them on his body to dry? Are they saying that those black bodyplates are chain mail, just with really really really big metal links?!

tracer
12-16-2000, 03:52 PM
And another 3rd Edition gripe:

I miss the old 5-foot radius +3 ring of protection. Now a ring of protection doesn't even improve your saving throws, let alone improve anybody's saving throws 5 feet away.

ricksummon
12-16-2000, 04:51 PM
The webmaster of the D&D Movie (http://www.dndmovie.com/) website just posted a huge rant about the D&D movie's poor performance at the box office. What he said, basically, was "How DARE you not go and see this movie! This was Courtney Solomon's DREAM! He worked so HARD on this movie! You have a DUTY to see this movie whether you liked it or not!"

Now, I used to think the webmaster was a cool guy, but now I think he's gone off the deep end. We should see the movie because Courtney worked so HARD on it? Oh please. Does he have any idea how many starving screenwriters there are in Hollywood who have ALL worked so HARD on their screenplays for YEARS without them ever seeing the inside of a movie studio? At least Courtney got his movie made, which is more than thousands of hard-working writers can EVER say. And now he's mad because the movie wasn't POPULAR too? I'm afraid that hard work alone is NOT a guarantee of success; not now, not EVER. No matter what your OPINION of the movie's quality is, the FACT is that the majority of the moviegoing public did not like it that much, and THAT is what Donsimus seems unable to accept. He goes on to say this:Hollywood just tested us....AND WE FAILED. You might say the filmmakers failed us..I disagree..but at least they TRIED.Ok, so apparently it's not the film's fault it wasn't popular, it's the AUDIENCE'S fault for not being intelligent enough to appreciate Courtney's genius. And "at least they TRIED"?! What kind of argument is that? Is that like saying the film wasn't very good, but the filmmakers did their BEST? Well, as Sean Connery said in The Rock, "Your BEST?! LOSERS whine about their BEST!" In the real world, people don't get A's for effort; they get A's for RESULTS.

Now, don't get me wrong. I think the film had SOME good points. The special effects, for instance, were top-notch, so it wasn't the low budget that was the problem. And, believe me, I wanted this film to be good. I was on that website every day looking for new information. I watched both trailers and I thought they were excellent. I thought that there was no WAY the film could let me down after all of that. I was wrong. The best thing I can say is that it wasn't that bad. I'm afraid that just isn't good enough, not for me, or for the majority of the moviegoing public. Donsimus seems to think we should contribute money to the Courtney Solomon Charity. Well, sorry. I've seen it more than once, so I've done my duty to God and my country. But I REFUSE to pay any more for a movie that just doesn't entertain me. That's what a movie is supposed to do, isn't it? Perhaps that's what the filmmakers forgot.

SPOOFE
12-16-2000, 11:51 PM
The official Wizards of the Coast stats given for Damodar, at http://www.wizards.com/dnd/files/Damodar.pdf , have him in chain mail armor!

Well, I think that with regards to that (and the other stats discrepancies), WotC is just trying to make a roleplaying session with those characters challenging. I mean, would it be difficult in the slightest if you start a game with a fully-developed character?

Hey, Tracer, here's a plan... why don't we all start working on what we think the stats really SHOULD be for the movie characters?

Irishman
12-17-2000, 02:07 AM
ricksummon, I agree with your comments. The sad point is that Donsimus is at least partially right - the movie studios will look at this as a test of the public's appreciation of that theme of movie. If it was a box office success, they would have lept at any fantasy themed project for the next 2 years, especially involving dragons and sorcery. But by not doing well at the box office, the next person with a project will have a hard sell - "We did Dungeons and Dragons and lost money. Nobody wants to see these type movies. They just aren't profitable." With any luck LotR will be good and will reverse the tide.

Nevermind that the problem with "these types of movies" is that they fail to properly adapt the material, remaining true to the intent. And forget that the number one seller of movies is making them good.

cjharker
12-17-2000, 02:30 AM
ACTING

First, I should note something on acting. I watch no TV unless I'm at someone else's house, so I've had many years of almost no exposure to the small screen. When all you watch are movies, you tend to get used to a superior acting style, and when you see a television show, the acting seems much worse than it is. That will explain why I'm very picky on acting.

I had the impression that Jeremy Irons was pissed about being asked to do the movie and was trying to ruin it with his extreme overacting. Perhaps Corey Solomon was intimidated by him and let him get away with it. I don't think I've ever seen anyone act so poorly who should know better.

Bruce Payne was just plain stupid. He talked so incredibly slow that he was so incredibly annoying. His blue lips made no sense and did nothing to further the story.

Justin Whalin was okay, but he sounded like a soap opera actor. That indefinable something that makes the difference between a big and small screen actor was missing from him.

Marlon Wayan was just wrong for this movie. His comedic style wasn't suited for it. While I thought he was absolutely brilliant in Scary Movie (I laughed at every scene he was in), he was the wrong actor to play Snails. And Snails was positively useless. Why would Ridley hang out with a guy that would get them thrown in a dungeon anytime they tried to do anything? He should've had at least one skill (brilliant climber, astounding fighter, anything) that he could've used when the time called for it.

None of the other actors, except Thora Birch, were too bad. TB was terrible, and I hope she realizes it now.

PLOT

The plot was lame: retrieve an artifact. At least it wasn't "save the princess". So much seems to have been cut from the movie that it skipped vitally important scenes. The love story had nothing to do with advancing the plot and served only as one of many plot cliches. The plot holes were numerous. Why would a good empress want a rod of red dragon control? Why did Ridley and the mage enter that map? How was Snails able to call them back out? Why the "Mos Eisley cantina" like scene? It was a tavern filled with humans, elves, dwarves, halflings, lizardmen, orcs and I don't know what else. Did I miss the announcement that a race relations rally was going on?

Other plot problems have to do with D&D rules. A movie that titles itself Dungeons & Dragons should've made as much effort to follow the rules of the game as possible, deviating only when necessary (like the novels do).

Why didn't the empress consult the gold dragons?
Why did they act more like dumb monsters than the very powerful, spell-casting, talking creatures they are?
Why didn't the mages cast spells that fit their levels?
Where were the spell components and why did a "magic dust" exist?
Why did the dwarf hit with the flat of his axe rather than the blade? He did. Watch and see.
Do gold dragons cast fireballs? (Not really expecting an answer, as I don't feel like finding the MM right now)
What the hell was that ending? Where did they go?
Why did they do such a great job of avoiding English text, and at the end, had "Snails" scratched on a rock for all to see? Indecipherable runes would've been fine. We would've figured it out.
What was that three-eyed blue thing in that town?
Why was that beholder so weak and apparently working for the humans?

SPECIAL EFFECTS

Most of them were okay. The dragon battle was pretty well done, and the beholder looked very good, even if it didn't do anything. The skeleton holding the rod reminded me of the skeletons in Army of Darkness. I kept expecting him to break out with lame puns like "I'm your bone daddy". The illusions looked stupid and the spells, with the exception of the Dimension Door (or whatever it was) spell, weren't all that great.

I'm sure I'm forgetting many other things, but it's 2:30 in the morning, which explains any incoherence in my review (well, some of it at least).

cj

P.S. Two good things came out of my trip to see the D&D movie. The Final Fantasy trailer and the Tomb Raider trailer. WOW.

SPOOFE
12-17-2000, 04:39 AM
I know good acting. I've seen High School students who could act the pants off of Jeremy Irons, while stoned. In all the acting classes and shows I've been in, I've only seen one performance that was anywhere near as bad as Birch's. And in all the plays and scenes I've read, NEVER has a plot sucked so bad as the story in D&D.

It was written, apparently, by gradeschoolers, for gradeschoolers. Bah! Humbug!

cjharker
12-18-2000, 08:04 AM
I knew I'd forget something. The dialogue in the script was also terrible. It suffered from "As you know" syndrome, and also violated basic principles of speech between two people.

Two people alone in a room together who know each other do not use each others names very much. "Mary, would you get me that book?" "Sure, Bob." "Oh, and Mary, while you're at it, hand me that box of nails." "Of course, Bob." It wasn't *that* bad, but it was close.

"As you know" syndrome is like saying, "As you know, Snails, the locked box is located at the top of the mountain of Stuffage and is guarded by a great red dragon named Mouse." It's imparting information for the audience in an unsubtle manner.

Corey Solomon, if you're reading this: If you can or have fit "as you know" in front of a sentence, redo the sentence. If people do not or would not talk like that normally, DO NOT put it in your story. You end up looking like a moron who doesn't understand your own species.

tevya
12-18-2000, 01:31 PM
I'll ring in with another bad review for this stink bomb of a movie.

I won't do a point by point review as the OP and others have already done a great job. Instead, I'll just mention some of my peeves about the "film" and ask a question or two.

1. The sound sucked. Someone else mentioned that they thought it was due to poor sound in their theater. I beleive that it was poorly mixed. Many times during the movie you cannot hear the dialogue over the background sounds. For an example, see the beginning of the movie where Profion (aka Mister Mumbly) is trying to create his dragon control scepter. I couldn't understand a word he was saying until after the portculis slammed down on the dragon. The soundtrack also blew cheesy chunks.

2. What there was of the plot careened drunkenly forward. It was so disjointed, I though that it must have been edited by Bill Burroughs. One minute Ripley and what's her face are arguing, next they are in a map, and the next they are in love? If they were going to put this cliched plot device in the movie, the least they could have done was show it happening rather than have the characters practically state: "Oh, by the way, me and the girlie got it on while in the map." Also, one minute Ripley and crew are prisoners of the Ice-Elf and the next they are stalking off into the dungeon alone. Meanwhile, Frosty is telling the dwarf that "this is something they have to do on their own." When did she get a prophecy bulletin regarding the quest?

3. Why oh Why did they feel the need to use cheap Wet N' Wild make up on Damodar's lips and on the faces of some of the minor characters (see the itty bitty, skull wearing elves and Ole Three Eyes).

4. How was Damodar (a pure fighter by the looks of it) able to cast a Dimension Door/ Gate/ Whatever spell?

Wow! I have lots more nitpicks, but these are just off the top of my head.

tracer
12-18-2000, 02:37 PM
cjharker wrote:

And Snails was positively useless. Why would Ridley hang out with a guy that would get them thrown in a dungeon anytime they tried to do anything?

Because a "dungeon" is filled with experience points and gold pieces. Duh.

Oh, wait, you meant a real dungeon, not the giant abandoned underground labyrinths that go on forever and have no discernable purpose, which [A]D&D calls "dungeons".

Why the "Mos Eisley cantina" like scene? It was a tavern filled with humans, elves, dwarves, halflings, lizardmen, orcs and I don't know what else.
You're only scratching the surface of the similarities between this movie and the Star Wars movies. The elven forest city, with the lights shimmering in the trees, was the Ewok's treetop city at the end of Return of the Jedi. The wizened old elven cleric, who is little more than a transposed Yoda figure, says that Magic is created by living creatures (in this case, dragons), just like the Force. Ridley's trip through the Death Maze to get the Eye of the Dragon reminded me of the Indiana Jones movies, which, while not actually Star Wars movies, were created by George Lucas and starred Harrison "Han Solo" Ford.

Why didn't the empress consult the gold dragons?
Why did they act more like dumb monsters than the very powerful, spell-casting, talking creatures they are?
Maybe they were all hatchling or juvenile dragons. (Not every dragon has to be huge-ancient.) Either that, or the Empress hadn't learned how to speak Gold Dragon yet. (Maybe she could have communicated with them in the lawful-good language. :rolleyes:)
Why did the dwarf hit with the flat of his axe rather than the blade?
Subdual damage. ;)
Do gold dragons cast fireballs? (Not really expecting an answer, as I don't feel like finding the MM right now)
Gold dragons can cast any spells a magic-user can, but they were almost certainly supposed to be using their Breath Weapons in the movie. Gold dragons have 2 breath weapons: a cone of fire like a red dragon's, and a rectangular cloud of chlorine gas like a green dragon's. The things they spat in the movie, though, liiked more like fire "bolts". Just like the, ahem, "fireballs" the other mages were casting at the dragons -- "fireballs" which (A) never detonated, even though a fireball spell is always supposed to detonate, and (B) wouldn't have affected the gold dragons anyway 'cause gold dragons are immune to fire.

tracer
12-18-2000, 07:31 PM
tevya wrote:

Frosty is telling the dwarf that "this is something they have to do on their own." When did she get a prophecy bulletin regarding the quest?
If the elven ranger and the dwarven fighter had gone in with Ridley and Snails, they might have prevented Snails from getting killed. And having Marlon Wayans around for the rest of the movie would have been a fate far worse than death. So thank your lucky stars that she stayed away.

How was Damodar (a pure fighter by the looks of it) able to cast a Dimension Door/ Gate/ Whatever spell?
As SPOOFE Bo Diddley noted earlier in this thread, he cast the dreaded "Cheap Gimmicky Plot Devices" spell (material components: lots and lots of gold pieces, plus the sacrificial head of the script's continuity checker).

Seriously, though, I think the "real" excuse is that the symbiotic magical creature living in Damodar's body cast "word of recall" the instant Damodar had completed his mission.

Irishman
12-18-2000, 11:59 PM
I ended up watching the movie over the weekend, so I can talk a little more definitively on content now.

I just loved the blue lip gloss of strength. Wasn't what that was?

And what was the spell Profion casts on the Empress at the end? I believe it was the "magic monkey on your back". (Yeah, I know it wasn't a monkey, it's funnier that way.)

I think one of the problems was this movie suffered from playing to movie cliches and archetypes rather than D&D structure and character types. For instance, the characters were cookie-cutter fantasy film archetypes.

Profion, the super-evil bad guy. His over-acting was his portrayal of the egomaniacal, overbearing evil master villain. That character has three moods: sinister, diabolical, and enraged evil.

Damadar is the uber-henchman. He is the superthug who is the incredible fighter that has to be overcome. And once he is possessed by the mind thing, he takes on Profion's moods. And overacting.

The Empress is the stock fairy princess that needs to be rescued. Except some miniscule effort was made to mask or subtlely alter that role so it isn't quite as helpless. Thus she is promoted to full Empress and put in ruling power, but then uses her age and lack of experience as the weekness to thus leave her needing help. While she isn't helpless and has strong will, she is nevertheless needing aid.

Snails is the comic relief. His role is to be incompetent and petulant. Being a coward is perfect for his character - it gives him motivation to be bad at what he does. :rolleyes: Yes, in the real world or the D&D world he would need to have at least some minimal competance - say stealthiness so he can hide. But this is the movie cliche world - he has to be pathetic at everything. Somehow we're supposed to nevertheless be saddened by his death, because he's Ridley's friend and one of the good guys.

Ridley is, of course, the hero. The hero is slick, capable, dashing, handsome, charming, and of course has some deeply masked true potential that is unlocked through the process of the story. Thus his "destiny" to go alone to recover the Rod of Savrille. And the Elven wizard/healer's comments.

The elf is the vulcan (complete with the ears ;) ) - calm, rational, completely competent, unaffected by the likes of Snails.

Marina is the eye candy. (Oooh, la, la.) Her role is romantic interest for the hero (since the Princess, er Empress isn't playing that role). It is her job to inspire the hero so he can have some reason to be pulled into the plot, and something to keep him on course when he doubts himself and the purpose. (He should have continued doubting.)

As for Star Wars counterparts:

- Ridley is an amalgam of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo; he's the hero and the dashing scoundrel
- Marina is Princess Leia to Ridley's Han Solo
- Snails is C3PO
- the dwarf is Chewbacca
- the elf is R2D2; capable, along for the ride, contributes some small aid but is basically filler
- Profion is the Emperor
- Damadar is Vader

Plot cliches were just as structured. I won't bother.

The movie is a generic fantasy story that has been decorated with a few D&D throw rugs to try to masquerade. Thus the use of red and gold dragons, the dwarf and elf and various other non-human types, and the beholder. It's like the scriptwriters looked through a Monster Manual and picked out pretty pictures and ignored the descriptions. Thus the dragons and beholders are generic scary monsters instead of having any bearing on the content as D&D portrays them. Similarly, the spells are someone's reading a list of spell names and then trying to dramatize how they might look, without bothering with the descriptions in the book. "Fireball" sounds impressive, but then the concept was adapted to story necessity. Whatever Marina's missile spell was supposed to be. The binding spell - hey, a spectral rope. The "dimension door" - we need some way to have her escape the hoards of henchmen in the tower. It makes a convenient plot device for rapid moving from place to place. So what if it doesn't follow the rules? Those aren't movie rules.

- Why didn't the empress consult the gold dragons? Why did they act more like dumb monsters than the very powerful, spell-casting, talking creatures they are?

They weren't D&D dragons, they were generic monsters.

- Why didn't the mages cast spells that fit their levels?

All the other mages were background filler. The only player character mages were Profion and Marina, and the Empress wielding the scepter.

- Where were the spell components and why did a "magic dust" exist?

Magic dust was the generic magic component, saving the need for props. Movie device.

- Why did the dwarf hit with the flat of his axe rather than the blade? He did. Watch and see.

Obviously because it would be too brutal for the good guys to be slashing and hacking the henchmen to bits all the time. (That's why The Phantom Menace swapped from Stormtroopers to battle droids.)

- What the hell was that ending? Where did they go?

Off to Ridley's knighting, of course. (They're knighting a theif. Does that mean he'll give up his theifliness?)

- Why did they do such a great job of avoiding English text, and at the end, had "Snails" scratched on a rock for all to see? Indecipherable runes would've been fine. We would've figured it out.

All of the runes and stuff were supposed to be magic text. Snails was just a name, so it was in commoner human language.

- What was that three-eyed blue thing in that town?

I have no idea. A way to make a minor character stand out as non-human.

- Why was that beholder so weak and apparently working for the humans?

See comments under dragons.

As for why Ridley hung out with Snails, I think that falls under the category of they were childhood friends and best buddies long before they figured out Ridley is a fabulous theif and Snails is a cowardly fool. ;)


Dark Lord Davidson asked a series of questions:
- Why did Snails name get scratched off the rock at the end?

Didn't you get it? Snails was resurrected by the ruby and by Ridley's secret magical ability. Thus he's out there, and not in the ground. That's why they were so happy.

- How the hell did they end up WITH the red dragon eye, after he used it to gain access to the crypt?

Obviously he took it back when he left. Wouldn't do to leave the door open, with all that treasure left.

- What was Snails planning to do with the magic dust (which, by the way, seemed to be the universal spell component throughout the movie) he swiped from Damadar's room?

He's a thief. I imagine sell it, probably to Mirina.

- Was the elf who healed Ridley a cleric, or a druid?

He wasn't either, he was an Elf. (That was in the script. Not a D&D correct part.)

Mauve Dog commented:
The Evil Mage out-fights said thief by using a staff one-handed (I should point out, however, that the movie's version of 'out-fighting' in this case involves the Evil Mage simply hiding behind his staff, as the thief-guy swings his sword at it). This is way off from the way things would happen in the game.

No, that was a magic staff of defense. A superhigh level mage can cast that spell, then he doesn't have to control it, the staff does the defending for him. ;)

Tamax asked:
And exactly how was she going to make everyone "equal", anyway? Did I miss something?...the "commoner" populace didn't look enslaved or anything like that, but that seemed to be what was implied.

tracer said:
Um ... I'd guess she was going to pass the medieval equivalent of the 14th Amendment. Either that, or institute Communism.

That part was fairly straightforward, to me. They lived in a classed society. Basically there was an aristocracy of the ruling class, the mages. These were the educated (duh), and they lived in style and splendor. Then there were the commoners, everyone else. It was a feudal society, so there really wasn't anything like voting or such. Realize we mostly saw the commoners on their own turf, the only mage around was in hiding. I think that if the mages came around, the commoners would have had to bow and scrape and get out of the way and defer to them. All the standard feudal things. So the Empress was declaring them equals, and perhaps on her way to forming a "House of Commons" in the advisory council or something.

Ack, it's late.

Badtz Maru
12-19-2000, 01:27 AM
wouldn't have affected the gold dragons anyway 'cause gold dragons are immune to fire.

Actually, fireballs do half fire damage, half blast damage, so if a creature is totally immune to fire they take half damage from a fireball, 1/4 if they save.

tracer
12-19-2000, 03:10 PM
Half of a fireball's damage is "blast" damage? Where'd you read that? (I couldn't find such a notion in the AD&D 2nd Edition Revised rules.)

tracer
12-19-2000, 03:22 PM
Irishman wrote:

As for Star Wars counterparts:

- Ridley is an amalgam of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo; he's the hero and the dashing scoundrel
- Marina is Princess Leia to Ridley's Han Solo
- Snails is C3PO
- the dwarf is Chewbacca
- the elf is R2D2; capable, along for the ride, contributes some small aid but is basically filler
- Profion is the Emperor
- Damadar is Vader
And I can't believe I missed this one until now:

- The Empress is Queen Amidala

tracer
12-20-2000, 02:27 PM
Irishman wrote:

The elf is the vulcan (complete with the ears ;) ) - calm, rational, completely competent, unaffected by the likes of Snails.
And only engaging in hanky-panky once every seven years. ;)

Mr. Miskatonic
02-12-2003, 05:37 PM
Originally posted by tracer
RickJay wrote:


Nuts to that! The next logical step is Car Wars: The Movie!!

<somebody whispers something into tracer's ear about Death Race 2000>
D'OH!!

Okay, then, how about Paranoia: The Movie?

THX 1183?

:cool: