Why wasn't the D&D movie more "D&D"?

Why weren’t D&D monsters and spells referred to in the movie? I figured there would be as soon as the movie was announced. But other than dragons and a throwaway line about a Feeblemind spell, I couldn’t find any. No magic missles, floating disks, swords +3, beholders, speaking dragons, etc.

It may have even been silly to say “As a magician, I can’t use that sword” or have a good luck charm that looked like a 20-sided die. A little nod to the fans, like “Holy rusted metal!”

Was the movie originally meant to cater to D&D fans and have rules and book references? Or was it pretty much always just a (admittedly terrible) fantasy movie that used the title? IMDB’s trivia didn’t help, but does anyone know some of the inside scoop on the movie development?

It’s been a while since I saw it, but I’m pretty sure there were numerous references to the game. One of the good guys used magic missle against the evil dude, but it only stunned him. I remember Beholders were guarding the grounds to some fortress, and there was a Thieve’s Guild early on in the movie. And didn’t somebody open a dimension door at one point?

It probably could have been more like the game, but I’m glad we didn’t hear anything about experience points or charisma ratings. Things like MU’s being unable to wield weapons would have been easy enough to convey by simply having them not wield any.

As Attryant said, there was a beholder in the movie. It was being used as a security guard. :rolleyes:

I’m guessing that the studio leaned on them pretty heavily to keep the movie “mainstream” by eliminating anything that couldn’t be understood by a comatose five year old. Unfortunetly, I suspect that this did not result in a great number of changes to the original script. The whole film was a bad idea, poorly executed.

Miller: wrote:

At the time, though, the director was saying that it was produced as an independant film and that he had all creative control, so therefore he was going to produce a movie for gamers, and not for hollywood squares. When the results were revealed, of course, this boast of 100% creative control took on a certain pathos. Some studio wonks could have made some very good suggestions. What’s more pathetic was the story that the director made every actor in the film watch a bunch of bad fantasy films twice, and this was somehow supposed to somehow inspire everyone not to make a shitty fantasy film. Plus, supposedly he contracted all the actors to a three-picture deal, expecting that there would be a trilogy, it seems.

There were a number of D&D references in the film, but more important in the minds of many is what they got wrong. The ranger in a metal breastplate? All spells used some magic dust as a material component? A beholder who was stupid, and who was working as a watchdog for humans? Mindless dragons? Come on.

First, there was:
D&D: The Player’s Handbook.
Then came:
D&D 2: Monster Manual
Coming Soon, to a tabletop near you:
D&D 3: Dungeon Master’s Guide!!!

I have nothing more to add except:

I hated that movie.

It’s simple:

Hollywood hacks think they know better than gamer dorks.

Given that the guy who produced, wrote and directed described himself as a gamer geek with a lifelong facination with D’nD and he hasn’t made anything else before or since… maybe Hollywood hacks do know better than gamer dorks.

What can I say that Jabootu hasn’t?

Basically, I’d say that Dungeons and Dragons isn’t a “Dungeons and Dragons” movie—it’s just a cheap, and fairly bad sword and sorcery movie, with a few references to the game thrown in so’s to try and cut into a ready-made market. It’d be like if they tried to make the movie Supernova into part of the Star Trek franchise by renaming the spaceship U.S.S. Enterprise, and putting in a few half-hearted references to “Starfleet.”

It’s pretty much canon in the gaming materials and even the novels that, except for the names of some spells, the world(s) of D&D are fairly mainstream fantasy, and the characters within those worlds don’t use terms like “pluses to hit” or “levels”. It was fairly easy to pick out various D&D elements when watching the movie–“okay, he made his DEX roll there, whoops, failed the Find Traps…”

I was mystified, however, that the characters were totally gobsmacked when the Empress sprung for a Raise Dead on the guy that died. I mean, the guy helped to save the Empire from almost certain overacting; being able to raise people from the dead has been part of the D&D worlds since day one. It shouldn’t come as a total deus ex machina surprise.

Hopefully they’ll do better in the sequel.

Sweet baby Jebus…


Oh, and to the OP, the reason there wasn’t more “D&D” in the movie was there was no room left after the injection of mass quantities of “suck”. :mad:

I’d love to see the MST3K folks take a shot at this turkey.


The D&D Movie was the only movie during which I’ve ever seen my husband fall asleep in a theater.

It’s something I don’t understand either. I mean, they had a built-in audience with the name alone. Others were unlikely to see the movie at all because of the name. So why didn’t they try to appeal to the ones who would’ve gotten the references. The D&D novels prove you can actually tell a story in the world and adhere to the rules (more or less) without using “he rolled an 18 and hit.”

And yes, by far the stupidest moment was using the beholder as a watch dog for men.

If anything I think the movie was TOO d+d (and I’m a long-time player.) Gaming systems rarely translate well into fiction. I found that every time they mentioned something with a 1-to-1 correspondence with the rules, it was a major exercise in suckitude. More of the same would have made the movie even worse…

actually, I take that back. The OP is completely right. If they WOULD have used more game mechanic-related stuff, the movie would have been worse…which would have made it better, since the movie was at exactly the threshold of kitsch.

so yeah, they should have brought on the game mechanics, it would have been good for a laugh.

I hated, hated, hated that movie.

They sneak past a beholder without any dificulty. These things have eyes in every freaking direction! They are horrific monsters of legend who can turn you to stone just by looking at you with the correct eye. You don’t just sneak past one.

Profion and the other wizards attempt to destroy the gold dragons with what appear to be fireball spells. Gold dragons are immune to fire. You’d think the great and learned council of mages would know things like this.

There were plenty of other problems. But I prefer to keep blocking out the memory of the film.

However, Tom Baker had a cameo as elven cleric. The effortless grace and depth if his acting took my breath away.

D&D can be adapted to the screen with good results though. Gary Gygax proved that back in the eighties with a cartoon which is still a lot of fun to watch.

Bad movie?!? But…but…the quicksand carpet! What about the quicksand carpet?! The quicksand carpet was very, very cool!
I mean, yeah, everything except for the quicksand carpet sucked ass, but the quicksand carpet rocked! :smiley:

The only thing more unbearable than the D&D movie would be the D&D movie with even more D&D in it.

Now, Knights of the Round Table would make a great feature film…

The movie Dungeons and Dragons was good for one thing, and one thing only:

Giving my gaming group the opportunity to forever cackle at least once a session when someone quotes the bad guy who demands:

“Give me the rod!”

It didn’t help that the dude had white lips, too…

… okay, actually, it did help.

When we saw this, the entire group of people I saw this with were cracking up at that line!!!

The CV of the guy who’s directing the sequel is kind of interesting, though:

Apparently he’s been making D&D movies all along, just without the pointy ears and magic and stuff.

Re The Carpet

I forgot about this. I liked it quite a bit. Although it didn’t strictly follow the description of a rug of smothering, that’s clearly what it was. It was an authentic D&D touch that gamers would recognize, but that nongamers would still understand and enjoy.

Re Dialogue

I still wish they’d put in the exchange between Profion and his henchgoth.

P: This device failed as well! What am I missing?
H: Do you think that the egg of a dragon is required?
P: Something radical is definitely required.

Or maybe just a few lines in his speech to the council.

“I have a vision, of this kingdom. Where great, golden drakes protect us from unworthy foreign devils.”