Dungeons & Dragons

Crimes

  • Throwing Dungeons & Dragons trappings onto a weak collection of fantasy clichés that would put most D&D players to sleep
  • Collecting a group of actors who look like they've enrolled in a competitive scenery-chewing contest
  • Making no damn sense

Defender
Producer-director Courtney Solomon, star Justin Whalin, and D&D "game co-creator" Dave Arneson

Tone Of Commentary
Gleeful. Whalin and Solomon are both utterly enthusiastic: Their favorite word is "great," a compliment they repeatedly apply to the sets, costumes, special effects, writing, and direction, along with virtually every individual actor. Meanwhile, Arneson (whose comments were clearly recorded in a separate solo studio session and clumsily edited in), intermittently provides dour, dry intel on D&D character creation, orc lore, and dragon subspecies.

What Went Wrong
Nothing. Whalin gushes over Solomon's "perseverance and unwillingness to accept anything less than perfection." Solomon gushes over Whalin's chemistry with the other cast members. Both men whoop and cackle over everything from the special effects to their production memories. Whalin does cheerfully say that he hurt virtually every part of his body during shooting, and Solomon alludes to his budget limitations, but they both immediately return to rapturously praising their great film.

Comments On The Cast
They're all great! A few actors get more specific compliments: Jeremy Irons is "appropriately psychotic." Marlon Wayans, Zoe McLellan, Lee Arenberg, and Richard O'Brien are each deemed absolutely perfect for their roles. Bruce Payne comes in for special praise as someone who writhes well, providing a good base image even before his special-effects tortures are added.

Inevitable Dash Of Pretension
Discussing a scene in which tentacles emerge from Payne's ears to suck information from McLellan's brain, Whalin says kids might not find the image as gross as adults: "...and that's how you can sometimes make a film and make it right for young, make it right for old, make it mean something a little different for everybody." Solomon: "Transcend[ing] barriers of age with universal themes and concepts. That's really the idea there."

Commentary In A Nutshell
Whalin: "Jeremy's costumes look great, and Bruce's is really one of my favorite costumes. I love his armor. I think he just looks totally great and sadistic." Solomon: "Absolutely. And here's another great location."

Filed Under: DVD

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