Main cast: Justin Whalin (Ridley Freeborne), Marlon Wayans (Snails), Zoe McLellan (Marina of Pretensa), Lee Arenberg (Elwood the Dwarf), Thora Birch (Empress Savina), Kristen Wilson (Norda), Jeremy Irons (Profion), Bruce Payne (Damodar), Tom Baker (Elven King), and Richard O’Brien (Master Thief)
Director: Courtney Solomon
It’s a pity the first movie adaptation of Dungeons & Dragons plays out like a reject of the company formerly called TSR (the one that made this popular role-playing game). Dwarf, sorceress-wannabe, thief, and dragons – four inevitable elements of a fantasy story done to death in a zillion young adult fantasy novels, rehashed in a manner so uninspired that I really constipate myself trying to muster any enthusiasm for this movie.
The young empress of some fantasy realm, Savina, is trying to perform some reform movements that threaten the power of the ruling council. Profion, peeved that he can’t control dragons, manipulates the council into revolting, even as he tries to usurp the throne. He sends his assistant Damodar (blue lipstick and looking like a yuppified Little Shop of Horrors reject) to retrieve a treasure that will enable him to rule.
Two thieves (Ridley the white hero and Snails the obligatory black sidekick) bungle into sorceress apprentice Marina’s attempt to stop Damodar. (She’s white, so she snogs Ridley at the end.) There’s also the dwarf sidekick, the obligatory minority-knows-it-all metaphor. There are pitfalls, bickerings, the obligatory you-all-don’t-appreciate-me break-up, the loser’s ascendency up the food chain, everything really, done in a manner so inept and uninspired that the movie bores me silly.
Silly acting makes it worse. The main cast ham it up without charisma, while Jeremy Irons goes overboard, mincing and stomping his feet like some aging drag queen trying his best to get onto the cast of Absolutely Fabulous or something. And oh, poor Payne – blue lipstick? Ouch.