Oct 11, 2005

Dungeons & Dragons II: Wrath of the Dragon God - a review

My son and I finally got a chance to sit down and watch this flick last night. DVR's are a wonderful thing, people!

Dungeons & Dragons II: Wrath of the Dragon God is a direct-to-cable movie that first aired on the Sci Fi Channel last Saturday night. Now, you may be fortunate enough to ask, "what do you mean Dungeons and Dragons II - there was a first D&D movie???" That study in fan disappointment limped past movie-goers nationwide in 2000, and is best left forgotten. It wasn't a horrible movie, but faithful gamers worldwide were hoping for much more. Unless you have a particularly masochistic sense of curiosity, best to leave that flat attempt lie undisturbed in its shallow cinematic grave.

Back to the subject at hand, I really found D&D II: WotDG to be enjoyable. Between the disappointing first D&D movie and the fact that this new installment aired directly on cable, I didn't have high expectations. I must say that my trepidations were unfounded. The new movie was quite well done, especially given the format.

First and foremost, a nod was certainly given to the players. The movie was rife with references to specific spells, magic items, creatures, locations, and gods from the actual game. The story led us through the necessitated formation of a traditional D&D adventuring party, their journeys across a varied fantastic landscape (including some honest-to-gods actual dungeons crawls), and finally into several epic confrontations with a collection of evil masterminds and vicious beasties.

Sure, the acting was frequently over-the-top, but I believe that to some extent, this may have been a tongue-in-cheek attempt to mirror the high-cheese melodrama spouted around many a dining room table every Friday evening. The only thing missing was the alluring clatter of rolling dice.

For the other parents reading, there was certainly some rather vivid violence, a little blood, and a goodly group of creepy critters and beings. That said, it was presented in such a fashion that I personally had no compunctions against my 9-yr-old son watching.

In any case, my son and I very much enjoyed curling up on the couch and soaking up this pulpy but exciting and entertaining flick. I think one must take it for what it is, but for Sci Fi's first attempt, they certainly hit their mark. Watch it soon with a son or daughter near you!


Borghal said...

I must agree with you: D&D II is better than the first one. Now I must make a confession: after watching this, I decided to revisit the former D&D movie (well... antoher confession: I own it on DVD) and... well... now I think it's not that bad.

Have you seen "Scourge of Worlds"? Maybe it's not as eye-catching as one might expect, but the interactivity makes it really fun to watch with friends and/or family. Give it a try!

Lance said...

Ooo, yes - I appreciate the reminder about Scourge of Worlds. We'd gotten a demo of the SoW DVD at GenCon one year. My son and I had liked it quite a bit, but I forgot to ever rent it so we could watch/explore the whole thing.

I really liked the "Choose Your Own Adventure" approach to a DVD movie - pretty cool!