Trolling #47: Dungeons & Dragons RULES!

Dungeons & Dragons splash

When we hear the cry of hatred in the black, inky void of the Internet, we are there. When we hear someone pooh-poohing a widely derided movie, we are there. Whenever a general fan consensus arises, and that consensus declares a film to be indefensible, we are there. We are Trolling, boys and girls, and we’re here to shield the films you think you hate. This week, we’;re tackling one of the more notorious feature films of the 2000s. We’re going to be looking at Dungeons & Dragons.

Whatever you think of Gary Gygax’s famous 1974 role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons – you could be indifferent to it, dismissive of it, or a passionate acolyte – you all likely agree that the 2000 feature film version of the game is pretty terrible. Director Courtney Solomon attempted to capture an actual D&D session on film, teaming up a ragtag group of hip-talking rascals, and pitting them against an evil mage (played by Jeremy Irons) with dreams of conquering the kingdom of Izmir with enslaved dragons. The film was instantly hated by fans and critics alike (it enjoys a mere 10% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes), and it was a financial failure.

And the ensuing years have not been kind. Dungeons & Dragons has, since 2000, sauntered even further downward in fan esteem, leaving it somewhere around Batman & Robin and The Last Airbender as one of the single most loathed geek films in cinematic history.

This, of course, is ripe material for Trolling. We see a wounded animal, and we leap to its defense. Every other week, we turn the negative into the positive. And, looking back, there are plenty of positives in the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Indeed, one might say Dungeons & Dragons RULES. Let’s look into a few reasons why.  

Yes, the special effects look cheap. Yes, some of the acting is a little obnoxious. And yes, I agree that Marlon Wayans was way miscast as the funny sidekick. But there is a sense of playful, wacky fun in Dungeons & Dragons that doesn’t get touted nearly enough. People complain that it failed to capture the tone of the game. I would argue that every D&D game is going to be a little different, and that this film could easily be a game enjoyed on a Sunday afternoon in your friends’ parents’ basement.

Until next week, let the hate mail flow.  

Witney Seibold is a commentator at Nerdist, a contributor to the CraveOnline Film Channel, and co-host of The B-Movies Podcast. You can read his weekly Trolling articles here on Crave, and follow him on “Twitter” at @WitneySeibold, where he is slowly losing his mind.