The Dungeons & Dragons Movie We Deserve

The Dungeons & Dragons Movie We Deserve

Once again, Wizards of the Coast is trying to put out an official Dungeons & Dragons movie.

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Want a DnD movie that might actually succeed? Have R.A. Salvatore write it, set it in Faerun, and have it star Drizzt.

I mean, otherwise it is just...a vague fantasy movie. Would be like if they made a comic book movie...but without Marvel or DC characters. You need something people know...beyond just the brand. I guess it would be like if Marvel made a super hero movie...but not using any copyrighted characters.

The plot would also have to use known antagonists that a more general fanbase of Faerun know. Have Elminster show up, maybe fight Tiamat, etc.

I saw the DnD movie in theaters, I liked it...but it was just a vague fantasy movie.

I love The Gamers series. I reference them a lot in my gaming group, especially the first one.

Elvaril:
I love The Gamers series. I reference them a lot in my gaming group, especially the first one.

The first thing Hollywood needs to do is respect their audience when it comes to this material. What Gamers gets right that the other D&D movies has missed is that respect...yes the D&D movies are funny, but some of their jokes feel like they are at the expense of the material. What Gamers, and especially Hands of Fate, do is create funny situations without making fun of the fans or the content.

What they should really do is take a look at some LitRPG novels and try to adapt that style (which should be easy in a visual medium). That style would better capture the feel of the game, which is the real draw. D&D on it's own is mostly a super generic fantasy framework to build your own adventures on.

...Or they should let the Natural 20 people write it based on their adventures.

Personally, I would love it if they adapt some of the older novels into movies. If you want a movie starring Drizzt, why not Homeland: the Movie? Make it their version of harry Potter by adapting the Dark Elf Trilogy and then the Crystal Shard Trilogy. Personally I would use something like Pool of Radiance or Azure Bonds due to my irrational love of the SSI Gold Box games. Perhaps Vampire of the Mist or I. Strahd if they wanted to do horror. The original Dragonlance Chronicles would make for a great epic trilogy a la Lord of the Rings.

Saelune:
Want a DnD movie that might actually succeed? Have R.A. Salvatore write it, set it in Faerun, and have it star Drizzt.

The plot would also have to use known antagonists that a more general fanbase of Faerun know. Have Elminster show up, maybe fight Tiamat, etc.

You have the two biggest Mary Sue characters in the genre teaming up. There would be no tension, no sense of urgency. The movie would be flat and lifeless. Boring.

008Zulu:

Saelune:
Want a DnD movie that might actually succeed? Have R.A. Salvatore write it, set it in Faerun, and have it star Drizzt.

The plot would also have to use known antagonists that a more general fanbase of Faerun know. Have Elminster show up, maybe fight Tiamat, etc.

You have the two biggest Mary Sue characters in the genre teaming up. There would be no tension, no sense of urgency. The movie would be flat and lifeless. Boring.

Could always be a origin story. I mean, what else can they do? What the hell is a DnD movie going to be about that benefits from being "DnD"?

DRIZZT DO'URDEN

No, please don't mention the players. The way Hollywood writing is today I'm already dreading a hack job "sucked into the game" plot just from you mentioning players. Is it not bad enough that they're screwing up Jumanji with that tired cliche?

This needs to die, at best it will be fanwank like the WoW movie at worst it will just suck Donkey Balls like the last one. FFS Dungeons and Dragons is so nebulous there can be no definitive movie for it

JCAll:
Is it not bad enough that they're screwing up Jumanji with that tired cliche?

You mean like what they did with the cartoon in 1996?

Jumanji is entirely based on a world within a boardgame coming out, or in some cases, people being sucked in. I dislike the trope as well, but Jumanji is based on it.

You definitely don't need the players to highlight the mechanics that make D&D/tabletop RPGs unique. The mechanics all stand for something, they're abstractions for stuff that happens in the game world. In a movie you can just skip that step, because all you need is the 'spirit' of the mechanics. Random dice rolls stand for an air of uncertainty, with great succes or horrible failure always being an option. Character growth, through levelling and roleplaying, is just good writing in the end.

You don't need some hamfisted "Let's include actual players" thing to make that work. That'll just look awkward as shit in the end, because it'll be clear that their 'playing' will be fake as shit. Just watch one of the tons of YouTube shows/podcasts in which people play an RPG if you want to see that done right.

Saelune:
Could always be a origin story.

Oh fuck not another one. Fantasy-scifi cinema is filled with those these days.

I mean, it doesn't have to be complicated. The Guardians Of The Galaxy movies are, by all means, basically what an awesome D&D movie would look like. People joining up under certain circumstances, going on jobs together on which they get sucked into some larger narrative. Maybe without the Chosen One angle that looms over Peter Quill but other than that you're good.

So just give us a party with really good chemistry and good character development, have them do an interesting quest with a few twists and naturally feature some iconic D&D baddies. And if you mix that together with what makes D&D special, a large degree of uncertainty and zero plot armour for the main characters, you're basically set.

Oh and make sure you don't do it too clich?. There's plenty of variation and trope-aversion available, even if you just stick to Forgotten Realms.

Cowabungaa:

Saelune:
Could always be a origin story.

Oh fuck not another one. Fantasy-scifi cinema is filled with those these days.

Most movies are origin stories if there isnt a 2 after it.

Saelune:

Cowabungaa:

Saelune:
Could always be a origin story.

Oh fuck not another one. Fantasy-scifi cinema is filled with those these days.

Most movies are origin stories if there isnt a 2 after it.

Not...really? Like, at all? That implies that most movies are part of some kind of cinematic universe, or series. A lot of them aren't. And thank fuck for that. Cinema would be a dire art otherwise.

Cowabungaa:

Saelune:

Cowabungaa:

Oh fuck not another one. Fantasy-scifi cinema is filled with those these days.

Most movies are origin stories if there isnt a 2 after it.

Not...really? Like, at all? That implies that most movies are part of some kind of cinematic universe, or series. A lot of them aren't. And thank fuck for that. Cinema would be a dire art otherwise.

Got to start somewhere. Doesnt mean you have to keep going. But I mean, again, what the fuck can you expect from a DnD movie that is going to make use of the DnD brand? Otherwise any generic fantasy movie could be a DnD movie. And those rarely do well.

Saelune:
Got to start somewhere. Doesnt mean you have to keep going. But I mean, again, what the fuck can you expect from a DnD movie that is going to make use of the DnD brand? Otherwise any generic fantasy movie could be a DnD movie. And those rarely do well.

I reckoned I described what I expected from a DnD movie pretty well before. And I don't think you need to create some interconnected cinematic universe or large series for that. God if anything I'd welcome a stand-alone product. And an origin story that you don't keep going? That's pretty much cinematic blue-balling, but most importantly it looks kind of sad and pointless. Case in point; that Dracula movie from a while back.

Cowabungaa:

Saelune:
Got to start somewhere. Doesnt mean you have to keep going. But I mean, again, what the fuck can you expect from a DnD movie that is going to make use of the DnD brand? Otherwise any generic fantasy movie could be a DnD movie. And those rarely do well.

I reckoned I described what I expected from a DnD movie pretty well before. And I don't think you need to create some interconnected cinematic universe or large series for that. God if anything I'd welcome a stand-alone product. And an origin story that you don't keep going? That's pretty much cinematic blue-balling, but most importantly it looks kind of sad and pointless. Case in point; that Dracula movie from a while back.

Im just trying to reason a way for this movie not to be the flop its going to be.

Regardless if you personally like it.

Saelune:
Im just trying to reason a way for this movie not to be the flop its going to be.

Regardless if you personally like it.

Oh it will be a flop... It will be...

Dammit.

I watched "The Gamers: Dorkness Rising" and it was campy, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, they would have done so much better than the three horrible movies Wizards gave their blessing to. The Hollywood versions failed because they tried too hard in all the wrong areas and not enough in the right ones. Setting and backstory were okay. Characters were bad and several parts of their quest seemed to have been thought as "that would be cool" but for lack of a better word were just too cheesy for what they were trying to accomplish: having an epic adventure movie based on a Tolkien-ish world with magic and elves and character classes (oh my!) without all of its backstory.

One of the things I always thought the first D&D movie was missing was a scene where all of the main character actors sat around a table with the D&D stuff on it and where the narrator started his dialog to introduce the setting blended into the first scene, rather than just exposition dumping by itself. Anything else campy could be disbelief-suspended by the assertion that these are players just roleplaying the parts, rather than poor efforts on the part of Hollywood. It would have been bookended by a scene where they players wrap up and agree to meet next time, or something.

A comedy angle for a new D&D movie would work only if they are going for something generic. The Gamers, Dorkness Rising, "Dungeons And Discords" from MLP:FIM, and "D&DD" from Dexter's Laboratory pulled this off well, in addition to the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon itself. Involving the players would give an easy and relatable B-plot that can frame the main adventure and give it context. Even Monty Python and the Holy Grail referenced the animator and the cops in the present day.

A good example of why generic and non-comedy do not mix is the choose your own adventure movie Scourge of Worlds. The Warcraft movie is another good example. Neither are bad, but for having such a rich setting, they are bland. I would love to see many of the D&D novels on the silver screen, but there is a fear that it would not be taken seriously or that it would be seriously misinterpreted.

If we could get something more along the lines of Willow or the 80's Conan movies, that would be solid. A fantasy version of Galaxy Quest would work great. If they are doing something serious, I hope they do better than what they butchered with Dragons of Autumn Twilight, which I still think that can be salvaged by taking the audio and just re-doing the animation. I can only hope that it won't come out like In the Name of the King or many of the other video game movies...

Ukomba:
What they should really do is take a look at some LitRPG novels and try to adapt that style (which should be easy in a visual medium). That style would better capture the feel of the game, which is the real draw. D&D on it's own is mostly a super generic fantasy framework to build your own adventures on.

After the nightmare that is the LN Isekai flood and how it has become a source of mockery since the harem anime. I don't think Hollywood wants to emulate a failed system.

Just watch Beastmaster or The Sword and the Sorcerer or Conan 1&2 or Red Sonja or Krull or other 80s classics again

Those movies really had the HEART of D&D, doesn't matter if they didn't have Beholders™ or Mindflayers™ or Umber Hulks™ or Gelatinous Cubes™

I can't imagine any modern movie doing the same thing (Immortals came close) because those movies were a product of their bygone era

gyrobot:

Ukomba:
What they should really do is take a look at some LitRPG novels and try to adapt that style (which should be easy in a visual medium). That style would better capture the feel of the game, which is the real draw. D&D on it's own is mostly a super generic fantasy framework to build your own adventures on.

After the nightmare that is the LN Isekai flood and how it has become a source of mockery since the harem anime. I don't think Hollywood wants to emulate a failed system.

Oh, so one Japanese Light Novel failed, there for the entire genre is poisoned? Maybe try reading something like "Dungeon Born" by Dakota Krout or "The Land" by Aleron Kong instead. I'd even recommend some Russian translated books like "Patch 17" by G. Akella or "Project Daily Grind" by Alexey Osadchuk. There is even a D&D based one "Critical Failures" by Robert Bevan (but his books are more puerile gorse out humor crap so I wouldn't recommend them).

The point is, there are better examples of the genre out there.

Hawki:
You mean like what they did with the cartoon in 1996?

Was that the same cartoon from the mid 80's? I thought it only had a couple of seasons.

Either way, I don't mind the idea of a D&D movie. There are ways it could be successful or good or both. Its just that I see it as having a better than average chance of failure too. If it is a self aware comedy it has the tightrope of parody to walk, lest it become a movie that annoys D&D fans and no one else gets. It could take itself too seriously for and that would make it a movie that only fans would see, good or not the D&D label on a movie with a "serious" take could easily drive off non-fans.

It could "downplay" its connection with D&D. Be a generic seeming fantasy movie, with subtle nods that only us D&D fans would catch. Then at the end throw in a reference to something like Greyhawk, Faerun, or Krynn or a character from a D&D setting. Setting up a sequel, in case it makes money. Because that's the only reason any studio (especially WB) is going to buy the rights to produce a D&D movie... they all want a big franchise or two and are all scrambling to catch up to Disney (and Marvel and Star Wars.)

Or it could go the way I would make it (and fail miserably, obviously, but I would like it) and go waaaayyyyyy meta. I'm thinking teens playing D&D, and their campaign being played out live action in scenes in the movie. But with a darker theme, more Stranger Things than the 80's cartoon. But also with some of the things happening in the lives of the teens in the "real" world. But then... as opposed to the opposite (which would make the most sense,) things happening in the "game world" start foreshadowing what is happening in the "real" world. Eventually the kids start to pick up on this happening, and one by one start to question which is the "real" world.

I'm not sure exactly how this would go (I'm not a writer) but I see an ending where we see how the campaign wraps up in the "game world" and then get... the credits rolling. With no resolution or continuation of the "real" world storyline. Strongly suggesting that the "real" world only existed as a framework for explaining why certain random events had the outcome that they did and the "game" world is actually reality.

That's the movie I would make out of it. It would fail but it would make me laugh at the response it would get.

Saelune:
A vague fantasy movie.

Ukomba:
D&D on it's own is mostly a super generic fantasy framework to build your own adventures on.

yeah, that's a trap a D&D movie can easily fall in.

Mostly because generic fantasy kitchen sink is pretty much what D&D is. I can't think of anything that has codified more generic fantasy tropes than Dungeons & Dragons, other than LoTR. Although the 'genericness' of D&D more or less depends on which Campaign Setting. Most of the standard base settings like Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms or Mystara? Sure.

I suppose something could be done with settings that have a bit more of their own identity like Dark Sun, Ravenloft, Planescape or Spelljammer, although most of those wear their inspirations on their sleeves as well.

Anyway, supposing they do make a D&D movie that is both good and true to its source material, will it have Vin Diesel?

I mean sure
most D&D campaigns are some vague fantasy land full of consonants and apostrophes
but I feel like everyone is forgetting Planescape
Planescape could provide a wildly interesting setting for a movie (or more)
just because it's a D&D movie doesn't mean you need to have the movie take place as part of a campaign (which the writers would put in by way of having the film cut to a bunch of people sitting around a table in a dark room rolling dice every 15 minutes or so)
A Planescape movie wouldn't (or rather shouldn't) have to be an adaptation of Planescape:Torment, it's a large and diverse enough setting that with ample care taken to ensure the audience knows how Planescape works, almost any conceivable story could take place
or they could adapt something like the faction wars

I agree. D&D has always been less about the story being told, and more the story that the players craft together. A D&D movie minus the players is just a generic fantasy film.

 

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