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October 13th, 2005


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11:57 pm - Probably a minority opinion here, but...
I avoided the movie Dungeons and Dragons when it came out because I generally see first-run movies only as a social event. My friends gave it lukewarm reviews when it was new, and I didn't end up seeing it.

I'm watching it tonight, and with about 16 minutes of movie to go, I can tell you that it is, without a doubt, the worst movie I have ever seen.

Ever.

It's obviously an expensive production, but it seems dismally mismanaged. The special effects are lush and expansive, but their insertion into the film is so ineptly realized that it's noticeable. This is no problem in amateur and low-budget productions, but IMDB says Dungeons and Dragons had $35,000,000 and studio backing. $35 million is fairly modest for this type of film, but the amount and quality of CGI suggest that they didn't skimp on the special effects budget, which makes such marked visual incongruities inexcusable.

The dialogue fluctuates between pseudo-high fantasy and contemporary street slang, which could have been made to work, but here it doesn't. Casting Jeremy Irons as a heartless megalomaniac seems perfect in theory, but his scenes play as if he's overdoing it in exasperation to piss off the director. Same with Bruce Payne, who doesn't normally suck. Nearly everybody else sounds as if they're doing their first readthrough of the script, and the performances are awful. It's not a stylistic choice -- it just plain doesn't work. Having the closed captioning on makes the film even worse because the pauses and stresses in the dialogue occur at unnatural places. Only Richard O'Brien seems well-cast. It's the type of role he likes to play, and he's the only good thing about the film.

The characters and conflicts are too uninteresting for me to care about what's actually happening in the story, which is convoluted. D&D spent something like nine years in pre-pre-production. I suspect that during this time a script was written, and then seriously trimmed and reworked every time somebody had a new idea for a cool special effect. The final film is so messy that I don't even care enough to wade through the story to figure it out. That's the real problem. It's ambitious, but it's dull. It's like a long drive home with an intoxicated friend who is determined to tell you a long joke which he can't remember. I found myself constantly wondering when they were going to get to the good stuff, only to realize that what I was watching is the good stuff. It's just poorly thought out and poorly executed.

I'm one of those people who complains that producers ruin the best art, but if I could get rid of all the producers on earth, I wouldn't do it. The reason is made clear by Dungeons and Dragons. A glance through the crew shows that the film had 19 producers, which is quite a few, but most of them don't appear to have had much (if any) prior experience in Hollywood, so I imagine that they were mostly there to wrangle funds and tell the effects guys to give the monsters bigger eyes. Joel Silver is conspicuously listed, and with his experience one would expect the film to be better. My guess is that between the number of lesser producers and the amount and quality of special effects, it didn't occur to him that freshman director Courney Solomon might not be very good at what they were paying him to do. If Silver -- or some other producer -- had taken an active role in the film, it could have been saved. It wouldn't be infinitely better, but I might not be posting about it.

Solomon, incidentally, is wrapping production on An American Haunting. D&D was his first film (at least, his first feature), and he has nowhere to go but up. Presumably he'll get better with experience. If not, well, I'm sure he has other talents.

Incidentally: Regarding the ending of the movie, when D&D came out, all of my friends complained about the ending, so I was already anticipating it. They didn't say what happened, just that the end of the movie was weird/dumb/out of place/whatever. Frankly, all this time I'd assumed that it must end in the middle of the climactic scene. Suddenly we'd hear a middle-aged woman shout out, "Henry! It's 11:00! Time for your friends to go home!" Cut to the main characters sitting around a card table in a messy basement. They pack up their character sheets, promise to pick the game back up tomorrow, and go their separate ways.

For those who haven't seen the movie, it doesn't end that way. The ending didn't bother me, except that I think my version is better.
Current Mood: boreddisgusted

(31 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:crabmoon
Date:October 14th, 2005 05:33 am (UTC)
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I completely agree. The acting is AWFUL! For a while I thought it was simply the dialogue, or that kid that plays the main characture. But blaiming the director doesn't seam like a bad idea. I still could stand sitting through it because I have a high tollerance for crap, but I don't know, maybe when I'm cleaning.
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From:sacredspud
Date:October 14th, 2005 05:38 am (UTC)
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Oh, I'm glad you said this. Here I though you were going to defend the movie, and I was going to have to tiptoe between standing my ground and offending your opinion. I don't know what happend. I've seen other movies that are arguably less fun to sit through, but they're all either short films or very low-budget. How something with such a high profile could be carried out so badly is beyond me, and that's why I think it's the worst film I've ever seen.
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From:seanorange
Date:October 14th, 2005 05:45 am (UTC)
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I actually saw this in theatres. Between this and "Virus", I swore I would never sit through a film I expected would be crap just because one of my friends wanted to see it. The ONLY reason I wanted to see it was for Tom Baker as some kind of Elf king. His performance was the best in the whole flick, if you ask me.

Strangely, this movie was also the first inkling I had that Marlon Wayans had a modicum of acting talent. Disagree with me if you will, but this was confirmed for me in Requiem for a Dream. I won't go as far to say that his acting was anything spectacular, but the fact that he was able to display more talent or constraint than his usual speed for not one, but two theatrical releases deserves a little recognition. It's like when I saw The Truman Show and realized Jim Carrey can exude depth when he's taking his ritalin.

~Sean
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From:seanorange
Date:October 14th, 2005 05:47 am (UTC)
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Oh, in case it wasn't clear, I also thought this film was crap, so much so that I don't remember anything about it except: 1) Tom Baker not sucking, 2) the dwarf's failed and forced attempts at being comic relief (which Gimli in Lord of the Rings did QUITE a lot better), and 3) Everyone turning into shimmers of light at the end FOR NO FUCKING REASON!

~SEAN!!!!!(OMG!!!1eleven)
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From:sacredspud
Date:October 14th, 2005 05:52 am (UTC)
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Tom Baker? I didn't recognize him! I'll have to check out his scenes, just because I'm curious. He was, after all, my favorite Doctor. I agree with you about Mr. Wayans, though I thought his performance in this movie was dismal, more because of the material he was given than anything else.
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From:crabmoon
Date:October 14th, 2005 06:26 am (UTC)
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"Everyone turning into shimmers of light at the end FOR NO FUCKING REASON!"
agree and did you see the stuff they dudn't put in? that's comic gold!
[User Picture]
From:seanorange
Date:October 14th, 2005 08:03 am (UTC)
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I did not.

...

...

...

Oh god, they put this on DVD, didn't they...

~Sean
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From:wyrdsatyr
Date:October 14th, 2005 06:34 pm (UTC)
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I'll agree Tom performed best of everyone in this film, partly because his roll was the least offensively written (to the actor)... Richard O'Brien's king of thieves performence felt like he hated the lines he had t say, and so he performed them with less than his usual excelence, to piss off the writers....
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From:sacredspud
Date:October 14th, 2005 06:56 pm (UTC)
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I dunno... O'Brien's performance reminded me a lot of his performance as The Game Devil in The Rocky Interactive Horror Show. I think it's a style of character he really likes playing, though I've never heard him speak about D&D, so I couldn't say for certain.
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From:evil_jim
Date:October 14th, 2005 06:26 am (UTC)
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Dude, your ending is TOTALLY better! The only good part in the film is when the annoying thief/homie died and even then I spent the rest of it worried that they'd bring him back.
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From:fuzzyinthehead
Date:October 14th, 2005 01:26 pm (UTC)
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I know that is just sad to comment on an icon, but damn.
[User Picture]
From:evil_jim
Date:October 14th, 2005 02:03 pm (UTC)
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Wha? You no like?
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From:fuzzyinthehead
Date:October 14th, 2005 02:24 pm (UTC)
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No, I like. I like very much.
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From:seanorange
Date:October 14th, 2005 02:41 pm (UTC)
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Ah, but do you know what it's from? I mean, obviously is Eva, but do you know what kooky derivation it's from?

~Sean
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From:agaysexicon
Date:October 14th, 2005 03:48 pm (UTC)
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I don't know the derivation, I DO know that the answer to the question posed by that icon is not Shinji.
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From:fuzzyinthehead
Date:October 14th, 2005 03:52 pm (UTC)
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I can't see it well enough to make it out. I recognize the guy, but it's just not jumping out at me.
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From:crabmoon
Date:October 14th, 2005 04:40 pm (UTC)
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Have you not been exsposed to the crap that is Redeath?
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From:seanorange
Date:October 14th, 2005 06:48 pm (UTC)
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CRAP?! It's BRILLIANT! Brilliant crap, but still brilliant.

Have you seen any other Studio Sokodei dubs? Fanboy Bebop is by far the best.

~Sean
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From:crabmoon
Date:October 15th, 2005 04:00 am (UTC)
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No, I haven't and I'm pretty sure I'm going to keep it that way, my mind is dirty enough.
[User Picture]
From:seanorange
Date:October 15th, 2005 04:59 am (UTC)
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Fair enough. Fanboy Bebop IS pretty raunchy.

*plots evilly*

~Sean
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From:evil_jim
Date:October 14th, 2005 04:49 pm (UTC)
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The exchange goes as follows:

Gendou: Shinji, I am your father.

Shinji: Riiiiight...

Gendou: Who's your daddy?

Shinji: Uuhmmm. . .

Gendou: Daaamn straight!

I should really make an animated gif of that.

Appologies to Colin for wasting space in his journal on this drivel.
[User Picture]
From:lord_alucard
Date:October 14th, 2005 06:40 am (UTC)
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Not ever, but close. I also like your version better.
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From:sacredspud
Date:October 14th, 2005 01:51 pm (UTC)
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I'm not kidding when I say I thought that's what the ending was. Anyway, I didn't think so many people would be united in their hatred against the movie, and obviously "worst movie ever" is a personal opinion. Why, what movies have you thought were worse than D&D?
[User Picture]
From:lord_alucard
Date:October 15th, 2005 05:10 am (UTC)
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Grease 2.
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From:matt_william
Date:October 14th, 2005 11:56 am (UTC)
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Could anybody think that a movie starring any of the Wayans brothers be good? ESPECIALLY a fantasy movie? Hmmm? Kinda reminds me of John Travolta trying to play a Klingo....er...Psychlo. Either way, a disaster waiting to happen (which is always a good thing ^_^).

Matthew
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From:sacredspud
Date:October 14th, 2005 12:54 pm (UTC)
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John Travolta trying to play a Klingo....er...Psychlo

Is that what that was? Here I thought he was trying to play Rob Zombie.
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From:r3507
Date:October 14th, 2005 02:22 pm (UTC)
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No, but a movie about humanity being enslaved by a race of Rob Zombie would pretty much have to be better than Battlefied Earth.

I've actually seen that movie. I remember when the Onion started doing "Commentary Tracks of the Damned," it debuted not as a regular feature, but a big collection of pretty much every crappy movie released to DVD to date (the date being in 2002). "Battlefield Earth" and "Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows" were the only two movies I'd seen. And what did those two movies have in common?

They're the only two movies I saw because of Carolyn. And Book of Shadows in a first-run theater, no less.
[User Picture]
From:matt_william
Date:October 14th, 2005 04:54 pm (UTC)
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Oooo...a world controlled by thousands of Rob Zombies! Hard music, sweet animation, and weird ass movies.

...I think I could deal with that...

Matthew
[User Picture]
From:wyrdsatyr
Date:October 14th, 2005 06:30 pm (UTC)
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If I remember, the cast was the ONLY thing about that movie that I liked....

Irons, O'Brien the cast was beutiful

The effects, as pretty as they were, simply didn't impress me much, because as you said, they were not subtle enough to register as anything but effects.

the fact that modern street slang is included kinda shatters the entire fantsy setting for me, If however the dialogue was entirely authentic middle English, I doubt most of the audience would be able to follow it.
[User Picture]
From:sacredspud
Date:October 15th, 2005 03:36 am (UTC)
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If however the dialogue was entirely authentic middle English, I doubt most of the audience would be able to follow it.

Agreed. I think middle English would make for a great fantasy movie, but there's no way Hollywood would give it a big budget. Maybe if somebody put together a heavily marketable cast to do an adaptation of Beowulf, but otherwise probably not.
[User Picture]
From:theenigma42
Date:October 15th, 2005 08:19 am (UTC)
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Isn't it interesting how this post has 30+ responses, and it's just a review for a three-year-old movie that sucked a lot of honking donkey. They say that the internet is a place where people can get together and bitch about movies and share porn. So you've bitched, now where's my porn? Anyway, isn't flaming about a horrible movie fun.
-KEiTH
PS - Your ending would have put this movie instantly on my top ten list of movies that everyone should see. That's not true, but it could have been.
Probably a minority opinion here, but... - Garmonbozia for the soul.

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