October 13th, 2005
|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.
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: disgusted
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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....
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.
I know that is just sad to comment on an icon, but damn.
Not ever, but close. I also like your version better.
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?
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 ^_^).
John Travolta trying to play a Klingo....er...Psychlo
Is that what that was? Here I thought he was trying to play Rob Zombie.
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.
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.
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.
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.