Jenn and I recently watched the second Dungeons & Dragons movie. We didn’t see it when it came out because, let’s be honest, the first one was truly awful. Poor Jeremy Irons, how did they make him do that? But anyway, I was re-reading my copy of Cheers Gary and someone asked his opinion of the movie and he was generally favorable towards it. More importantly though, he ragged on the first one, enough that made me think that just maybe if Gary didn’t think the second was awful that it might not be so bad.
That was the general response I remember of it: it wasn’t as bad as the first. And honestly, that’s what I came away with too. That’s a pretty low bar, so let me be more specific. The FX are pretty bad, the overall production value is not great, and the actors are not fantastic. The script is mediocre, but as a D&D nerd, I can say at least they got the general feel correct. Specifically I rather liked how much they beat the crap out of the characters. Out of the five members of the party, only two made it back whole. With a permanent death and a limb loss, it did rather feel like one of my games.
Coincidentally, Audible recently recommended Critical Failures by Robert Brevan, and as I like to have something to listen to on my commute I picked it up. It’s really quite good. The humor can sometimes border on the puerile, but I think this is more a reflection on the characters he’s lampooning. They read just like tons of gamers I’ve met in the past, and it makes it that much easier to delight in their misfortune.
The trope of gamers getting magically sucked into the world they play in is well trodden, and ultimately I think Joel Rosenberg did it best in his Guardians of the Flame series, but I think Bevan provides a pretty fresh take on it. It’s a light book and sadly doesn’t really resolve, or not so sadly if you like it enough to purchase the numerous sequels and spin-offs there appear to be. Definitely worth a read.