Honor Among Thieves Review

Apr 07, 2023 by HL Bernabe, in Movies , RPGs
Guess what I did?

AAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUGGGGGGHHHHH! I went to see the movie with my kiddo and I have been fan-girl gushing all day.

Wait, sorry. Let me step back and put on my serious reviewer's face. Ahem. (You can't see it, but I'm still smiling.) Nope. Can't do it.

This movie was fun. Did it stick to DnD RAW? Hell, no. Who cares? Probably some rules-lawyer sort of player who I probably wouldn't want to play with, anyway. For me, DnD is about imagination. It's about making the impossible possible. This movie did just that. It made me believe, just for a moment, that magic was real. Toward the beginning, the choices they made with the cinematography lent it a campaign-like feel, as if I was in the movie—a participant in a DnD game.

I loved that the only real fighter in their party was a woman (Michelle Rodriguez), and that the main male character (Chris Pine) was basically their mouthpiece and cheerleader. Rodriguez's fight scenes were epic. She's a total badass. I want to have her babies, and I'm not even a lesbian.

The other characters were fun, too. Regé-Jean Page played a paladin character so straight-laced, I had to laugh. Hugh Grant plays smarmy so well. The rest of the cast was spot on and overall, I had nothing to quibble about with any of their acting. The sets and special effects mesmerized and have I mentioned the fun? I have, haven't I? The movie was fun!

Now, I'm going to talk some spoilery stuff, so if you don't want to know what happens, go watch the movie. That is my official recommendation for Honor Among Thieves. Go see it. If you don't want spoilers, don't read any farther.

While I adore Rodriguez, she was not my favorite character. My fave only had a minor role, despite his outsized appearance. Never in my wildest imaginations had it occurred to me there could ever be such an obese dragon. Themberchaud was such a shock, I nearly died laughing.

As for the plot of the movie, it hit all the points that action-adventure type movies hit, and tied it all together neatly, though I wonder what happened to the helmet. It disappeared, and they never addressed that. The story arc wasn't surprising, and I saw the end coming and the choice made long before the bard had to make it. I mean, it made sense for the story (sometimes being a writer is a curse—it's hard to turn off my writer-brain when I watch something). And despite me seeing it coming, it still made my eyes tear up because I'm that kind of sucker. Overall, the writers did well.

The one thing I noticed that was missing was that there never was a need for a healer at all (except at the end). I'm surprised there weren't any healing or "long resting" sort of scenes where the characters recharged, so to speak. Especially after retrieving the helmet. They had a short rest then (except for poor Simon, who kept getting the shit kicked out of him by the helmet he was trying to attune). They mentioned they had six hours, so not a long rest. But it would have been funny if, after the rest, they felt so much better. It would have been hilarious and on-brand.

They did a lot of role-reversal things, where they took the expected and switched them on their heads. Like the fighter being a woman, and the cheerleader being a man. The love interest of the barbarian is a halfling man half her size. And while the bard is the de facto leader and "planner", the other characters do an awful lot of planning and coming up with solutions themselves, especially the tiefling. The film felt very woman-centric and welcoming to a female audience. DnD is a game for everyone, not just boys. I've played TTRPGS for 25+ years, and I've seen the misogyny that sometimes poisons the gaming community. But it isn't here in this movie.

Another unexpected gift: they didn't shoehorn a romance between the bard and the barbarian. It was nice to see opposite-sex best friends who don't lust after each other, and they have long-term, loving relationships. It is possible, and I am thrilled they showed that.

A friend of my kiddo's pointed out something that I had to laugh about. There is a scene where the party is about to navigate a trap, and the paladin is trying to explain how to get through it. The party members look at him with glazed eyes and aren't getting it and it really seems like the paladin (aka the DM) is essentially explaining something to the characters (aka the players) and the players act like whiny butt-heads and then do something completely different. It made me wonder if the writers have had the same problem playing the game themselves.

That was the best thing about the movie, actually. It felt like the writers understood the source material, even if they didn't follow the "rules". They understood the hows and whys the game is played and have experienced the joy themselves. If they aren't avid gamers, it would surprise me. They did their homework very well, if that's the case. There were lots of little things in there that made this solidly a Dungeons and Dragons movie, and not just a fantasy movie that had dungeons and dragons in it.

Go see the movie. I mean it. You'll have a great time, too. Isn't that what DnD is supposed to be about? Immersing ourselves in another world and having a little fun?