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Today’s Prayer Focus
MOVIE REVIEW

Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

also known as “Honour Among Thieves,” “Calabozos & Dragones: Honor Entre Ladrones,” “Calabozos Y Dragones: Honor entre ladrones,” “D&D: Honor Among Thieves,” “Donjons & Dragons: L'Honneur des voleurs,” “Dungeons & Dragons - L'onore dei ladri,” See more »
MPA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPA) for fantasy action/violence and some language.

Reviewed by: Pamela Karpelenia
CONTRIBUTOR

Extremely Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
• Adults • Young-Adults • Mature Teens
Genre:
Fantasy Action Adventure Adaptation IMAX
Length:
2 hr. 14 min.
Year of Release:
2023
USA Release:
March 31, 2023 (wide release)
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Relevant Issues

This movie is based on a Hasbro open-ended role-playing game normally played indoors with participants seated around a tabletop. By 2004, Dungeons and Dragons was the best-known and best-selling role-playing game in the US, with an estimated millions of players and more than $1-billion in related sales worldwide. By 2017 and 2018 players and sales soared far higher. The Dungeon Master establishes the fictional world’s nature and campaign setting. Players create their character’s traits—race (species), moral and ethical outlook, occupation, abilities, strength, dexterity, constitution, intelligence, wisdom, charisma, etc.

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Greed

Thieves in the Bible: theft, robbery, the two thieves

About murder

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DRAGON LEGENDS AND DINOSAURS—discover how they are connected

About DRAGONS in the Bible

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About magic and magicians mentioned in the Bible

Enchantments

Druids

Necromancy

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Bows and arrows

The ancient skill of slinging stones at enemies—What is a SLING? and how was it used? Answer

Swords

Helmets, Armor and Shields

Battles

Betrayal

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Featuring Chris PineEdgin
Michelle RodriguezHolga
Regé-Jean PageXenk
Justice SmithSimon
Sophia LillisDoric
Hugh GrantForge
Chloe ColemanKira
Daisy HeadSofina
See all »
Director John Francis Daley
Jonathan Goldstein
Producer Paramount Pictures
Entertainment One [Canada]
See all »
Distributor Distributor: Paramount Pictures Corporation. Trademark logo.Paramount Pictures Corporation, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS

“Your quest begins now.”

“Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” is based on a fantasy role-playing game. Players typically get together with a Dungeon Master (DM) who is the lead storyteller and the players go on a campaign in order to complete a special quest.

The film opens with our protagonist Elgin Darvis (Chris Pine) and a barbarian named Holga Kilgore (Michelle Rodriguez), locked in a prison cell serving a sentence for theft.

We soon find our “heroes” before a pardon council pleading for early release. We then learn how they ended up in such a dire predicament. Before imprisonment, Elgin was a member of a group known as the Harpers, a type of law enforcement troop. He is married and has a daughter. On a peacekeeping mission, Elgin steals precious treasure and that one selfish act leads to the murder of his wife, and raising his daughter without her.

Elgin continued a life of thievery with his daughter (Chloe Coleman) and his band of thieves (Justice Smith—a sorcerer, and Hugh Grant—a rogue and con artist) in tow. He then gets an offer of a job that promises the opportunity to bring his wife back from the dead.

The mission is a failure, and Elgin is separated from his daughter, and upon his escape he vows to get her back. This is the start of an over 2 hour fantasy adventure with wizards, elves, spells and magic.

Q & A

About magic and magicians mentioned in the Bible

Enchantments

What does the Bible say about sorcery?

Chris Pine is the leading man and carries the film. I was unfamiliar with some of the supporting cast, but Chris Pine brought the best out of his co-stars, which made an enjoyable overall ensemble cast. Hugh Grant’a character (Forge Fitzwilliam) does well as the secondary antagonist. The remaining cast are noteworthy, especially Regé-Jean Page who plays Xenk Yendar (a paladin spellcaster) and secondary protagonist and Sophia Lillis who plays Doric, a druid. The plot is balanced, even if viewers are not familiar with D&D or anything related to the source material. This film is very watchable. The cinematography is brilliant with epic looking action/fight scenes.

Because the film is long, each character has a satisfying arch. Each have individual struggles that are presented and resolved in a gratifying way. It’s complete story.

Content of Concern

The primary antagonist is the Red Wizard Sofina (Daisy Head). She is essentially a witch who uses blood magic, dark powers, insidious spells and especially necromancy. This is concerning material that is central to the Red Wizard’s character and entire demeanor. The film deals with a plan to resurrect the dead with spell and a relic. There are spells and magic, talking to the dead, hope of bringing someone back from the dead. Dark imagery is present throughout this overall dark film.

Q & A

Attempting to communicate with the dead (necromancy)—actually communication with demons.

Learn about spiritual darkness versus spiritual light

About witches in the Bible

Witchcraft

Enchantments

About Wicca and Modern Paganism

There is also swearing, and it adds nothing to the plot, and actually comes off forced. There is stealing, lying, drinking and gambling.

Modern witchcraft

There has been a dramatic increase in the number of people in the U.S. who self-identify as witches (Wicca or neo-Pagan) since 1990, according to reported studies by Trinity College (Connecticut), The American Religious Identification Survey and The Pew Research Center.

Examples of common modern Wicca beliefs that are in opposition to God’s revealed Word (see partial list)

Every notion of a high power in this film comes back to spells, magic and the power of self. We as Christians are warned to stay away from such things…

“Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God” —Leviticus 19:31 NASB

“…sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” —Revelation 21:8 NASB excerpt

We are called to avoid all these things, because they are not of God. Our current culture is saturated with ungodly themes and anti Christianity ideation. Standing firm against such themes is essential and crucial to in our Christian walk.

As for a recommendation, I’m familiar with the D&D lore, and can discern the fantasy storytelling laced throughout the script. That being said, the film does have dark and ominous themes. These should cause pause in Christians considering viewing this movie.

  • Occult: Extreme
  • Violence: Very Heavy— • prisoner breaks a man’s knees and apparently his neck • stabbing • firey arrows shot a people • crashing through a window • executioner prepares to behead a woman and man • hitting people with stones or using magic zaps • crashing people hard on the floor from the ceiling • gouging a man’s eyes with fingers • monster owl-bear attacks people • violence with various weapons • many people sliced and one apparently decapitated • large battle involving a dragon and major destruction • dragon eats several people • fighting with swords and arrows • arrow pierces through a person’s head • attack with deadly gas, killing many • more slicing • battles with undead assassins • bridge collapse with dangling person • dragon stabbed in head • attack by monster tentacles • group chased by monsters in a huge maze • tongue hacked off • fireballs exploding on a city • and more
  • Wokeism: Heavy
  • Vulgar/Crude language: Moderately Heavy — • S-words (5+) • Pr*ck (2) • B*llocks (1) • Son of a b*tch (2) • B*stards (3) • Bloody

    Slang definition: Bloody

    X
  • Profane language: Moderate— • Oh G*d (2) • D*mn (5) • H*ll (1)
  • Drugs/Alcohol: Moderate— drinking and instance of drunkenness
  • Sex: Moderate— • Marital kiss • Man attempts to take advantage of a woman sexually (very brief) • Innuendo (light) • suggestive remarks
  • Nudity: Minor— cleavage (repeated) and a man bathing (not graphic)

Learn about DISCERNMENT—wisdom in making personal entertainment decisions

cinema tickets. ©  Alexey SmirnovEvery time you buy a movie ticket or buy or rent a video you are in effect casting a vote telling Hollywood, “I’ll pay for that. That’s what I want.” Read our article

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—I watched this movie with my sister who wanted to see it because the previews reminded her of Lord of the Rings. It does feel a bit like Tolkien’s work. There are elves and halflings and they go on a quest. It was also fun to watch because it kept the suspense throughout. I did not understand everything because I am unfamiliar with the game this is based upon, but it wasn’t so much that I couldn’t follow the plot.

The good thing is it focuses on the need for family, desire for one’s dad, wife, and those that have become like family to us. The troublesome things are the Robin Hood style thievery, swearing, and fantasy magic that can be pretty evil. One of the spells kills mass groups of people and the heroes use a spell to talk to skeletons. There is also a scene where male relatives magically hit each other.

Overall, I did enjoy some of it and will probably check out the DVD from the library to rewatch a number of scenes.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Elizabeth, age 31 (USA)

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Secular Movie Critics
…Honor Among Thieves is a useful reminder of something that’s been forgotten in the age of dense film universes and ultra-violent action films: Light-hearted adventure movies like “The Princess Bride” remain the perfect vehicle for humor, romance, fights and special effects. When done properly, as Dungeons & Dragons is, they give audiences a full-bodied experience that’s hard not to like. …
Johnny Oleksinski, New York Post
…Revelling in its own ridiculousness but finding an emotional core too, this is a wildly entertaining high-fantasy-meets-low comedy. It will leave you prancing your way out of the cinema, lute or no. …
Helen O'Hara, Empire [UK]
…Boasts charisma but lacks wisdom and dexterity… The spectacle is impressive at times, with better CG than most peers in its class. It works best as a romp and a primer for kids with parents itching to open their minds to D&D play. In terms of its cinematic impact, though, there’s too much that’s too familiar, which makes it slight and forgettable. …
Tara Bennett, Paste
…The film sands down everything that made DnD a massive success in the first place. …The overreliance on wisecracks and employing, and then mocking, clichés make it seem as if “Honor Among Thieves” is outright embarrassed by its source material and wants you to know it. …[1½/4]
Paul Attard, Slant Magazine
…It’s at once cheesy and charming, synthetic and spectacular, cozily derivative and rambunctiously inventive, a processed piece of junk-culture joy that, by the end, may bring a tear to your eye. …
Owen Gleiberman, Variety
…Undermined by Post-Marvel humor and Raimi regurgitations… If nothing else, “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” made me relieved that Peter Jackson got to make his Lord of the Rings trilogy long before the Marvel era, when seemingly all franchises have to slyly poke fun at themselves in order to be greenlit. …often poking fun at the inherent ridiculousness but without the punchlines to make any knowing sense of humor land. …
Alistair Ryder, The Film Stage
…boasts charisma and dexterity but lacks true magic… The film’s affable nature and the sheer charisma oozing off Pine and Grant is intoxicating, but overall, there’s a sense that it doesn’t quite gel, the engine revving but never hitting the speed of which it seems capable. …
Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service
…It’s not high art and not much for big thrills. But there’s no sense fighting how light and fun this is if you give yourself over to it. …[2½/4]
Roger Moore, Movie Nation
…The screenplay…tries to evoke the feeling that “D&D: HAT” is being written on the fly as the movie unfolds. While their attempt is valiant, it takes away from the task of creating a world that we’ll want to revisit or see again…
Odie Henderson, The Boston Globe
…a clever and often hilarious action adventure that overcomes pacing issues with well-crafted characters and a host of wondrous creatures both stunning and icky. …
Brian Truitt, USA Today