14 November 2008

Review: Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God

As my reader(s) know, I occasionally review (ramble on about) an entertainment item I've found enjoyable. Well this time, my friends, I have to share something with you that's so horrible it's ... I mean to say that it ... well, in fact it's ...

It's bad, people.
Here, have a plot summary from Wikipedia:

"Due to a curse from his former master Profion, Damodar survived his death by Ridley Freeborn as an undead entity in pursuit of an evil artifact for some hundred years, one capable of unleashing unstoppable destruction on Izmir and the descendants of those who caused his demise. The movie opens as he finally gets his hands on the artifact after being lead by a magmin, a mysterious black orb also the power source of Faluzure (the black dragon god of destruction and decay), freeing himself from the undead curse after splitting a lake protected by a kraken and serving under Faluzure to completely ressurect the monster.

Soon, Izmir is alerted to the rising of this ancient evil. Berek, a fighter and former captain of the king's guard, now a bored and unsatisfied lord of the King, and Melora, his wife, a gifted young mage, identify Faluzure's eventual revival as poison towers erupt from the mountain that Falazure was sealed in. The King requests that Berek is to assemble a party of adventurers; a group small enough to travel to Damodar's lair undetected, but strong enough to face their enemies. Lux (a female barbarian played by Ellie Chidzey), Dorian (a male Cleric of Obad-Hai), Ormaline (a female elven wizard), and Nim (a rogue) join the former captain of the king's guard to elimate the threat of Faluzure reawakening."

Given that I'm a nerd, you'll realize that I've played D&D at some point in my past. If I had time, the Mrs. and I would likely be playing presently, but grad school > D&D. I did not come into this movie unaware.
It was a quiet Thursday evening, me watching a little SG-1 waiting for the wife to get home from her voice lesson. I stuck around for the movie we're discussing, knowing it would be bad. I was not disappointed, given my skewed criteria.
Friends, this movie is awful. It's so awful it's come out the other side to campy-good and then stumbled down to bad again. You know how Gandalf fell through Middle Earth when fighting the Balrog (keep the mental image of the Balrog, please. I'll be using it in a moment), and became Gandalf the White? Pretend he kept falling and became "Gandalf the Grey with a bad Drug Habit", and you have the general gist of this cinematic mistake. Alan Smithee was too embarrassed to take credit for the direction of this celluloid.
Continuity was an afterthought, and the pacing was miserable: we're riding now we're leading the horses now we're walking again. This might have meant to convey a distance of travel, but the light never changed, and it sure looked like the same city for most of the shots. I mean, if you take off out of the king's courtyard at a gallop, you're going to hop off and walk as soon as you're out of his sight? Finest heroes in the land my ass. And then suddenly we're there!
You know it's bad when I'm discussing things like continuity and pacing. I'm very forgiving with stuff like that. The final dragon attack felt completely tacked on to the end of the entire debacle. This movie was SO BAD that I couldn't even play MST3k with it because the crap was piling up so fast I never had time to think of a good zinger, because my brain was busy trying to figure out the next bit of 'what?'. This would be a good movie to use for interrogations/brainwashing. The victim would be so befuddled by the time the credits oozed by that he'd either give you the launch codes or tell you his mother was a lich.
Back to the Balrog, that achievement of digital wizardry. Want to know what a Balrog's mutant-inbred-retard 3rd cousin/uncle looks like? Check out the "magmen" in this movie. Sounds like they ought to be selling flashlights rather than being fire/earth elementals. Think dancing baby meets Balrog, rendered on a Commodore 64.
They didn't even get the eye candy right in this movie. The 3 females with prominent roles had costumes that left all the wrong things to the imagination. Given the target demographic for this movie, one would think that one would have costumes for the women that didn't just show leg, but displayed it. Same with other, uhm, matters of the figure. You can't even argue that the actresses had some sort of ethical or moral quandary against such costumery - by acting in this movie, their ethics, morals, and taste are no longer matters for discussion.

"No, Maury, I will NOT wear the chain mail bikini for this movie. I left all that behind when I left the Honey Bear Lounge. I'm a legit actress now!"

haha. hahaha. I made myself smile.
Friends, I don't feel I wasted 2 hours last night. I feel that I sacrificed 2 hours of my life to warn you away from this film. It's not Star Trek V bad (at least they had pacing and continuity - after all, what DOES God need with a Starship?), it's certainly not Rocky Horror Picture Show bad (RHPS could have taught D&D a thing or 3,000 about costumery). I wanted a staff of writers a la MST3k to tackle this film, because it's that bad. It's so bad it'd be an MST3k 2-parter because they'd have to stop the movie to get it all in, and then come back next week to tackle it all.
It's a movie for, if I may, lying down and avoiding.
Good luck if you watch, just be prepared to roll for damage - brain damage. (you didn't think you were getting out of this without a lame dice-rolling analogy, did you?)

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