Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Pointlessness of a D&D Movie

The antithesis of weal
I realize, of course, that there's already been a Dungeons & Dragons movie -- two of them, in fact -- but I still myself wondering what the logic was behind the making of these films. How can you make a film of Dungeons & Dragons? It's a question I asked myself back in the days of the D&D cartoon too. What does D&D offer that can be transferred to the big (or small) screen? The obvious answer is that it has lots of stuff, which is to say, monsters, spells, magic items, and even terminology that can then be dropped into a script willy-nilly to give it some nebulous D&D "flavor." But is the presence of a wizard casting a "magic missile" against a "beholder" enough to turn a fantasy film into a "D&D movie?"

Speaking for myself, the answer is an emphatic no, but, clearly, someone somewhere thought otherwise, or else we wouldn't have these awful movies bearing the Dungeons & Dragons name. For them, the name is what's important, because it's a very recognizable one. Nearly everyone has heard of Dungeons & Dragons and has a vague sense that it's "some fantasy game," so having that name attached to your fantasy film theoretically gives it a leg up on its competition. (It'd help if the films bearing this name were actually any good, but that's a different matter entirely) Even so, I find myself wondering: how can you turn D&D into a film? I could understood a movie made about, say, Elminster or Drizzt or the Dragonlance novels or even one set in Eberron, but Dungeons & Dragons in a "generic" sense? What does that even mean?

I remember that, when Pixar made the first Toy Story movie, they approached Mattel about including Barbie in it, so that they could have a recognizable female toy as a character in the film. Mattel declined, because, in the words of producer Ralph Guggenheim
"They philosophically felt girls who play with Barbie dolls are projecting their personalities onto the doll," says Guggenheim "If you give the doll a voice and animate it, you're creating a persona for it that might not be every little girl's dream and desire."
Strangely enough, I feel the same way about D&D. There are no characters or stories inherent to Dungeons & Dragons except the ones you and your friends create at your game table. Unless you reduce the game either to its basic concepts or to a brand, there's nothing there on which to hang a film or a TV show, so why bother? I know the answer, but it annoys me nonetheless.

79 comments:

  1. I've always felt that any D&D move should have been based off of one of the novels - The Crystal Shard, love it or hate it, would be an ideal candidate. The movies they did do were pretty terrible, and this comes from someone who will watch a lot of stuff on SyFy.

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  2. I'm actually stunned at the intelligence of Mattel's answer. A big game/toy company that actually has an understanding of their brand? Sounds like something from a fantasy world.

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  3. > There are no characters or stories inherent to Dungeons & Dragons except the ones you and your friends create at your game table.

    Oh... so that's a "no" to a D&D movie realistically depicting/reliving character adventures from 1972/3 LG games, then, despite everyone crying out for "Castle Greyhawk" for the last few decades? ;p

    That /would/ be kinda "back to (brand) basics", no? :)

    (somehow I think the chance of that is about as low as there being an "good" D&D movie, heh. *jk* Live in hope...)

    verification: tipsy

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  4. There's a lot of potential to make a great D&D movie, it just depends on the people who're making it. If you have a hack director like Cortney Solomon who never directed anything in his life, chances are you going to end up with a turkey.

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  5. Season of the Witch was the best D&D yet! And it did that mainly by not trying to be a D&D movie.

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  6. There's a lot of potential to make a great D&D movie, it just depends on the people who're making it.

    But what would make it a "D&D movie" as opposed to just a fantasy movie?

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  7. Apparently Barbie's in Toy Story 3.

    One way to make a D&D movie would be to do a movie based on the story of Baldur's Gate game, or maybe Planescape:Torment.

    Would it be any good? Probably not. But the games involve a set of fixed characters which the many past players would recognize, along with the assorted spells, races, monsters, and settings.

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  8. Apparently Barbie's in Toy Story 3.

    And Toy Story 2. Mattel's principles eventually gave way to the prospect of being associated with a hit film.

    One way to make a D&D movie would be to do a movie based on the story of Baldur's Gate game, or maybe Planescape:Torment.

    But do either of those properties scream D&D? I guess what I'm asking is "Does D&D have anything that differentiates it from generic fantasy as far as making a film goes?" I don't think it does, unless you stretch "D&D" to mean its various settings.

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  9. It could be done. You'd need someone in charge who cares, and a good script, and a (decent but not huge) budget.

    You could emphasize monsters that are only found in the game (for example, as you say, a beholder). Set it in one of the well-known campaign worlds (probably Forgotten Realms, because it's most well-known across the fan base and pretty accessible.) Base the story around an adventuring party with well-written characters in an ensemble cast.

    Actually, thinking about it, this seems ripe for a Joss Whedon project. It plays to many of his strengths. A Peter Jackson style adaptation would be too serious. But the Whedonesque tone would be about right for D&D.

    It's a movie so it wouldn't capture the essential nature of roleplaying, but it could make some money, get good reviews, AND inspire people to check out the game, which would be a success in my view.

    I do think the name "D&D" has been ghettoized enough that you might want to underplay it in the title and marketing. And of course, Hasbro would want tie-ins to feature the current edition of the game, which isn't going to make the Grognards too happy.

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  10. But you'll be glad, surely, James, at the way the first D&D movie trashed the Thief character class! At the last, with the bad guy's back turned and in possession of a powerful magic sword, the thief in that story ... declined a backstab in favour of yelling to get attention and launching a full frontal assault.

    So the D&D movie was pretty far from any concept of D&D that we may know. Which makes me think - a movie where thieves backstabbed, wizards shepherded their daily spell resources, clerics turned undead (and wore heavy armour) and henchmen probed for traps with 10' poles... would be a D&D movie, even if it weren't called such.

    The bigger question buried inside the D&D movies is: how come hollywood can make good dinosaurs, but absolutely cannot make good dragons?

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  11. Actually, thinking about it, this seems ripe for a Joss Whedon project.

    Now you're frightening me. Stop that.

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  12. It seems that the case of a D&D adaptation is quite similar to the case of transferring Watchmen to big screen. From my point of view it's pointless, since D&D, just like Moore's magnum opus is designed specifically to work with and within it's medium. It is perhaps most obvious when we look at the Watchmen movie, it's shortcomings are quite obvious and it seems that the story has lost many (rather than gained) of it's dimensions.

    On the other hand I do believe it's possible to make an interesting move about D&D rather than trying to mindlessly transpose it into a fantasy flick. I always imagined that a good movie about D&D would portray both the players and the world withing the game, one commenting on each other.

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  13. Which makes me think - a movie where thieves backstabbed, wizards shepherded their daily spell resources, clerics turned undead (and wore heavy armour) and henchmen probed for traps with 10' poles... would be a D&D movie, even if it weren't called such.

    I don't think so, but that's because that'd just be another reduction of D&D into its "stuff," albeit a different set of stuff than what we usually get.

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  14. There is, in fact, a gigantic lineup of cheaply-made CGI Barbie movies now. Whatever scruples they had about it, they reconsidered. I don't think the movies impacted kids' play with the Barbies at all, so their concern was way overblown. The movies ended up being a vehicle to move more "specialized" Barbies (fairy barbies, mermaid barbies, etc)

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  15. I always imagined that a good movie about D&D would portray both the players and the world withing the game, one commenting on each other.

    Now that's potentially interesting -- kinda like Quag Keep but with some focus on the players behind the characters.

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  16. Whatever scruples they had about it, they reconsidered.

    Mammon isn't just the ruler of the third layer of Hell, after all.

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  17. I read a really good novel in the 1980s, I'm sure it was called The Twilight Realm, in which players enter their own imaginary world to save it. They're all misfits in the real world. It has a great werewolf-monastery scene. It would make an excellent movie about RPGs.

    James, I don't think you can make a D&D movie that isn't just a depiction of its stuff. You just need to make enough "stuff" that people get what you're on about, like a nod to the game. More than that, i can't imagine ...

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  18. I was under the impression that the second movie was ok.

    There were party deaths, random encounters, dungeons, traps, puzzles, wizards doing research, etc.

    I enjoyed it (as opposed to my feelings about the silly first film.)

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  19. "Does D&D have anything that differentiates it from generic fantasy as far as making a film goes?" I don't think it does, unless you stretch "D&D" to mean its various settings.

    This.

    I remember when I first heard that Gary was working on a D&D movie out here in Los Angeles back in the mid-80's, and even back then, my assumption was that it was going to be a Greyhawk or Dragonlance movie (Forgotten Realms was still too new, having only appeared in a few articles in The Dragon).

    And then the cartoon came out, and I thought to myself, "This isn't Dungeons & Dragons! This is Scooby Doo with fantasy characters!" I was very disappointed.

    That's when I realized that it seemed as if there were no gamers involved in that cartoon, and we were unlikely to ever get a D&D movie that was anything like what I'd imagined.

    I say forget the brand name and just make a "Forgotten Realms" or "Dragonlance" movie. There are some decent popcorn adventure movies that could be made from those, and as long as they have some decent acting and directing, they'd be infinitely more entertaining that the horrible Dungeons & Dragons movies.

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  21. "I always imagined that a good movie about D&D would portray both the players and the world withing the game, one commenting on each other."

    I SAW a movie like that just a few months ago. It was more of a comedy though - really a parody, but an affectionate one.

    Darned if I can remember the name of it.

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  22. The Gamers - that was the movie I'm thinking about. I recommend it if you can still laugh at yourself as a role player.

    Maybe a more serious version that explored the relationship between a group of gamers and their characters could be cool? But without sliding into Mazes and Monsters "jump off a building because you think you really can fly" territory.

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  23. "But what would make it a "D&D movie" as opposed to just a fantasy movie?"

    Kind of a broad questions and one that can't be easy answered, but for starters I would of looked at all the material and tried to come up with a great screenplay out of it.

    Just from the top of my head as I'm not a screenwriter, but I think something of an origins story would of been better then the thing the finally settled on. Maybe the lead character beings his life in Homlit and travels, later going on his first adventure with his fellow adventures that he met in the city of Greyhawk and by the end of the film he's in a showdown facing the arch villain in the Tomb of Horrors. Is any of this a story or a screenplay? no, its just a couple of ideas, not even a treatment or a logline, but I bet they might of had a chance of making a better film then what I thought up in the last few minutes then the crap they decided on.

    But like said before,it ALL depends on the people making it.

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  24. The D&D cartoon wasn't that bad, I think.

    At least it has a bit of that real world people (well, cartoons anyway) playing D&D roles. Plus, it harkens back to the whole John Carter earthmen transported to another world thing, too, so that should count for something, right?

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  25. I believe the "real" D&D movie is due to hit theaters on April 8th:

    Your Highness

    Now that's a D&D game!

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  26. An actual D&D movie would be this:
    A group of adventurers arrives at the mouth of a dungeon. They enter and explore rooms, get around traps, fight monsters, run away from monsters, find gold and treasure, and Black Dougal dies from poison. Then they fight two or three dragons at the end, after which only the fighter and the thief are still alive. The thief backstabs the fighter, grabs (some of/the best of) the treasure and books it. The end.

    Alternate ending: Thief dies before leaving the dungeon, either by traps or the wizard, presumed dead, ambushes him and leaves with the loot.

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  27. Please! No more 'D&D' movies! Not even with Jeremy Irons! :-)

    @faustusnotes:
    That would be the Twilight Realm by Christopher Carpenter(1986). In the book, a group of college age kids, who coincidentally played a game similar to D&D: Axes and Enchanters(a homebrew game devised by one of the main characters; it's explicitly mentioned that the characters had tried all of the current RPGs on the market, but didn't really care for them.), are transported to another world(and transformed into other guises that reflected their strengths and weaknesses of character). The protagonists aren't 'misfits', they're 'normal'(a variety thereof, actually) British people who allowed their their (typical)inner fears and desires to rise to the surface. The interplay between the band of friends and the denizens of the fantasy world was entertaining, but the contrast between their behavior and their own self images(basically PC vs. NPC!) was an interesting undercurrent to the novel, which had an intriguing 'dark' fantasy world, with strange creatures, magic and a fairly devious antagonist. This book is one of my favorite works of fiction(fantasy or otherwise)! I read it several times in high school and beyond. I finally tracked down a copy of the Berkley Pub Group book a couple of years ago. Interestingly, there are ads for Fighting Fantasy in the back!

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  28. Somehow the film would need to be *live* like a cinema broadcast of an opera production staged in a single location or it should have multiple endings, say twelve, which were absolutely randomly determined for each showing.

    One might consider the real death of a young actor or two may (or may not) add some curiosity to the affair.

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  29. Someone, recently, managed to write a half hour TV show with a D&D/AD&D theme.

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  30. If you are interested in an example of how the "players playing the game and characters in the game thing" should not be done, I suggest Skullduggery (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0066384/)

    Horrifying. Truly.

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  31. I'll agree that 'The Gamers' is the closest we've come to a (Grognard) D&D movie. I think the question is not which characters or books to represent, but which modules? Making a faithful adaption of Keep on the Borderlands, with henchmen, random fights, ignominious deaths, etc, could result in some of the magic of OD&D finally making it to the screen without overuse of CGI or big name Stars. As for characters, people seem to forget that D&D characters are nameless schmucks at first but only grow 'real' to us after they've survived a few adventures. A series of D&D movies using the original modules and following this template might do the trick.

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  32. Addendum: Start the KotB movie with a prelude TPK just to get in the spirit. Grognards will dig it, while newbies will be blown away. 'What, they all DIED??'

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  33. They made a cartoon movie of Dragons of Autumn Twilight from Dragonlance a couple years ago. It was terrible.

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  34. Actually, there is going to be a 3rd D&D movie, called The Book of Vile Darkness. WoTc recently had a contest where you would send in a write-up of a villain that would be featured in the movie. The winner of the contest gets to play said villain. Already this stinks worse than a basket of tuna set out under a hot August sun.

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  35. I watched "The Gamers" a few years back. It's a low budget comedy that switches back and forth between the gamers and their characters. I believe there is a newer director's cut, and maybe a sequel.

    I thought it was hilarious, and a perfect representation of some of the insane things we actually do while gaming. I thought the thief constantly rethinking and revising his tavern "backstab" attempt, ending up with a ballista "backstab" was priceless.

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  36. What's hilarious is I'll bet no one here saw the Community episode a couple weeks ago.

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  37. I actually bought the Curse of the Dragon King or whatever it is. It was $5 and there's a featuer with Gary on it, and I'm a sucker for the old guy.

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  38. "Someone, recently, managed to write a half hour TV show with a D&D/AD&D theme."

    That would be The Community. But that was not the first D&D-themed show. The game - even with the serial numbers filed off - has been seen in shows like Freaks & Geeks, Futurama (Bender's Game), Dexter's Laboratory, Recess (it was played like a card game, but still), The Sarah Silverman Show, ReBoot (sorta), Buffy, and possibly The Big Bang Theory (if not, I'll be really shocked).

    By the way, the first RPG-themed movie was Cloak & Dagger (1984), and that was based on an espionage-themed RPG (now what game could that be?).

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  39. Generally agree with James. Really like Tedankhamen's idea(s). Really horrified if Greg's not joking.

    While the D&D Cartoon was weak in terms of setting, the D&D brand probably does work better in an episodic series format (in the sense of a picaresque; semi-related adventures that give a ragged sense of development). A one-off movie, not so much.

    If someone was hell-bent on producing D&D movies as a brand, my recommendation would (like others) be to pick iconic/famous adventures or campaigns. "D&D: Against the Giants" and whatnot (compare to "Chronicles of Narnia" series, etc.)

    The other problem is that there's simply no mass-market U.S. media that allows you to be as capriciously violent as D&D really is. See here: "The dismal future of 'R'-rated fantasy and sci-fi movies".

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  40. I've gotta say that Hawk the Slayer feels pretty much like D&D. It even has an Elf and a Dwarf. Still, I think for the most part you're correct, James.

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  41. Some random thoughts.

    There are a lot of inherent assumptions in D&D that make it decidedly ungeneric IMHO. There is a lot of fluff that is most definitely associated with the game on it's broadest level.

    What differentiates one fantasy story from the next, but the details?

    Has D&D never been captured in any storytelling medium? Do you recognize no novel, short story, or comic as being a D&D story?

    Personally I would say that a D&D movie or cartoon is certainly possible, in fact it has already been done, it's just called Record of Lodoss War.

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  42. I said something similar when I heard a D&D movie was being made. My friends were excited; I pointed out that the only difference between a "D&D movie" and "a Fantasy movie" is that the former had to blow more of its budget on licensing.

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  43. I can see where you're coming from but think there is a lot of potential value in a D&D movie. The various novels have a lot of dogs in them but there are some winners in them as well. To not use the backlog of great material they have to tell stories in as many formats as they can, seems to be nothing but a hamstring to the corporation and in ways, to the fans. They just need to start actually trying to make movies from the books. Some of the comics they did for example, were excellent.

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  44. I always imagined that a good movie about D&D would portray both the players and the world withing the game, one commenting on each other.

    Now that's potentially interesting -- kinda like Quag Keep but with some focus on the players behind the characters.

    That movie has been made, and the full title is The Gamers: Dorkness Rising and it's the best D&D movie I've ever seen. A word of caution, though. There are multiple movies called The Gamers or Gamers. One is an earlier version of The Gamers: Dorkness Rising, which I have not seen; another is a horrible movie with John Heard that strives to be a dark comedy and projects a decidedly contemptuous portrayal of gaming; still another is a British movie I haven't seen. The Gamers: Dorkness Rising, however, is both self-deprecating and empowering, not to mention full of adventure, gaming references, and decent special effects. It is far better than the official efforts (although even those can be moderately entertaining with popcorn and a Mystery Science Theater 3000 attitude).

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  45. @Malcadon:

    Two other shows had great episodes with a strong D&D presence: The IT Crowd (series 4), and Wizards of Waverly Place (wherein we learn that D&D is by far the favorite pastime of supermodels).

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  46. Well a good movie about D&D would probably go back and examine the basic tropes of the game, rather than trying to fit a plot to the games. Such as the existence of dungeons. The fact that adventurers form up in small teams of highly egotistical individuals to go down into the dungeon and slay things, loot their victims and furnishings, and then return to the tavern.

    Hmmmm. Now you have me nostalgic for a live action Order of the Stick: The Movie...

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  47. I've gotta say that Hawk the Slayer feels pretty much like D&D. It even has an Elf and a Dwarf.
    Indeed. I believe that Krull was originally entitled Dungeons & Dragons too. And there was a Beholder in Big Trouble in Little China.

    Two other shows had great episodes with a strong D&D presence: The IT Crowd
    Oh yes. A very good episode that.

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  48. Personally, if I were to write a D&D script, I'd focus on these things:

    No big 'save the world' plot.

    No 'revenge' plot (although a subplot might involve revenge).

    No 'hero's journey' plot.

    Those three stances alone mean it would not be made by Hollywood (or they'd hire someone to come in after I was done and add all of those back in).

    Instead, I'd take the basic plot structure of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and add in a dash of a heist movie's planning by the unscrupulous protagonists as to how they're going to tackle the dungeon, face the Nazis...I mean orcs, and get whatever magical artifact or gleaming treasure they're after away from the dragon.

    It still might not be any good, but at least it would feel more like D&D to me.

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  49. i think a D&D movie would be like that:a fantasy movie with d&d "name elements". its like watching a game from another gaming group, i think. if they "play well", it could be very nice

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  50. Others have pointed to iconic D&D stuff (beholders, 10' poles etc) and play style (anti-heroic, for the most part, like a heist but not as smart). There's also the intervention of the random, which most movies scripts avoid like the plague. That moment in Pulp Fiction where the gun goes off accidentally in the back of the car convinced me that Tarantino was a gamer.

    But putting the gamers in the game... I smell cheese. The best implementation of that I've seen was the Olympus bit in original either Clash of the Titans or Jason and the Argonauts (sorry, senior moment), where a god crushes one of the clay figures that represent the mortals they manipulate, and turns him into a monster.

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  51. I think an animated D&D TV show would not only be fairly easy to make it would get decent ratings and would be a great place to promote past and future releases of the game.

    If you simply take a band of adventures going through the "Against the Giants" modules you basically have a 12 episode TV series right there. After that you could do "Descent into the Depths" for season 2.

    The TV show could be used to promote upcoming game releases as well. I also believe that now that we have "The HUB" a D&D TV series is right around the corner. If it's not, I think Hasbro is missing a golden opportunity to promote it's fledgling edition. 4E is built to simulate cinematic scenes. All they have to do is animate some of their existing or future modules and schedule them on their own network.

    As much as I dislike 4E I have to admit I would watch "D&D The Series: Season One: Against The Giants!"

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  52. "I realize, of course, that there's already been a Dungeons & Dragons movie -- two of them, in fact"

    And yet in another sense, there haven't been any.

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  53. Maybe they could do a TV show like Survivor, where the audience votes on which character will die next.

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  54. "I still myself wondering what the logic was behind the making of these films."

    To make money. Period.

    Whether it was just rake in some cash from the licensing fee or to act as buzz/advertisement for the franchise, its all about money at that level.

    Its that simple.

    I'm also onboard with the notion that a "D&D" movie should really be a Forgotten Realms or DragonLance movie, despite my general dislike for those settings. Otherwise we're left rehashing the same old crapola about "what is D&D anyway".

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  55. or you can have a michael bay eberron.
    or a tim burton planescape

    :D

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  56. Making a D&D movie never made sense to me either. (On the other hand, I might’ve said the same thing about adapting the Pirates of the Caribbean ride to film. ^_^) If it is going to be done, though, it really needs to be an ensemble piece about a party working together and needs to feature exploration.

    Then again, what is the D&D brand today? It no longer refers to any of the games I play. So, when something new comes out with the D&D name, I tend to pass it over instead of checking it out.

    Now a Labyrinth Lord, OSRIC, or Swords & Wizardry movie might get my attention. ^_^ Not that I’d still have any hope of it being good.

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  57. I tend to agree with Johnstone and Lord Gwydion.

    To me, a proper D&D movie would be about a dungeon crawl, with all the thrills, chills, and "screw you's" from the DM that that entails. (If I was gonna hash out my dream D&D flick, I wouldn't do the meta thing of showing players and a DM, but there would be a sense of a malign intelligence pulling the levers behind the scenes.)

    It doesn't need to be about whatever TSR/WotC IP is in vogue at the moment. In fact, if it started out with some "blah blah blah" crawl about Forgotten Realms or Eberron or even Greyhawk my eyes would start glazing over.

    Spare me the epic, fantasy-shmantasy, "A long time ago in a faraway kingdom..." crap. Who gives a flying flumph what dark lord is threatening what peaceful kingdom? Pit some likeable, archytypical dungeon delvers against a cleverly contstructed dungeon, some suitably horracious monsters, and each other if you want plot twists, and you'll have yourself a very entertaining movie in the spirit of D&D, in my opinion.

    P.S. And don't put anybody in blue lipstick, especially not the guy who's supposed to be the big tough meanie.

    P.P.S. Jeremy Irons chewed more scenery than a xorn in that movie. I tell ya...

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  58. Jeremy Irons is actually a very good actor an is not the central problem with the film. It's the people involved in the decisions making, namely the director who could of said " I want the MUA to wipe the f*$%*%g pink lipstick before we roll!", but he didn't and now that irreversible error is imprinted on celluloid forever.

    But I will give credit to Solomon for one thing and that is going out and raising money to make move: It's incredibly hard to do.

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  59. Two things:

    First, "Barbie and the Three Musketeers" and "Barbie: The Princess and the Pauper" are actually, surprisingly, decent children's movies. (The latter is also a pretty good musical.) So not all Barbie movies can be tarred with the same feathers as the really horrible ones.

    Second, I agree with Lord Gwydion that a heist movie structure would actually be perfect for a D&D movie. Ocean's Eleven meets Fell's Five.

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  60. Actually, I suppose Pirates of the Caribbean is a fairly good counterexample to how this might indeed be possible. (Popular success-wise, not having seen any myself.)

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  61. @crowking

    I never said Jeremy Irons was a bad actor, but you must admit that the amount of gnawing on the woodwork that he did as Profion was not a highlight of his career.

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  62. If you want a movie that really has the feel of old school (A)D&D, you can't do any better than The Wild Bunch. You have a band of fighters and thieves -plus henchmen- who kill bad guys and monsters, steal their gold, and bicker about dividing the spoils.

    It's not perfect: it doesn't have magic-users or clerics, nor is there any magic to speak of, but Freddie Sykes (Edmond O'Brien) is the perfect dwarf.

    Best of all, the movie has one near TPK and one full TPK!

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  63. Did anyone else see the pre-crash Icelandic film Astrópía about the popular woman who joins a gaming group and is romanced away from her car dealer Klaus Kinski boyfriend by one of the gamers? It was the top-grossing Icelandic film in Iceland in 2007. It's very much about the interactions between "real" and "game" life.

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  64. Far and away the best portrayal of the "reality" of D&D that I've seen in recent years is the extremely bizarre cartoon "Adventure Time With Finn and Jake", on Cartoon Network.

    The actual D&D references are obvious and numerous, with one episode a straight-up dungeon crawl...but more than that, the joyously adventure-seeking attitude and the craziness of the setting perfectly suit the kind of game that I remember playing as a kid, back in the early 80s.

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  65. The movie would need to be about a bunch of guys who are playing with miniature war figurines. They start making up different ways to play with them, including adding fantastical elements. They write the rules down and find that other people are interested in playing this new game. Other people start attaching themselves to the creator(s) and over time greed, avarice and egos break up the friendships and in the end, no one who had anything to do with the original game ends up with all the money.

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  66. There was a series I read, it was published in 83 or thereabouts and just kept going and going and going...

    The series was called "Guardians of the Flame" and had college students playing some unnamed RPG ending up in the game world as their characters. The thief gets ganked when they first get there. LOL

    I'm not keen on R.A. Salvatore's novels period, not to mention turning them into movies. And a dungeon crawl? We already have "Cube" -- it would need to be something really unique to stand out. Maybe filming a plot from one of the modules, like the Slave Lords series or Against the Giants?

    You'd just have to have a bunch of players as creative consultants to cry bull at the first sign of Hollywood buffoonery.

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  67. Really?

    No one else thinks "Your Highness" will be the closest thing to a real D&D game?

    I think it blows "The Gamers" and it's ilk right out the water, as well as all the other "sword & sorcery" movies mentioned so far.

    Plus, you get to see Natalie Portman naked! ;)

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  68. ...Lawrence of Arabia?
    (grr, em tags)

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  69. "On the other hand, I might’ve said the same thing about adapting the Pirates of the Caribbean ride to film."

    And you would have been 50% right about the first movie and 100% right about the sequels.

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  70. I would imagine, however they do a D&D game, in my mind it would have to have different versions as each player would imagine the plot and adventure in different ways. To me, the way it should be would be to have the DM imagine it one way, but the PC's go off into different mental images of how the adventure is unfolding based on their own perceptions of their characters, the environment and the general atmosphere of their imagined goal. That, in my humble opinion, is the essence of the role playing game. The players imaginations and mental images are what drives the entire adventure. If there were a good way to convey that to the screen, perhaps in the likeness of the movie "Vantage Point" (2008 film with Dennis Quaid)where the same event is told and retold from different players perspectives and commentary. That would be a cool movie and, to me, would capture the essence of the RPG.

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  71. I would imagine, however they do a D&D game,.....

    ***I meant D&D MOVIE

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  72. I really enjoyed the second D&D movie. HIGHLY underrated IMO. Just seems to get lumped in with the first.

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  73. X-files also showed some D&D being played by some of the Lone Gunmen. I remember a scene where Mulder opens a door to a store-room and inside are some of the Lone Gunmen and some other geek types playing D&D. One of them is shaking a d20 furiously and says "C'mon, daddy needs a new Sword of Wounding".

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  74. The fact that they're actually making films based on Monopoly and Battleship makes Dungeons & Dragons seem like a pretty solid idea for a film.

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  75. Personally, I thought the D&D cartoon actually did work, because by taking characters from the 'real world' and putting them into a Fantasy situation it did, to some extent, parallel the experience of actual D&D players.

    The best way to go with a D&D movie, though, would be to intercut between real world players and their in game characters, which needn't be played solely for laughs.

    The alternative would be to make a movie based around an established D&D setting such as Forgotten Realms, Ravenloft or Dragon Lance (which was done as a cartoon, but I've not seen it so I've no idea if it sucked).

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  76. The fact that they're actually making films based on Monopoly and Battleship makes Dungeons & Dragons seem like a pretty solid idea for a film.

    Why, oh why, must you remind me of this stuff? I'd thankfully forgotten about these upcoming movies based on boardgames -- until now ...

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  77. The relatively loose plot of the original Bard's Tale computer game might make for a good, but grim, film. Skara Brae under a spell of eternal winter, a bunch of adventurers band together in the guild, a fight with a samurai statue, then they try and buy some wine... to the cellars, the sewers, frustration at being unable to enter Mangar's tower. Then it's a fight with a stone dragon and into Harken's Castle for six men against 396... and a mysterious statue. Into the mad god's temple and a showdown with the spectre to grab its eye.. back into the castle and teleporting to Kylearan's tower.. passing his tests to get the key to Mangar's ... and the final showdown with the arch mage. It wouldn't be high art, but it would be good swords and sorcery fun!

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  78. I remember TSR released a computer software kit for AD&D 2e that included, besides compendiums of rules, character creators, and map makers, a short 3D film. It was pegged as an introduction to the game, but it was surprisingly entertaining and really "felt" like D&D to me. Even ended in a cliffhanger that seemed like a GM calling it a night. Maybe memory is being kind, but I watched it over and over when I was younger.

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