Wizards present your wands. Warriors unsheathe your broadswords. Thieves fill your quivers with arrows. And don’t forget to dust off your multi-sided dice and your Dungeon’s Masters Handbook. “Dungeons and Dragons” is coming back to the movies.
What is all this magical preparation for, you may ask?
Why, it’s for the apparent upcoming “Dungeons & Dragons” movie, you silly heathen.
According to Deadline, Warner Brothers has acquired the rights to the make yet another “Dungeons & Dragons” movie. The film is being formed around a David Leslie Johnson screenplay called “Chainmail”, which was based off a little-known, pre-D & D project from designers Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. The script was picked up last year and the D & D name was later attached to it.
Johnson is no stranger to the world of make-believe, as he has previously written such fantasy-based flicks as “Wrath of the Titans” and the recent, Grimm’s-for-the “Twilight”-set version of “Red Riding Hood.” He also penned the ultra-creepy (at least in my opinion), adoption-from-hell, horror flick “Orphan,” as well as few episodes of AMC’s The Walking Dead - when his mentor Frank Darabont was a the helm.
No director has been attached to the project, as of yet.
But, if I were you, I wouldn’t start toasting with the best mead in the land just yet.
It seems as if the film will have a familiar name attached to it. Remember that horrible “Dungeons & Dragons” movie from 2000. You know, the one where Marlon Wayans (yes, that Marlon Wayans) played a wise-cracking, safe-cracking and probably crack-smoking thief named Snails – that’s what I said, Snails – and Jeremy Irons mailed-it-in as the evil Profion. If you’ve put it out of your mind forever, I completely understand. I mean, I’m not even a fan of D & D and I was upset and offended by its horridness.
Well, Courtney Solomon – the director that was responsible for that pile of cinematic ogre poop – is now producing THIS film. However, on a positive note, Solomon will be joined by fellow producer Roy Lee. Lee has some pretty impressive production credits, according to his IMDB resume, including “The Departed,” “The Ring,” and the criminally-underrated, indie thriller “Asylum Blackout.” Lee also has some pretty kick-ass production credits in the near future.
This killer list includes such anticipated, upcoming remakes as “Poltergeist,” “Oldboy,” “Creepshow,” “It,” and “Battle Royale.” Supposedly, Lee also will be producing the sequels to a number of recently-popular films like “The Strangers 2” and “The Woman in Black: Angels of Death,” as well as being receiving production credits for A&E’s “Bates Motel” series. Although, a number of these films are in their pre-production stages (I get excited just thinking about the possibilities associated with that list of remakes, but that’s another article entirely), it’s pretty easy to get excited for what this “D & D” film might become.
Well…. once again…. let’s not get our hopes up too much.
There have been a number of wretched sword and sorcery “epics” that have been attempted in the past. Who can forget the early 1980’s? This is the time period in which fantasy films were being pumped out at the rate of, like, two or three-a-week. This is the era in which studios were trying to piggyback off the success of Arnie and “Conan the Barbarian” movies. Therefore, such trifling films as “The Beastmaster,” “Gor,” and “Krull” were made and have since been making “Worst Movie” lists for the last few decades. Somebody, somewhere, must have thought these movies could have been or even WERE good.
QUICK SIDE NOTE: In all truthfulness, I cannot condemn the movie “Krull.” Although, most critics have placed this film on par with a trip to Cleveland (a city in which I’ve also lived. coincidence? maybe.), I actually have a soft-spot in my hardened heart for this mullet-infested creature fest. It also marks the first time I remember seeing Liam Neeson in a movie, plus that ninja star rip-off of a weapon that the hero uses called “The Glaive” is frickin’ awesome. And I may also ask a favor of producer Roy Lee. How ‘bout a “Krull” remake? Pretty please. There I’ve said my piece.
Actually, you don’t have to stray far from the D & D name to find some
stinkbombs. Even though it has some kitsch-factor to it, the “Dungeons & Dragons” Saturday morning cartoon from the 1980’s wasn’t exactly a masterpiece in any medium. And don’t even get any D & D fan started on the so-called sequels to the first terrible film. “Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God,” “Dungeons and Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness,” plus the animated movie “The Scourge of Worlds” A Dungeons & Dragons Adventure” were not exactly the cinematic interpretations that this cult of cos-playing, self-proclaimed geeks have been waiting to experience.
Although, I’ll bet there’s probably one person reading this saying, “Hey, I liked the D & D cartoon!” Welcome to my world pal – the world of “Krull”-hating savages.
On the contrary, there have been some great fantasy films and TV shows that have invaded the realm, so to speak, in the last few decades or so. “Dragonslayer” wasn’t exactly a great film, but it was a FUN film and, even if you watch it today, the special effects and the set design holds up pretty well from 1981 – especially, the dragon itself. I’d put that dragon up against that crappy CGI dragon from “Dragonheart” – you know, the one with the Sean Connery voice – any day of the week.
When talking about quality entertainment from the fantasy genre, you have to mention the usual suspects, like “Game of Thrones” and “The Hobbit”/“Lord of the Rings” films. They are the pinnacle by which all others shall be judged. However, maybe their most significant contribution is that their critical and box office success might have been the reason that another D & D movie is getting green-lit, even after all of that spectacular failure.
So, three cheers and a big huzzah for Dungeons & Dragons and don’t forget to iron your wizard’s robe before you head to the theater for the premiere – sometime in the near future.