Has the D&D movie made the jump from unintentionally hilarious to funny on purpose? One of its stars, Justice Smith, thinks so.
Dungeons & Dragons has always struggled to find its niche in mainstream media. From an animated series to an ill-fated radio series, to the year 2000’s trainwreck of a movie starring Thora Birch just hoping to get a paycheck, Jeremy Irons chewing his way through the scenery like his life depended on it, and a CGI dragon so bad it makes the Scorpion King look, well, not good, but at least halfway decent as long as you don’t look too long.
With melodramatic moments undercut by a drunken, farting dwarf, and actors hamfistedly trying their best to get through a labyrinth of unconnected fantasy terms on a story that made sense to someone, once, before the rewrites, 2000’s Dungeons & Dragons movie is full of moments of unintentional hilarity. Like this:
But you’re really laughing at the movie, not with it. If someone took the phrase “I love the Power Glove, it’s so bad” from 1983’s The Wizard and brought it to life and then turned that into a movie, it would be Dungeons & Dragons (2000). However, Jonathans Goldstein and Francis Daley might have helped make a D&D movie that’s actually meant to be funny.
Justice Smith, one of the prominent cast members of the film, recently spoke with Collider about the 2023 film, and teased the amount of action, specificity, and above all else, humor that is in the movie:
“[Goldstein and Daley are] incredible. They’re so funny and they have such clear vision. I loved Game Night. That movie is so good and so funny. And it’s such a clear, specific story. It doesn’t try and be anything that it’s not. I think they approached this the same way. I can’t spoil too much but it’s action-packed, thrilling, funny as hell… it’s all of the things and yet it has a clear idea. That specificity is key in storytelling and John and Jonathan do that so well, being like, “This is the story we’re telling but they’re making it enjoyable the entire time.” This is me not trying to spoil the movie in any regards. I’ve given away no details.”
So far we know very little about what the “clear, specific story” that Goldstein and Daley are trying to tell. Allegedly the story revolves around a group of adventurers trying to get hold of the Hand and Eye of Vecna, which would be the first time that you’d get to see this kind of specific lore in a D&D movie. We’ll have to wait and see, but to hear a D&D movie called “funny as hell” makes sense–if any of my campaigns are anything to go by, D&D is anything but serious.