The Empire of Izmer is a divided land: elite magicians called “mages” rule while lowly commoners are powerless. When Empress Savina vows to bring equality and prosperity to her land, the evil mage Profion plots to depose her.
Campy, amusing heroic fantasy with – you guessed it – dungeons and dragons. RELEASED IN 2000 and directed by Courtney Solomon, "Dungeons & Dragons" chronicles events in the kingdom of Izmer where the idealistic Empress (Thora Birch) advocates equality between the mages and commoners while the power-mad Profion (Jeremy Irons) plots to overthrow the Empress with the help of his formidable henchman Damodar (Bruce Payne). A ragtag team is assembled to save Izmer by apprehending the Eye of the Dragon: Two thieves (Justin Whalin and Marlon Wayans), a beautiful mage apprentice (Zoe McLellan), a dwarf (Lee Arenberg) and an elf girl (Kristen Wilson). The first shot with Irons hamming it up as the diabolical Profion made me bust out laughing. In other words, the movie telegraphs from the get-go that it’s not to be taken seriously. If you can roll with the campiness, this is an amusing throwaway fantasy flick. Imagine the gaudiness of “Star Wars” (1977) if the story were transplanted to a Medieval-like kingdom where dragons & magic are reality and you’d have a good idea of what “Dungeons & Dragons” has to offer. This was a theatrical release that cost a whopping $45 million, but totally bombed at the box office. The 2005 sequel “Wrath of the Dragon God” (with only Bruce Payne returning as Damodar) cost just $15 million and is slightly better because the creators took the material seriously, but it’s decidedly TV fantasy fare. The film scores pretty well on the female front with the winsome McLellan and cutie Birch. Whalin and Wayans are entertaining as the two main protagonists, if you can get past their goofiness. People love to hate Snails (Wayans), but I found him to be a likable, amusing character. THE MOVIE RUNS 1 hour 47 minutes and was shot in the Czech Republic (Kutná Hora and Prague). WRITERS: Topper Lilien and Carroll Cartwright. GRADE: C