At risk of losing whatever critical reputation I've earned around here, I will admit that I have more tolerance for this kind of pseudo-medieval fluff than is perhaps healthy. I don't particularly care about Dogma 95, still haven't seen "Titanic"--but the promise of cute young ladies prancing about in fur bikinis will lure me down to the local theatre every time. And still I thought "Dungeons & Dragons" sucked absolutely.The lavishly empty "Dungeons & Dragons" pits four utterly, hopelessly annoying young actors against a mean old wizard (Jeremy Irons) in a race to snare the immensely powerful Rod of Something-or-other. (All the talk about "seeking the rod" provides the only real, if unintentional, comic relief here.) Irons, hamming it up all over the place, alone manages to be even mildly entertaining, if only because he seems to think he's Olivier in "Richard III."
As for the others, the less said the better: we've got a bland Dean Cain lookalike (Justin Whalin), his much-too-goofy sidekick (Marlon Wayans), a cute "mage" who's quickly reduced to Damsel in Distress duties (Zoe McLellan), and a proto-socialist(?!) princess who practically chokes on her stilted dialogue (Thora Birch). They spend most of the movie being chased around by a blue-lipped guy with snakes coming out of his ears--no, let's not even talk about that. Of these, Wayans is probably the most irritating, but at least (SPOILER ALERT--LOOK OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) one gets to see him tossed off a castle to his death long before the end.
The sets look nice--director Courtney Solomon makes the camera linger over every ornate floor tile--but they lack imagination. (And am I the only one who thinks we need a moratorium on characters with spider-web vein designs on their faces?) Solomon also has no sense of pacing; the movie just lurches around from one set-piece to another, though the booby-trapped maze sequence did provide a few almost tense moments. Even the noisy everything-but-the-kitchen-sink climax fails.Worst of all, there's not a fur bikini in sight. Back to the dungeon, everyone.