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DVD REVIEW

Dungeons & Dragons: Platinum Edition

 

Starring: Jeremy Irons, Justin Whalin, Marlon Wayans
Director: Courtney Solomon

Rating: PG-13

Studio: New Line Cinema

Review Posted: 6.16.01

DVD Rating: 4/10

 

By Jon Bjorling

 

The Movie

 

When I was in high school, I played "Dungeons and Dragons." I have an extremely vivid imagination and would visualize some of the adventures that my friends and I would go on. When I heard that there was a feature film in production, I was at first excited, then afraid. Fantasy films, if done right, are excellent treats. But if they are ruined...

 

Sadly this is the latter. Lousy script, horrendous acting, cheap special effects. This is the kind of film that is ruining the fantasy genre. 

 

The empire of Izmer is a troubled place. The magic wielding mages have all the power and use it to rule over the common people with an iron hand. The young empress, Savina has begun plans to change the system and allow the common people equal rights, but the dark mage Profion sees this as a threat and plans to usurp her rule. To do this, he needs the Rod of Savrille, a rod that has the ability to control Red Dragons. Before he can do this, he must first find where the location of the Rod, which is hidden in an ancient scroll that fate has placed into the hands of a young sorceress. Along with two thieves and a dwarf, she must locate and obtain the Rod before Profion and his henchman do. 

 

Jeremy Irons is gleefully over the top as Profion, but at times he is too overblown. Justin Whalin is your typical pretty boy hero, nothing special about him. Marlon Wayans' character Snails is annoying in the Jar Jar Binks vein.  After seeing Requiem for a Dream, I KNOW Wayans is better than this. Thora Birch is bad.  Bruce Payne is even worse. I had no idea what the hell Lee Arenberg's Elwood was. Was he a dwarf? Was he human? I couldn't figure it out.  Kristen Wilson makes a very beautiful Elf, but sadly has acting bouncing from horrendous to meager. Finally, Zoe McLellan's acting actually improves as the film progresses, but like everyone else, she is below her ability. 

 

This film is bad, but it does have a few scenes that are clever. There is a scene in the Thieve's Guild where our hero must risk his life in order to obtain the crystal that will give them access to the cave in which the Rod is hidden.  The other scene is the climatic dragon attack on Izmer's capital. While the special effects aren't great, the battle itself is interesting.

 

3 out of 10

 

The Video

 

The transfer is very beautiful.  It's very clear and sharp and the colors are rich.  I couldn't see any problems with the video itself.

 

8 out of 10

 

The Audio

 

The sound is clear as well. You have the usual Dolby 5.1 as well as 2.0 Surround. They both are nice, but nothing special.

 

7 out of 10

 

The Extras

 

The Special Features are nothing special.  You have the film's trailer, two commentary tracks, two documentaries, deleted scenes (with commentary), 4 scenes with special effects deconstruction, and a DVD-ROM demo of Baldur's Gate II. 

 

The documentaries aren't too interesting. One is about the making of D&D and the other is on the game itself.  Die hard fans may enjoy these, but I doubt anyone else would. 

 

The first commentary track has director Solomon, actor Whalin, and D&D co-creator Dave Arneson. Listening to this track was like pouring acid onto my hand. IT WAS PAINFUL BEYOND ALL BELIEF.  After hearing Solomon and Whalin talk for a few minutes, I realized that they both were idiots. I'm sorry, but I worry about people who giggle and says "Let's look at the dragon." True, some commentary tracks have the cast around and they joke and have fun, but believe me, this is just pathetic.

 

The second commentary track feature director Solomon, DP Doug Milsome, and D&D co-creator Arneson. This track wasn't bad (definitely not painful like the other track). It dished out some nice information, but the other track still echoes in my mind, every time I hear his voice on this track. 

 

The deleted scenes are interesting. A few scenes are extensions of already existing scenes, while others are your basic cuts. One scene is an alternate ending which, although less magical, is more true to the story and is a little more emotional than what is currently used.

 

5 out of 10

 

Movie

3

Video

8

Audio

8

Extras

5

Final (not an average)

4

 

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