Sunday, October 6, 2013

Movie review- Dungeons and Dragons 3: Book of Vile Darkness

That's right Americans, there is a third Dungeons and Dragons movie!  It was a direct-to-DVD sequel, but sadly the DVDs were only released in the U.K.  Why do fantasy-movie production companies only release these things in the UK?  They also did it with the tolerable/almost good Solomon Kane.  I will buy your cheesy sci-fi/fantasy DVDs if you release them in the USA, movie production companies, I promise.

Anyway, here's the trailer:

So how did I, a lowly American, see this fantasy epic?  Because of my shadow internet black market associates, of course.  It took cunning, a few greased palms, and a harrowing chase through a noble madman's guarded mansion before I emerged with the sacred prize...

But also you can just watch the whole movie on youtube here.

So is it any good?  Surprisingly...YES!

...I mean, compared to the other two D&D movies its good.  Which is not to say much to any non-D&D lover, but to my fellow traverse-rs of the Realms, its good.  If ever in your life you've rolled a d20, I recommend you check it out.  Preferably with your D&D buddies on the couch next to you.

Its about an evil adventuring party, so its got that evil campaign feel to it that you never dared explore with your own party (because you know that rogue guy is just going to wreck it anyway).  Its got your standard evil Assassin class guy who worships strength and killing weaklings, an evil Barbarian guy who's some fantasy race I can't identify... I mean, he's grey... so... ?  There's the evil Shadow Witch who has some sweet spells and wicked cool piercings all over her face.  And finally an evil Wizard of Corruption or something who totally steals the show.

Its the main character who's the ho-hum performance.  He's a cleric (or quasi-Paladin?) of Pelor who pretends to be an evil fighter so he can hang out with the badites.  But honestly, I found myself cheering for the bad-ites most of the time.  Especially the bug wizard who has the coolest looking powers and cheesiest lines.

However I should note that this is definitely 4th edition D&D.  I mean, at one point the main guy goes to a shop called The Adventurer's Guild (I'm serious) and buys a magic sword and armor, and the shopkeeper looks at him and goes "Heroic or Paragon?"  Which elicited a major groan from me (as a 4th-edition hater).  But that was soon made up for by all the boobies in the film.  That's right, there's one straight up orgy scene, and a few other scenes have boobs scattered about.  So its definitely got an R-rating (or PG if you're European).  Point is, they didn't skimp on making the evil adventurer lifestyle look decadent and scurvy. 

Now, the opening narration is terrible and way too long.  Its worse than the Conan the Barbarian remake's narration (Morgan Freeman, really?).  It tells the history of the Book of Vile Darkness in small snippets between showing the names of some 400 executive producers on the film.  If you're getting bored at the start, just skip it.  Because you'll figure out the plot soon enough, and early on in the film the evil party takes on a freaking Dragon, which really kicks things off well.  CGI these days has gotten better and better, so even a movie with a tiny budget can make an extremely believable Dragon fight happen right in front of your eyes.  And haven't we all wondered how an evil bug wizard would help a party of adventurers take on a Dragon?

Yes, we all have.  So yeah, I recommend this movie for nerd night viewing.  And oh yeah, it also has the creepiest little undead girl I've ever seen, so be ready for nightmares. (and no I'm not going to post a picture of her.  I don't want to wreck it for you. Just watch it!)


Darth_Cibeous said...

It's a Goliath, Cory. I didn't remember that either, but the witch calls it out, and then in our game today, the GM reminded us about the tattoos they have, which made it click for me. He definitely got the Paragon Bag of Holding for that guy...

Cyberninja20XX said...

Of course! Thank you! That was bothering me. He's a Goliath. I knew it must've been a recently-introduced race, I just couldn't remember which. I was sitting there thinking...are they trying to represent a Warforged? No, this is definitely not Eberron... what is this guy? A Goliath. Right on.

And oh yeah, I really liked the Bag of Holding trick. And how the water kept bubbling for a long time after he threw it in there.

brando said...

Whelp. Now I gotta watch it.

So I have to ask. Book of Vile Darkness? Really? That's what they chose to call it?

They need to fancy that up. Librurm. Tome. Anything. Just try a little bit.

Off the top of my head:
1. Liber Demonica
2. Tome of Ebon Dreams
3. Cartogrofee D'Mortus
4. Journal of Dr. Arvon Grimkoph
5. Blood Tome Volume IV
6. Fragment from the Scroll of Shadowterror.

But nope, it probably went like this:

Writer 1: So we have these adventurers looking for the Book of Darkness.

Writer 2: Not scary enough. How will the audience now it's not just regular darkness?

Writer 1: I guess I could call it the Book of Darth Sidious Darkness.

Writer 2: Don't get cute. Let's just call it the Book of Super Dark. That'll get em. Oh, and throw in some boobies. And some magic missile, and a longspear of backbiting. Everyone likes those.

Writer 1: How about we have a wizard get snatched up by a dragon, like that 70s movie?

Cyberninja20XX said...

First of all, that 70's movie was awesome. Second of all, the Book of Vile Darkness was actually a thing before the movie was athing. Its an actual D&D 3e splatbook. So the poor naming proclivities really reside with the Wizards of the Coast People who thought that was a good title backin '04. Because it wasn't. And still isn't.

I agree that it could use some sprucing up. I like your suggestions. Tome seems an easy addition. Tome of Vile Darkness. That's already 100x better. Now just replace Darkness with something like Depraved, and Vile with something like ...Malevolence. (Thanks!). A little swappado and you've got The Tome of Depraved Malevolence.

If that doesn't get the parents calling into the network to ban your movie I don't know what will.

brando said...

I'm actually going to use one of these for my current game. They're going to Nesme, so I need to make everyone extra jerky. Which shouldn't be a stretch for me.

Leviathan said...

"I've travelled to the floor of the pit of my own free will..." #YOLO!!!

Cyberninja20XX said...

Ugh. Like I said, that anti-paladin guy was the worst performance of the bunch. Corruption Wizard FTW.