If you don't like fairy tales, you won't this one. And if you do like them, heavens
help you. Dungeons And Dragons (the original version of this dubbed film) will
take all your favorite fairy tale fantasies and twist them beyond recognition.
And as if that were not enough, it will sprinkle a bit of pseudo-realism into
the twisted, tangled fantasies, so that at the end of the movie, you won't be
able to decide what you've just seen.
The Empire of Izmer is run by the Mages (the magic people). They rule over the commoners (the non-magic people) and do a pretty bad job of it. The young and idealistic empress of Izmer (Thora Birch) is distressed about all the inequality in the Empire, and wants to revolutionize the system by giving the Commoners equal rights. The evil mage Profion (Jeremy Irons) will have none of that, but he is powerless against the empress. You see, she possesses a powerful weapon, the Scepter, that gives her total command over Izmer's Golden Dragons (?).
But there is a way (isn't there always?). If Profion can get his hands on the legendary Rod Of Savrille, he will be able to control Izmer's Red Dragons, more magical and powerful than the golden ones. But does he set out to search for the rod himself? No, siree. He sends Dommador, his servant and slave. Meanwhile, two common thieves, Ridley and Snails, try to rob the magic school, and get unavoidably tangled in the whole affair. Together with Marina, a pretty student mage, they set out to search for the Eye Of The Dragon, which will finally lead them to the Rod.
The movie now moves in and out of life-threatening mazes, weird torture cells, sword fights and such other Useless Unfortunate Events. There are elves and dwarfs, magical spells and horrible monsters. But this is no Enid Blyton-ish fantasy trip. The visuals are crude, the acting rather strained, the story lacking in any credibility and the end irritatingly predictable.
Thora Birch (the brunette daughter of Kevin Spacey in American Beauty) is shamelessly wasted in Dungeons And Dragons. As the young empress of Izmer, she gives the only convincing and dignified performance of the movie, but one wonders what she is doing there. The other characters are not wasted. They did their best, but it was just not good enough.
If you are the kind that enjoys watching huge, ugly, unconvincing dragons clashing
with each other against a clouded sky, you might like to watch the Dungeons And
Dragons. Otherwise, you can comfortably give it a miss. At least your fairy tales
will be safe!