I've traveled to the floor of the pit of my own free will.
June 26, 2012 4:02 AM   Subscribe

The trailer for Dungeons and Dragons 3: The Book of Vile Darkness has been released onto the Internet.

Dungeons and Dragons is an historic role-playing game (Previously) that has translated to computer games and books well, at least in terms of quantity, but has struggled to make the transition to the screen.

There was a cartoon in the 1980s about a plucky group of children spirited away to a mysterious world on a fairground ride, and an animated Dragonlance film, Dragons of Autumn Twilight, but it was not until 2000, some 30 years after the iconic game's debut, that a live action feature film was released by first-time director Courtney Solomon.

It was not well received despite roles by high profile actors such as Jeremy Irons, rising star Thora Birch, and cameos by fan favourites Richard O'Brien and Tom Baker.

Experienced Hollywood cinematographer and auteur Gerry Lively took control of the franchise in 2008 releasing a direct-to-DVD sequel Dungeons & Dragons 2: Wrath of the Dragon Gods (aka The Elemental Might).
It was also not well received.

The third film is based on a popular supplement for evil characters.

A fourth film was shot in Bulgaria at the same time.
posted by Mezentian (123 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
This isn't even mockably entertaining.

Yes. I said "mockably."
posted by grabbingsand at 4:15 AM on June 26, 2012


The perfect D&D movies have already been made:

The Gamers

The Gamers II: Dorkness Rising
posted by absalom at 4:19 AM on June 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


Wow, that is some SyFy level of bad movie making. I think Xena & Hercules had better CG.
posted by the_artificer at 4:25 AM on June 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


They need a better director, like Uwe Boll.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 4:25 AM on June 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


"not well received"

That's not quite how I would describe a 10% on the Tomatometer.

More like hated and reviled?
posted by PJLandis at 4:29 AM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Several grad school friend loved both mockumentaries and Knights of the Dinner Table. Thanks for pointing out The Gamers, absalom.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:32 AM on June 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


The fun of D&D, for me, is hanging out with friends and talking in funny voices. Not sure if that translates well to a screen near you. Some games just weren't meant to be made into films. I'm looking at you, tag.

Uh oh. Wait, what have I done? (deep in the bowels of Hollywood, a young man in sweatpants begins typing the first pages of Tag: the Movie, laughs, cries)
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 4:38 AM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


The second Gamers movie(didn't see the first) actually pretty well captures the appeal of hanging out with friends and making funny voices.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 4:42 AM on June 26, 2012


AH&WO, that puts I'm Gonna Git You Sucka in a whole new light...
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:44 AM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


deep in the bowels of Hollywood, a young man in sweatpants begins typing the first pages of Tag: the Movie, laughs, cries

If they can make a "Battleship" movie, what is to stop them? Who, or what, can stop the vile darkness called "Hollywood" from making a "Tag" movie? The prophecies foretell a precocious young child, who excels at magic and swordsmanship, but is slightly socially awkward. He will gather together a misfit group, and they will share in an adventure that brings them together to fight against the darkness. Hollywood is powerful, but friendship is more powerful!

Tag: The Touch of Dark Vileness. Summer, 2013.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 4:52 AM on June 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


...has translated to computer games and books well, at least in terms of quantity, but has struggled to make the transition to the screen.

Media Moguls Fail To Understand Not All Media Are The Same, Book In November
posted by DU at 4:53 AM on June 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


SSSNNNNNNNAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIILLLLLLLLLLSSSSS!!!!!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:02 AM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can only Nth what people day about Gamers: Dorkness Rising. It is awesome.

Which is the exact opposite of this film. This.... thing.
(Although, Evil mask Dude, who I think is a Mind Flyer (SFX not ready) is actually not a bad actor).
posted by Mezentian at 5:08 AM on June 26, 2012


I'm pretty sure every actor in that trailer failed his or her saving throw for acting.
posted by This Guy at 5:10 AM on June 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


"You wear too much eye makeup. My sister wears too much. People think she's a whore."
posted by hanoixan at 5:13 AM on June 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the editor of the trailer failed his or her Saving Throw Vs Film Stuff.

It is.... not well edited.

And alt title for this post was going to be:
Dungeons and Dragons, YOU ARE TEARING ME APART.
posted by Mezentian at 5:13 AM on June 26, 2012


No love for Mazes & Monsters?
posted by R. Schlock at 5:21 AM on June 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


"Is it in your heart to be terrible?" It's a brave man to put a line like that in a film (and trailer) ... or a very clueless one.

I've never been able to make through the first D&D film... the second is just about watchable but still poor... this looks like a step backwards. A big step.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:21 AM on June 26, 2012


The first film is vastly improved by the director's cut.
They remember to give the Dwarf a name and stuff.

(Of course, vastly improved is... not hard).
posted by Mezentian at 5:23 AM on June 26, 2012


No love for Mazes & Monsters?

Oh man. My parents made me read that book based I guess on a false impression that I was into D&D. (I had a starter kit at one point, but never used it.) I could tell it was Moral Panic Fiction but didn't know it was based on a "true" story.

I also never knew it was made into a movie starring Tom Hanks.
posted by DU at 5:27 AM on June 26, 2012


I watched Dungeons and Dragons 2: Wraith of the Dragon God last week. I can only assume that everybody was drunk during the making of it.

One thing that struck me whilst watching it was that D&D is based on lots of excellent stories. Wrath of the Dragon God wasn't much of a story, but it was fun to hoot at how bad it was. I can see why this set of film makers wasn't given the keys to, say, Dragonlance, or Forgotten Realms.
posted by The River Ivel at 5:27 AM on June 26, 2012


"Just like you thieves. Always taking things that don’t belong to you."

That's an actual line from the first movie. It really is terrible.

The best part is a deleted scene on the DVD. Jeremy Irons shouts and blusters and gobbles down scenery and when "Cut!" is yelled, he stalks off set without a word. One imagines he heads back out for another round of screaming at his agent.
posted by Legomancer at 5:28 AM on June 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


The sad thing is I expect they've just ripped off the plot from MeFi's own jscalzi's The Shadow War of the Night Dragon -- Book One: The Dead City.
posted by eriko at 5:30 AM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I watched Dungeons and Dragons 2: Wraith of the Dragon God last week.

I was certainly drunk while watching it.
posted by Mezentian at 5:41 AM on June 26, 2012


I felt like I was watching a really high budget Darkon match.

/true love for Darkon, friend of mine did it, and it was fun to check out his foam weapons
posted by ShawnString at 5:42 AM on June 26, 2012


It certainly can't be worse than that Dungeon Siege disaster they made recently. Why, why did I try watching that? And does Statham need the money so much? I was constantly cringing any time he had a line.
posted by Iosephus at 5:55 AM on June 26, 2012



I felt like I was watching a really high budget Darkon match.

/true love for Darkon, friend of mine did it, and it was fun to check out his foam weapons


Seen Monster Camp? Also a good time.
posted by zombieApoc at 5:56 AM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


So, wait, this isn't made by fans? Those are 'hollywood' actors? People paid money (and were paid?) to make this? Clearly, I've been setting my sights to high. I was destined to be in movies, provided they are shot in Romania with a special effects budget that requires everything to be made on computers from 1995. I'm gonna be a STAR!
posted by Ghidorah at 5:59 AM on June 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


So when they call Vancouver "Hollywood North" it's good to remember that this is what's being cranked out.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:08 AM on June 26, 2012


"Just like you thieves. Always taking things that don’t belong to you."

In a strange kind of way, that line makes sense. In the context of D&D, being of the thief class primarily indicates having a certain skillset (lockpicking, stealth, climbing and so on). The moral codes of individual "thieves" might differ, and I don't doubt that there would have been many D&D campaigns whose "thief" character didn't steal in practice, even though they could.

So the line in the movie is a kind of acknowledgement of the distinction between the class as a skillset and the values that are stereotypical for the class. In that sense it's more like "you MeFites, always beanplating".
posted by chmmr at 6:13 AM on June 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Tag: the movie was done in the eighties, one of those "USA Up All Night" standards that I, as a twelve-year-old, staying up way too late when my parents were out, stared at in rapt wonder at what the hell I was watching.

And, really, that's what these Dungeons and Dragons movies need, is someplace that embraces the poor quality and shows it for what it is. SyFy is beginning to touch on the self-awareness of bad movies, but there's no "Up All Night" level of "yeah, it sucks balls, but what else are you going to watch? That exercise infomercial? Please. Here's a European music video that shows more skin than the U.S. version, and a stupid local commercial from somewhere out East" level of bad movie appreciation that has been lost since the early 90s.
posted by AzraelBrown at 6:24 AM on June 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: Is it in your heart to be terrible?
posted by swift at 6:28 AM on June 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dungeons and Dragons, YOU ARE TEARING ME APART.

If we could sustain the level of competence you are alluding to, I would totally watch The 10' by 10' Room.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:32 AM on June 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


Wizards need thieves
not the other way around.
posted by clavdivs at 6:35 AM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


It was not well received despite roles by high profile actors such as Jeremy Irons, rising star Thora Birch, and cameos by fan favourites Richard O'Brien and Tom Baker.


I actually went and saw it in the movie theater. There. I said it.

...

I have to wonder what the margin for profit is on these films. Instead of saying "cut!" at the end of each filmed scene does the director sleepily yawn, "Good 'nough" ?
posted by Atreides at 6:40 AM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


There is/was an entertaining article thing out on the web somewhere (google fails me) about the 1st D&D film (more entertaining that the actual film anyway) that's quotes Tom Baker allegedly saying that he only he accepted a part because he misheard and thought he would be playing an 'elk' not an 'elf'. I so want that to be true.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:52 AM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I saw the original in the theater as well. Totally worth it for the beholder scene.
posted by demiurge at 6:53 AM on June 26, 2012


The first movie is pretty great to watch with friends while drunk. Some sort of prize may be given to the first person in the room who, watching it for the first time, realizes that the movie is never going to explain what's with the blue lipstick.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 6:56 AM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also saw the first one in the theaters. Have to say the mind rape scene made me feel really uncomfortable. Also, I have never cheered so hard at the death of a main character since Megaweapon crushed the Paperchase guy's talking, super-sonic motorcycle.
posted by charred husk at 7:12 AM on June 26, 2012


I've said it before, and I will say it again:

The true Dungeons and Dragons movie has already been made. In fact, there were three of them, in a film trilogy called The Lord of the Rings, directed by Peter Jackson.

I don't know why anyone fools with any other movies.
posted by magstheaxe at 7:23 AM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


A fourth film was shot in Bulgaria at the same time.

Quickly and mercifully, let us hope.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:47 AM on June 26, 2012 [13 favorites]


I think we could all stand to travel to the floor of the pit of our own free will, really.
posted by kyrademon at 7:50 AM on June 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


The Book of Vile Darkness is not really a supplement for "evil" characters, rather it is a look at the truly hideous evils that lie at the fringes of the regular D&D universe. No one would actually want to roleplay as a Cancer Mage or Disciple of Asmodeus, they are just there in order for the GM to make a good PC villain. There are some really cool bits in the book (the section on Poisons and Drugs is neat, and so are some of the artifacts), but overall the book offers nothing to PCs, and very little to GMs; I don't see how they could make a movie out of it unless they were going for something along the lines of Hellraiser 3.

The Evil in this sourcebook is in no way suitable to roleplay; it's not like playing an evil assassin who has some good backstory, or a even a comical bashy-bashy orc. We're talking about characters whose very identity is alien and perverse, whose sole premise is to defile everything that is human. How the hell could any group sit around the gaming table and roleplay as a Thrall of Juiblex, whose every pore oozes a different slime and disease?

I support the idea of a D&D movie franchise, but there is so much more goo source material: like The Crystal Shard for example.
posted by Vindaloo at 7:53 AM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


good source material*
posted by Vindaloo at 7:54 AM on June 26, 2012


The true Dungeons and Dragons movie has already been made. In fact, there were three of them, in a film trilogy called The Lord of the Rings, directed by Peter Jackson.

Other than some superficial elements, D&D is not overly inspired by Tolkien. Characters in classic D&D are not really heroes so much as mercenaries, or layabouts, or random jerks with a sword, or power hungry greedy people. They do a lot of objectively reprehensible things, like robbing graves, often for money or treasure, which you'd never expect Aragorn or Gandalf to stoop to. The push to make PCs more moral is something that seems to have crept in during 2E, both to make the game more palatable to parents and the Christian Right and because some of the campaign worlds (esp. Dragonlance) are more obviously that kind of Tolkienesque heroic fantasy.

The basic premise of the game is much more attuned to Conan, and the Fafhrd & the Grey Mouser books, with some Jack Vance thrown in. There are lots of books in Gygax's famous Appendix N that are not Lord of the Rings. Gary Gygax read a lot of fantasy books, and many of them made it into the game in some way. He saw that Tolkien was generally popular, so some of the many many things he put into the game were elves and hobbits and rangers.
posted by JHarris at 7:58 AM on June 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


They do a lot of objectively reprehensible things, like robbing graves, often for money or treasure, which you'd never expect Aragorn or Gandalf to stoop to.

Actually, hobbits are the thief class of Middle Earth.
posted by Atreides at 8:01 AM on June 26, 2012


How the hell could any group sit around the gaming table and roleplay as a Thrall of Juiblex, whose every pore oozes a different slime and disease?

i got 4chan on the phone

they said you have to bring snacks next time
posted by LogicalDash at 8:02 AM on June 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


This is so easy. Just make a movie around the premise for Tomb of Horrors and make alot of money. Why complicate things, movie people?
posted by Senator at 8:05 AM on June 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Actually, hobbits are the thief class of Middle Earth.

You mean "burglars are the thief class". Hobbits are a race, not a class!





I Am Pedant!
posted by Edison Carter at 8:05 AM on June 26, 2012


I actually went and saw it in the movie theater. There. I said it.

I saw it in the theater, and there was a glitch about halfway through. I think the audio either died or got horribly desynced. Anyway, everybody got a free pass for another movie. I don't remember what I used it for, but it must have been better.

You mean "burglars are the thief class". Hobbits are a race, not a class!

Tell that to first edition.
posted by jedicus at 8:07 AM on June 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


"The push to make PCs more moral is something that seems to have crept in during 2E ..."

I have been playing D&D for 34 years and I have no idea where you're getting this from. I've played lawful good paladins fighitng to save towns of innocents before 2E existed and I've played neutral evil sorcerers blowing up those towns of innocents in 3.5.

The moral compass of the game was always determined by the players, and even back in the more plot-free days when most official modules were "go into a cave and kill monsters and take their stuff", there was always a smattering of "quest to save the world" ones as well.
posted by kyrademon at 8:09 AM on June 26, 2012


Actually, hobbits are the thief class of Middle Earth.

But although they'd obviously be good at it, in the books they don't do a lot of thief things, other than run away from things. They don't backstab, they don't pick locks, they don't climb walls. They do move silently, but that's not among the primary coursework at Thief University, and I hear their instructor is on loan from Ranger Technical Institute. Where they steal, they don't know it when they're doing it (the Ring) or it's an out of character thing to drive the plot (the Arkenstone, the Palantir). Thieves are a closer fit to the Grey Mouser, and Conan in his more stealthy moments like outside the Tower of the Elephant.
posted by JHarris at 8:13 AM on June 26, 2012


Tell that to first edition.

No, I won't. :-P
posted by Edison Carter at 8:15 AM on June 26, 2012


Where they steal, they don't know it when they're doing it (the Ring) or it's an out of character thing to drive the plot (the Arkenstone, the Palantir).

There's also the attempt to pickpocket from the trolls, stealing the keys from the wood elves (not to mention a ton of food over the weeks they were imprisoned), and stealing the cup from Smaug.
posted by jedicus at 8:16 AM on June 26, 2012


Because "hobbits" are not mentioned in First Edition. Halflings are. And within the context of the Lord of the Rings (which was the context of the exchange), there is no "thief" class.
posted by Edison Carter at 8:17 AM on June 26, 2012


There's also the attempt to pickpocket from the trolls, stealing the keys from the wood elves (not to mention a ton of food over the weeks they were imprisoned), and stealing the cup from Smaug.

He was hired to be a burglar (AKA expert treasure hunter). Get off the man's back.
posted by Edison Carter at 8:18 AM on June 26, 2012


::ahem:: And all those potatoes and cabbages from Farmer McCreary?
posted by lazaruslong at 8:18 AM on June 26, 2012


They don't backstab

Strictly-speaking, since Bilbo was invisible during the fight with the spiders, he would have gotten his backstab bonus to each attack, at least according to 3E/Pathfinder rules.

they don't climb walls

Getting up to the pass of Cirith Ungol probably necessitated a climb check or two.

He was hired to be a burglar (AKA expert treasure hunter). Get off the man's back.

There's no moral judgment here. I'm supporting the notion that "hobbits are the thief class of Middle Earth."
posted by jedicus at 8:20 AM on June 26, 2012


Because "hobbits" are not mentioned in First Edition. Halflings are.

Only because they were worried that if they used "hobbit" they'd get sued, so they used the more generic "halfling" (which is also used in Tolkien's books). Apart from the name they are exactly the same.

And within the context of the Lord of the Rings (which was the context of the exchange), there is no "thief" class.

The context was the crossover between the Lord of the Rings and Dungeons & Dragons.
posted by jedicus at 8:23 AM on June 26, 2012


Hobbits are totally the thief class of Middle Earth.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:25 AM on June 26, 2012


Other than some superficial elements, D&D is not overly inspired by Tolkien. Characters in classic D&D are not really heroes so much as mercenaries, or layabouts, or random jerks with a sword, or power hungry greedy people.

The preferred term is "freelance murder hobos."

Anyway, D&D and Tolkien do not fit well together, as we have discussed previously.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:26 AM on June 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hobbits are totally the thief class of Middle Earth.

THAT'S RACIST
posted by Edison Carter at 8:28 AM on June 26, 2012


The preferred term is "freelance murder hobos."

Love this.
posted by Edison Carter at 8:29 AM on June 26, 2012


The first film is vastly improved by the director's cut.
They remember to give the Dwarf a name and stuff.


That was one of my two favorite parts of watching the non-director's-cut: the dwarf just suddenly showing up. Not even "showing up" but just suddenly being there with the party when he hadn't before.

The second was the DVD commentary, which featured like clockwork every few minutes, the director going on about how they wanted to include this other scene but couldn't because of "budget and pacing" and wanted to polish up the effects here but, sadly, "budget and pacing" and budget and pacing and budget and pacing. To this day, the friends I watched it with and I can make each other giggle by adding a "...but budget and pacing," when we make any excuse for anything at each other.
posted by Drastic at 8:30 AM on June 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh this film looks like a lot of fun. Sure, it may not be A grade acting and special effects. But neither was Krull and you loved that movie, didn't you? Didn't you?

I'm a little creeped out at 0:40 in the trailer by the boy slowing panning his eyes down his dad's naked body while saying "I've seen horrors, father".

I have much love for Mazes and Monsters. But that's a movie about Christian mothers, not about D&D. As for a Tomb of Horrors movie, they already made it, although it had a little too much Sartre in the mix.
posted by Nelson at 8:37 AM on June 26, 2012


Don't forget the Hobbit grave robbing in Fellowship!
posted by Atreides at 8:42 AM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hobbits in Middle Earth are kind of like kender, now that I think about it. Well-intentioned and accidental in their thievery.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:52 AM on June 26, 2012


COMING SOON TO THEATERS NEAR YOU

YOUNG MAN (V/O):
The plague spread like lightning across
a dry summer sky. Person-to-person.

fade in: bodies sprawled on a hill,
piled several deep. screaming, muted.
the camera tilts up…


V/O:
One touch and it's over. You're alive
but by then you're not even human.

…to reveal more bodies, but less
densely piled. past the hill, silhouetted
against a sunset hidden beneath a
stormy sky, silhouettes panicking and
running everywhere.


V/O:
You're it.

in their midst, eight feet tall, fanged,
ridges running down its shadowy back…
something. The new "it".


YOUNG WOMAN V/O:
What's the cure?

cut: hot young man and hot young
woman talking over a Starbucks counter.


YOUNG MAN:

(grim laugh)

Cure?

(weary smile)

At that point, it's a mercy if you find
yourself dead.

quick cuts of claws slashing, people
screaming, flesh mutating into something
resembling igneous rock.


YOUNG MAN V/O:
And once you've been tagged, there's only
one way out.

cut back to Starbucks. he shoves her.
she falls off her stool. a shot of her face,
hurt, wounded… scared.


YOUNG MAN:
Till then… you run.

THIS SUMMER

lots of quick cuts of people running.
occasional screams. that horrible "it" is
fucking shit up in a big way.


SCHOOL'S OUT

young woman takes off her shirt.
possibly some kissy-lips. quick shot of
a dork with a big adam's apple: he will
be the comic relief.


BUT RECESS IS JUST BEGINNING

final shot: a shopping mall, bodies everywhere,
the woman running on top of them.

YOUNG WOMAN:
MAAAAAAAAARK!

TAG: THE MOVIE

SUMMER 2013

THIS TIME,
THERE ARE NO TAGBACKS

posted by Rory Marinich at 9:01 AM on June 26, 2012 [17 favorites]


I have been playing D&D for 34 years and I have no idea where you're getting this from. I've played lawful good paladins fighitng to save towns of innocents before 2E existed and I've played neutral evil sorcerers blowing up those towns of innocents in 3.5.

I get it from the books! And the opinions of a good number of old-school gaming blogs. I could be wrong but I don't think so.

You can play classic D&D as a hero sure, Lawful Good is an alignment, but so is Chaotic Evil, and a lot of other ones too. That's my point: Tolkien's protagonists are all definitely heroes, but D&D does not require you to be one, and many PCs would be out of place in that kind of White-and-Black world. It's during 2E that evil PCs, while not forbidden, became kind of frowned upon: [...]"some people choose to play evil alignments. Although there is no specific prohibition against this, there are several reasons why it is not a good idea. First, the AD&D game is a game of heroic fantasy. What is heroic about being a villain?" (2E revised Player's Handbook, near end of page 66)

About the original movie: I saw it in theaters, and was "inspired" to write something about it over at Everything2. It's painful for me to read now even though it has some good lines in it: "Our hapless heroes offend a Star Trek alien then find the Thieves' Guild. It is there where Foreshadowed Boy must play medieval Double Dare in a moderately challenging Zelda dungeon, complete with spikes, eye symbols and flame throwers, to get the Red Sparkly." Well, cut me some slack, it was twelve years ago.
posted by JHarris at 9:03 AM on June 26, 2012


I would totally watch The 10' by 10' Room.

"Oh hiii, Vecna."

But neither was Krull and you loved that movie, didn't you? Didn't you?

I loved Krull a lot more as a movie extrapolated from twenty-five year old memories of a coloring/activity book than I did as an actual movie I finally watched a year or two ago. There was way too much schmalz and reluctant heroism and way too little slicing dudes up with that awesome five-pointed shuriken frisbee thing. Which is not apparently called Krull. Which is bullshit.
posted by cortex at 9:10 AM on June 26, 2012


I know they pushed back the new GI Joe movie, but I didn't think Destro would be so hard up for work that he'd be in this.
posted by nushustu at 9:12 AM on June 26, 2012


Well of course the five-pointed shuriken frisbee isn't called a Krull. Krull is the Big Bad! The shuriken frisbee is The Glaive, because it so closely resembles an 8' long polearm. Historical accuracy is not Krull's strong suit. (Bonus link: Krull for Atari 2600 video.)
posted by Nelson at 9:23 AM on June 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Missing the SnarkTarget tag (though MST3K may be synonymous).
posted by Mooski at 9:29 AM on June 26, 2012


AP RELEASE: Rory Marinich, a user of the internet blog, Metafilter, just signed a contract to develop a movie based on the children's game of tag. Marinich is part of a growing trend of mining website comments for production material. Past lucky internet commentators include BlstWve69, for "Pull My Finger" and BronyPony4U's exciting pitch, "Horsie."
posted by Atreides at 9:37 AM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jeremy Irons shouts and blusters and gobbles down scenery and when "Cut!" is yelled, he stalks off set without a word. One imagines he heads back out for another round of screaming at his agent. I would pay at LEAST a large plate of cookies for a gif of this.

Also, I really want someone to do an audio overlay track of these films, with the actual voices of the players in the game. "Ok, so.. (roll roll) Jake, er I mean, Snails, you fail to spot the trap! The carpet is a sticky trap and catches you!" "Fuck! Man, I have the worst luck--!"
posted by The otter lady at 9:37 AM on June 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


SCENE 1: THE VILLAGE SQUARE

A HOODED FIGURE enters from the south or north. the camera is behind him so we don't see his face. also the hood keeps us from seeing the back of his head. he's carrying something. it might be a sheet of parchment.

children are playing in the street with old toys. wheels and sticks and stuff like that. adults are doing work stuff, like carrying bales and hitting things with tools. the HOODED FIGURE approaches one of them.

HOODED FIGURE: Pardon me good sir, I seek a person of note for whom I have carried this note from a person of some import in lands far from these.

ok, yeah it was a sheet of parchment. he's holding it up now to the person he's talking to whose name is SMITH.

SMITH: A person of note, eh? Don't know that we have any of those round these parts. Just who is it ye're seeking then, stranger?

HOODED FIGURE hands the parchment over to SMITH

HOODED FIGURE: Here is the note.

SMITH: Lllllll... LllZzzzufffguh... wait, what's this apostrophe supposed to mean?

HOODED FIGURE: I believe it's a glottal stop.

SMITH: how do you pronounce that?

HOODED FIGURE: I don't think you do.

SMITH: Then what's it there for?

HOODED FIGURE: Is there someone else who might know pronunciation for such exotic tongues as those on yon parchment?

SMITH: Well, this here's a small village, stranger. Learnin's not really our thing. But let's ask Old Hestor. He has a high INT.

HOODED FIGURE and SMITH walk across the square, North by Southwest, toward an older man hunched over a wheelbarrow.

SMITH: The name's Smith, by the way. I'm the village cobbler.

HOODED FIGURE: I'm Harvey.

They reach the older man.

SMITH: Hestor, I'd like you to meet Harvey. 'e's brought a note for someone, but we can't make out who it is. thought maybe you could give'er a look and see if you can decipher the strange scrawlings scrawled on yon sheet o' foolscappery.

HESTOR: Well the eyesight's none too good these days. Whyn't ye spell 'er out for an old man, eh?

SMITH regards yon foolscap.

SMITH: L, another L, ZTH, a 'postrophe, NGRGN, O REAOULNGZ

HESTOR hesitates. He gets a faraway look in his eyes, as though Fate itself were weighing his natural intelligence against the chance that he'd be capable of puzzling out a previously unencountered dialect. Presently he smiles.

HESTOR: Ah! That's Lawrence Cooper. The miller's boy.

HARVEY: That's how you spell Lawrence Cooper?

HESTOR: Unless I failed my check, yes.
posted by shmegegge at 9:38 AM on June 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


How the hell could any group sit around the gaming table and roleplay as a Thrall of Juiblex, whose every pore oozes a different slime and disease?

but there is so much more goo source material


Brought to you by the writers of Prometheus?
posted by Phalene at 9:42 AM on June 26, 2012


Interesting to see the Shadow from The Armageddon Factor make appearance.

I have to ask. Is this actually the safe for work trailer for one of those high budget story based porn films I've been hearing about lately?
posted by juiceCake at 9:43 AM on June 26, 2012


I can't see anyone being able to do a faithful, good version of Tomb of Horrors. By the looks of this, aside from LotR, I doubt Hollywood could even competently run with a D&D style concept as simple as "Gelatinous Cube Eats Village".
posted by chambers at 9:43 AM on June 26, 2012


Re: "I've traveled to the floor of the pit of my own free will."

What are you thinking when you write a line like that? "If I keep putting more words in, maybe it will become meaningful?"
posted by RobotHero at 10:05 AM on June 26, 2012


Prometheus as an RPG
posted by brilliantmistake at 10:06 AM on June 26, 2012


The true Dungeons and Dragons movie has already been made. In fact, there were three of them, in a film trilogy called The Lord of the Rings, directed by Peter Jackson.
Other than some superficial elements, D&D is not overly inspired by Tolkien.



Just like the Lord of the Rings movies!

/grumbles
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:51 AM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some games just weren't meant to be made into films. I'm looking at you, tag.

Yeah, I've never really gotten the concept of a D&D movie. The cartoon sorta made sense as the adventures could be episodic, but a movie needs some cohesion.

And the thing about D&D is that it varied wildly from DM to DM. One player's experience with D&D might be much different than mine.

Anyway, yeah, this movie looks absolutely horrible. I lasted about 30 seconds.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:58 AM on June 26, 2012


[Still waiting for MASTERMIND: THE MOVIE.]
posted by newdaddy at 11:22 AM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dungeons and Dragons is an historic role-playing game

Oh god, another stunt post.
posted by pickinganameismuchharderthanihadanticipated at 11:27 AM on June 26, 2012


Yeah, I've never really gotten the concept of a D&D movie.

The thing is - as a genre, ahistorical fantasy has kind of gotten the shaft.

On the one hand, you have LadyHawke, Conan, The Beastmaster, Legend, Labyrinth as pretty decent movies. Hell, even throw in Highlander or The Name of the Rose for good measure. There are a few more, but, there aren't like dozens.

But then you have dismal failures like Dragonslayer, Willow, Krull... The list goes on forever.

My point is that there have been far more and better Sci-Fi and RomComs made than this sort of Fantasy, and there doesn't seem to be a reason that is tied to the genre so much as it is tied to Hollywood's failures.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:40 AM on June 26, 2012


My point is that there have been far more and better Sci-Fi and RomComs made than this sort of Fantasy, and there doesn't seem to be a reason that is tied to the genre so much as it is tied to Hollywood's failures.

Fantasy and Period Pieces are more expensive to make because costuming, sets, special effects, etc drive the cost through the roof. it's a gamble. also, lol at Beastmaster being good but willow being bad.
posted by shmegegge at 11:41 AM on June 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's funny how fantasy is so seldom done well in Hollywood, when prose authors have been banging them out for more than a hundred years. I think it has something to do with directors. A big part of what makes fantasy successful is the emotions invoked by the setting: usually some kind of exotic, fascinating world of adventure. To get that in a movie you need a director with a strong visual style, the money to let them put what they want on screen, and sufficient running time to build up the world. Modern movies don't seem to emphasize these things.
posted by Kevin Street at 12:05 PM on June 26, 2012


Wow, you just said Labryrinth is Better than Willow.


...you just said that.
posted by lumpenprole at 12:06 PM on June 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


The only bad thing about Willow is Willow's friend who wimps out and goes home.

...and maybe the baby.


...and definitely Lucas' decision to KILL EVERYONE OFF AT THE START OF THE BOOK SEQUEL.
posted by Atreides at 1:10 PM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


[mutters something and goes back to chewing on blackroot]
posted by Atreides at 1:12 PM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


The thing is - as a genre, ahistorical fantasy has kind of gotten the shaft.

Uh, Game of Thrones? Lord of the Rings? Harry Potter?

Or am I misunderstanding the genre?

Hell, even throw in Highlander or The Name of the Rose for good measure.

I guess I am confused. I'd call those historical fantasies. ... now I'm think "ahistorical" was a typo ... doh.

On the flip side, what no Excalibur? Or Inglourious Basterds?
posted by mrgrimm at 1:22 PM on June 26, 2012


It's funny how fantasy is so seldom done well in Hollywood

I'm not buying this. Donnie Darko, LOTR, Batman, Planet of the Apes, Being John Malkovich. "Hollywood" makes all sorts of fantastic fantasy movies. I didn't see it, but a lot of people liked Avatar. And Twilight.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:25 PM on June 26, 2012


Well, high fantasy then. Though Game of Thrones is certainly doing well right now. When done right, LOTR style high fantasy can be tremendously popular.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:31 PM on June 26, 2012


I wouldn't call Game of Thrones high fantasy, not even in terms of the state one should be in to appreciate it best. Too much moral ambiguity.
posted by JHarris at 2:22 PM on June 26, 2012


The D&D movies always felt like I was in a campaign whose DM was forcing me to play a certain way. Other fantasy or sci-fi films can do really well, but I think I've always considered them as standalone stories that I read or watch. D&D was always a participatory thing for me, so to have someone come along and tell me "This is the story we will craft" and then cut out the "we" part is what I think makes it so wrong.
posted by CancerMan at 2:30 PM on June 26, 2012


I wouldn't call Game of Thrones high fantasy, not even in terms of the state one should be in to appreciate it best. Too much moral ambiguity.

"High fantasy" has always seemed to me to refer to the stakes than the morals being bandied about by the characters. High fantasy involves nobles, kings, the ruling class, and it usually relates to the fate of kingdoms or (at the extreme) the world itself.

Low fantasy, aka "swords and sorcery," is focused on lower-class/criminal protagonists (assassins, mercenary barbarians, etc.) who are trying to survive in a world they cannot control or effectively change, and if they deal with world-changing events it is only incidentally and by accidentally stumbling onto history's stage, so to speak.
posted by AdamCSnider at 2:42 PM on June 26, 2012


These movies almost make me too embarrassed to admit that I still love D&D
posted by Golem XIV at 3:11 PM on June 26, 2012


This is a movie aimed at Juggalos, right?
posted by Burhanistan at 3:16 PM on June 26, 2012


I wouldn't touch it with a 10' pole.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:20 PM on June 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Hopefully this one will have ridiculous metagame comments like the first one.

"Dwarves hate horses!"
posted by zinful at 3:52 PM on June 26, 2012


demiurge: "I saw the original in the theater as well. Totally worth it for the beholder scene."

That poor beholder, the glorious Eye Tyrant reduced to a guard dog.
posted by the_artificer at 4:29 PM on June 26, 2012


I mean this one runs one of the largest criminal organizations in the Forgotten Realms.
posted by the_artificer at 4:52 PM on June 26, 2012


Fantasy and Period Pieces are more expensive to make because costuming, sets, special effects, etc drive the cost through the roof.

I wonder about that though, since a lot of the wuxia movies I've been watching lately are costume dramas of various eras and levels of 'magic', and it seems like an awful lot of Chinese film efforts have the budget for a hundred extras in fourteenth century brocade. And while the region is home ot a lot of bulk manufacturing, I imagine cost scale with the local economy.
posted by Phalene at 4:58 PM on June 26, 2012


It's probably like how America used to make a lot of westerns. The costumes, sets and props were there from previous movies, so making more westerns was relatively cheap to do.
posted by Kevin Street at 5:13 PM on June 26, 2012


Forgotten Realms?
*pish*
Greyhawk for life, yo.
(Or Blackmoor. Or Krynn).

good source material: like The Crystal Shard for example.
I read The Crystal Shard when it came out, and the follow-up books, and some of the Drizzt solo books at some later stage.
They're not awful, but I recall the Icewind Dale trilogy being pretty by-the-numbers, although I suspect much of D&D fiction follows similar tropes.

But I suspect even the worst is better written than this D&D film.
posted by Mezentian at 5:50 PM on June 26, 2012


I think I was in fifth grade when someone lent me "Greyhawk: Saga of the Old City." That was my introduction to D&D and I've been fond of the Greyhawk setting ever since but none of the groups I ever played with used it.
posted by the_artificer at 6:01 PM on June 26, 2012


I absolutely cannot be the only person who saw this, immediately thought it was fan-made, and then saw the dude in the mask and thought "JON IRENICUS" can I? Can I?
posted by smoke at 6:56 PM on June 26, 2012


immediately thought it was fan-made,

I have seen Star Wars fan films with better everything.
posted by Mezentian at 8:07 PM on June 26, 2012


Really? Hate for the second one? The first one was painful, but the second one actually felt like D&D. Sure, it wasn't a great movie, but it actually did feel like something that could occure in a D&D game. Also, the writers had obviously played, due to all the small shout outs: Ring of the Ram, Fire Mephite, and such.
posted by Canageek at 8:17 PM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


AdamCSnider: ""High fantasy" has always seemed to me to refer to the stakes than the morals being bandied about by the characters. High fantasy involves nobles, kings, the ruling class, and it usually relates to the fate of kingdoms or (at the extreme) the world itself.

Low fantasy, aka "swords and sorcery," is focused on lower-class/criminal protagonists (assassins, mercenary barbarians, etc.) who are trying to survive in a world they cannot control or effectively change, and if they deal with world-changing events it is only incidentally and by accidentally stumbling onto history's stage, so to speak.
"

It was my understanding that "high fantasy" takes place in fictional parallel worlds (ie, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, etc.), whereas "low fantasy" takes places in something like our world but with fantastical elements (Harry Potter perhaps? I'm not sure.) I'm not a big fantasy fan, so I could be wrong.
posted by brundlefly at 11:08 PM on June 26, 2012


High Fantasy is fiction where world building is a big part of the appeal. There's usually a lot of travelling and big stakes like the fate of the world at risk. Sword And Sorcery is more visceral. It can be set in alternate worlds, but the main focus of the story is the exciting stuff that's happening to the main character, and the stakes are usually (but not always) less than global. The boundaries between sub-genres are pretty soft, though.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:47 AM on June 27, 2012


due to all the small shout outs: Ring of the Ram, Fire MephiteMeFite, and such.

Sorry. I felt it needed doing.

for the kids
posted by Mezentian at 2:00 AM on June 27, 2012


I was wondering about this high vs low discussion and found on the almighty Wikipedia:

High and low fantasy are distinguished as being set, respectively, in an alternative "secondary" world or in the real "primary" world. In many works, the distinction between whether the setting is the primary or secondary world, and therefore whether it is low or high fantasy, can be unclear. The secondary world may take three forms.[4] Nikki Gamble defines three characteristics of high fantasy as:

1. Primary does not exist (e.g. Discworld, The Wheel of Time, and Dungeons & Dragons)
2. Entered through a portal from the primary world (e.g. Alice in Wonderland, The Dark Tower, and The Chronicles of Narnia)
3. World-within-a-world (e.g. Harry Potter, American Gods, and The Gods of Pegāna)


Also:
Low fantasy has been defined as "nonrational happenings that are without casuality or rationality because they occur in the rational world where such things are not supposed to occur."[1]

High fantasy is defined as fantasy fiction set in an alternative, entirely fictional ("secondary") world, rather than the real, or "primary" world.

Looks like it's about setting more than anything else.
posted by Edison Carter at 7:32 AM on June 27, 2012


Debauchery for its own sake can happen in either.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:22 AM on June 27, 2012


Curiously, my introduction to Fafhrd & the Grey Mouser came from an early edition of Deities and Demigods which had a chapter on the "gods" of that franchise. But there's a lot about D&D that I find pretty incompatible with Tolkien. A part of Tolkien's brilliance is that the implicit monotheistic spiritualism ties almost everything together. Most of the "magic" you see can be interpreted as either an act of faith or the consequences of a loss of faith. That probably contributes a good bit to the ability to adapt Hobbit and LotR to screen. D&D doesn't really have much of a unifying narrative under it.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 8:27 AM on June 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


After reading the glorious Wikipedia entry on slapstick film I'm reluctant to rely on Wikipedia for genre definitions, but Edison Carter's quote is closer to my understanding of "high fantasy."

Though I can see the appeal of defining genres by the scale. A civil war story and a Western aren't the same thing, even if they're in the same time and place and involve a lot of shooting.

Do any writers self-identify as "low fantasy?" You hear a lot of "urban fantasy" or "I wouldn't call it fantasy because there's no elves or dragons. I just asked, 'what if vampires were real?'"

"Sword and sorcery" is remarkably unpretentious. It would be like writing "lasers and aliens" fiction.
posted by RobotHero at 12:53 PM on June 27, 2012


RobotHero: "After reading the glorious Wikipedia entry on slapstick film I'm reluctant to rely on Wikipedia for genre definitions..."

I know when I think of slapstick I think of "zooms to confuse the audience."
posted by brundlefly at 1:32 PM on June 27, 2012


Do any writers self-identify as "low fantasy?"

I'm a pretty avid fantasy reader and I've never heard the term self-applied, or indeed widely applied in all my years of reading across the genre.
posted by smoke at 3:25 PM on June 27, 2012


I cannot parse "I have traveled to the floor of the pit of my own free will". Is it like in The Wicker Man: "you have come to the appointed place of your own free will"? As in "I have traveled to the floor of The Pit, of my own free will." or "Of my own free will, I have traveled to the floor of The Pit."

Or does his free will have a pit in it, and then he in this pit, specifically the floor of it, and then he... I don't know. If this is the correct parsing, it's probably a metaphor, but I don't know for what. Like he was in the bad part (a pit) of a good thing (free will), which be... maybe the pit in free will would be [not free will], which would be destiny, maybe? He traveled to his destiny? which would be what everybody does to their destiny anyways.

I think it's the first way. I can totally picture playing D&D and saying "I have graphed the map of the floor of The Pit, of my own free will."
posted by BurnChao at 7:35 PM on June 27, 2012


"I have traveled to the floor of the pit of my own. Free willy!
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 7:59 PM on June 27, 2012


Canageek: "Really? Hate for the second one? The first one was painful, but the second one actually felt like D&D. Sure, it wasn't a great movie, but it actually did feel like something that could occure in a D&D game. Also, the writers had obviously played, due to all the small shout outs: Ring of the Ram, Fire Mephite, and such."

Yeah, the second one may not be great literature, but then neither are most RPG sessions, and it is very true to a lot of D&D sessions.

In addition to The Gamers, I'm also a huge fan of THAC0, which gets RPGs down almost perfectly and is quite well written.
posted by jiawen at 8:08 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


They need to do a D&D movie like this.
posted by the_artificer at 2:48 AM on June 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


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