The next D&D movie...


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phantom1592 wrote:
If you are going to use the name "Dungeons and Dragons' then it has to be BETTER then the other things out there.

It doesn't have to be better, but it does have to be at least as good, a high bar given what Jackson has done with the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit movies, and it has to be distinctly D&D while not losing the general audience. The first part could be done, but the second part is going to be the sticking point. Given how many readers of the novels probably don't associate them with D&D, a movie is going to have similar problems, but on an even larger scale due to the inherent time limits and challenges of a large ensemble cast.


sunshadow21 wrote:
phantom1592 wrote:
If you are going to use the name "Dungeons and Dragons' then it has to be BETTER then the other things out there.
It doesn't have to be better, but it does have to be at least as good, a high bar given what Jackson has done with the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit movies, and it has to be distinctly D&D while not losing the general audience. The first part could be done, but the second part is going to be the sticking point. Given how many readers of the novels probably don't associate them with D&D, a movie is going to have similar problems, but on an even larger scale due to the inherent time limits and challenges of a large ensemble cast.

Nah....

Marvel can do it. That just shows it can be done. The average movie audience isn't going to really care what the name of a spell is, or why the flames come out of the hands in certain fan shape or whatever. They aren't going to be lost if the guy giving them information is a famous npc or a random bartender

People go see fantasy movies all the time. Most of these movies have some kind of rules to their magic, history of their kingdom, something that is told in flashbacks or conversation. This doesn't get nitpicked to death when it DOESN'T mean anything... so it shouldn't be an issue if it DOES mean something.

Tossing out little names like Candlekeep or Waterdeep or Mirt or Elminster or Wulfgar can become the cute little easter eggs that the fans will get a kick out of, just the same way it is in the Marvel movies when they drop a name like Erskine's formula or Happy Hogan.

I'm a pretty big Comic fan and I have enjoyed all the marvel shows so far. however, I knew absolutely NOTHING about Guardians of the Galaxy. The Space stuff never meant much to me in marvel universe (Green lantern is a differnet story....)

Most of the easter eggs in that show were above my head. Did NOT stop me from enjoying the show immensely.

The thing is ONLY the fans will be able to tell if something is 'distinctly' D&D. A non fan won't be able to tell the difference between 'D&D magic' or 'Just the way they do magic in this movie....' Harry potter, Dragonheart, Excalibur, Lord of the Rings... All vastly different worlds with its own rules. Shouldn't be an issue to actual USE a set that's already written down.

Sovereign Court

They should make a fantasy version of 7 samurai. Now that would be freaking awesome.


phantom1592 wrote:
stuff

Oh I agree...using elements like the setting, races, etc are all pretty good ideas for Making a D&D movie. That's just using existing world building elements, which are required for a fantasy movie anyway.

I am just saying that the story, characters, and use of setting will matter more than emulating D&D mechanics, or just having one enormous dungeon crawl.

You bring up Guardians of the Galaxy, but what made that movie a success wasn't all the Easter eggs to the Marvel Universe, but the great characters. Had tehy slipped up there, it didn't matter how many times we saw Howard the Duck, the movie would have flopped.

If anything, the message from the MCU is that story and characters come first. Don't make comic book movies, make space operas, political thrillers, and fantasy movies that just happen to feature characters from the comics.


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Hama wrote:

They should make a fantasy version of 7 samurai. Now that would be freaking awesome.

I agree it would be awesome, but it runs the risk of being remembered as "That 'allegedly' d&d movie that ripped off 7 samurai instead of being original. We thought the idea of role-playing was to create your own story?"

No matter how good the execution, it would have that hanging over it - the idea that it was copying in some way. IMHO of course!

One thing I think they need to focus really hard on is the team-work aspect. Remember the scene at the start of Thor: The Dark World where the Asgardians are fighting that army? And Thor is confronted by the big guy? Well, in my vision of the D&D Movie, Sif and the Warriors Three, along with Thor, take that dude on together, with similar results to the film, but based on the actions of everyone together are better than the sum of their parts (or something like that), rather than one guy doing all the heavy lifting (so to speak :-)).

The audience needs to feel that "Wow! These guys are awesome when they work together!" and then we spend the rest of the movie with the Big Bad keeping them disorganised so they can't effectively counter his plans. Well, up to the final 3rd act, that is! :-)


phantom1592 wrote:

Marvel can do it. That just shows it can be done. The average movie audience isn't going to really care what the name of a spell is, or why the flames come out of the hands in certain fan shape or whatever. They aren't going to be lost if the guy giving them information is a famous npc or a random bartender

---

The thing is ONLY the fans will be able to tell if something is 'distinctly' D&D. A non fan won't be able to tell the difference between 'D&D magic' or 'Just the way they do magic in this movie....' Harry potter, Dragonheart, Excalibur, Lord of the Rings... All vastly different worlds with its own rules. Shouldn't be an issue to actual USE a set that's already written down.

These two statements show the biggest challenge that increasingly Marvel movies and any D&D movie would have.

Every Marvel movie adds to the little bits of stuff that fans of the Marvel movies expect to see that make it a Marvel movie vs a generic superhero movie. Marvel is reaching a point where it is becoming harder to make a movie that gives the little easter eggs veteran viewers expect while keeping the story and characters clear enough for new viewers who haven't seen the previous Marvel movies. They've done a good job so far, but already with Avengers, I could see cracks starting to show; the story was clear, but there was an assumption that you already knew all the main characters, so all character development was focused on becoming a team. If someone didn't already know all the characters and their background and personalities, much of the dialogue between the characters would lost on them. And that's only going to get worse as more movies are made. Less and less time is going to be able to be spent on back story, making it harder for a brand new viewer to understand what's going on.

A D&D movie would have that problem from the very start. Existing fans would be expecting Elminster to be the bartender and Drizzt to be the random bar patron if he wasn't one of the main characters and the movie was set in FR. New viewers wouldn't notice and would likely still treat it as a generic fantasy movie, even if someone like Drizzt was the main focus. It is a very difficult line to walk to create a fantasy movie that is distinctly and recognizably D&D without going into territory that would make the casual movie viewer lose interest. D&D has very few ways aside from the rules to distinguish itself from generic fantasy, and using a well known setting could turn off as many existing fans as it excites while not doing much to help brand recognition. A lot of people read Drizzt novels that don't realize the connection between that character and D&D.

Shadow Lodge

phantom1592 wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
I don't think you necessarily need Drizzt, or 1:1 adoption of mechanics, or making it a big live-action dungeon-crawl, for it to be successful.
I think that would be more apt to make it UNsuccessful.

I'm not sure. D&D and 'Generic Fantasy' are so easily interchangeable. The core rules are DESIGNED to be as generic as possible so that every table can create their own world.

If you do NOT have the 'magic missles' or the 'Bigby hands' and things that actually ARE D&D, then what is the point? We don't want to see a movie where the wizard blasts someone... those are everywhere. We want to see a wizard use a spell that OUR wizards have and we can see if the special effects match up with how we saw it in our heads.

I meant more along the lines of something like a wizard cast a big, huge, amazing spell earlier in the day...but later on it would ALSO be useful, and suddenly he can't cast it anymore. I think that would be a bit jarring to the general moviegoer. Hell, in an actual movie, it would be jarring to me, and I've played D&D for over 30 years.


Not if it's set up properly in advance.

I don't expect Iron Man to always use his expensive missile trick to solve every problem repeatedly, because I see the missiles used up... and even if I didn't, I understand that missiles are a limited resource.

A simple explanation that the wizard only has so much magic to go around is readily accepted enough.

Even without that, it's not inherently going to be a problem. Gandalf didn't use his spells all the time, and it wasn't jarring. It fit with the flow of the narrative well enough that he didn't always do so.


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Yeah, I think that's easily handled with a brief explanation, maybe a bit of a planning session or something.That's a bit of what might help distinguish D&D from generic fantasy without delving into rules minutia.

Another thought is just high magic in general. Most of the recent fantasy movies have been relatively low magic or at least low protagonist caster magic. (Harry Potter aside.)
Wizards tend to be enigmatic mentor types who don't do a lot of actual combat stuff to give the real fighter heroes room to shine. If a D&D movie can emulate mid-level party dynamics where the spell casters really get to shine, but don't yet overshadow the thugs, that could be a way to stand out.


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Tacticslion wrote:

Not if it's set up properly in advance.

I don't expect Iron Man to always use his expensive missile trick to solve every problem repeatedly, because I see the missiles used up... and even if I didn't, I understand that missiles are a limited resource.

A simple explanation that the wizard only has so much magic to go around is readily accepted enough.

Even without that, it's not inherently going to be a problem. Gandalf didn't use his spells all the time, and it wasn't jarring. It fit with the flow of the narrative well enough that he didn't always do so.

They did it in the Dragonlance Cartoon a couple years ago. Raistlin cast a sleep spell or something, and then later they asked if he could do it again. He quickly said no. Wizards have limited amount of magic that needs to be prepared and they need rest...

Honestly, limits and explainations are probably GOOD for a movie. Otherwise you end up with the 'non-fans' going on about 'why didn't they just fly the eagles all the way to mount doom in the first place.....' or 'who needs a team if Superman is already on there...'

Once a wizard is shown to have vast power... there better be a mechanic to explain why he doesn't just solve ALL the problems.


Quote:
Considering that the first two Dungeons & Dragons films were released in 2000 and 2005, respectively (in other words, the first developed when TSR owned D&D, the second developed during the 3.0/early 3.5 days) and were both widely panned, I think you might have a case of rose-colored-glasses-itis.

TSR flogged off the movie rights to some random unproven dude in 1991 for $15K. Neither TSR nor WotC nor Hasbro had any control whatsoever over the first two movies, and have only had legal recourse to go after the movie rights since the debacle surrounding the third film's release two years ago.

WotC and Hasbo seethed over the quality level of the movies, make absolutely no mistake over that. They heavily disliked them, but had no choice but to back them for the marketing tie-in opportunities.


More or less my point exactly. (Although that wasn't really a great movie.)


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At its heart, the problem is that a ruleset is something you apply to a story, not a story in itself. To make a Dungeons & Dragons movie is not going to work until you put something more to it.


I agree Sissyl.

You could make a good fantasy movie in a D&D setting, but not a good 'D&D movie".

Dark Archive

maybe they just need to lift one of the old adventures and turn it into a movie, like temple of elemental evil or against the giants...


One has too much story for 90 minutes, the other not much of a story at all :p


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Sissyl wrote:
At its heart, the problem is that a ruleset is something you apply to a story, not a story in itself. To make a Dungeons & Dragons movie is not going to work until you put something more to it.

But that said, there's got to be something that makes it a D&D movie rather than just a fantasy movie.

Obviously, it needs good story, engaging characters, cool fight scenes and all that. I agree it doesn't need to slavishly follow the rules set , but what distinguishes good fantasy movie from good D&D movie?


Shifty wrote:
One has too much story for 90 minutes, the other not much of a story at all :p

Fantasy epics are at least 2 hours these day :)

I did suggest up thread that a tv series might be better for a full 1 to 20 campaign arc.

For a movie you've got to be a bit more focused.


What rules set is Game of Thrones running with?


Shifty wrote:

What rules set is Game of Thrones running with?

A variant of the one in Martin's head.

Is that a complete non-sequitor or am I missing something?


thejeff wrote:


Is that a complete non-sequitor or am I missing something?

It was making the point that the 'good fantasy' out there is not somehow linked to a set of rules mechanics. I just can't see how you could have a good 'D&D' movie that is tied into a rules set.

I think you could take the settings and some of lit as a start point, but then you need to just toss so much out its no longer D&D. "Low fantasy" is where it is at, epic spellslinging high end stuff is just a CGI festival. Michael Bay would love it, and Uwe Boll is just waiting to get his hands on it too.

The Lord of the Rings movies were based on the books (based on..based on..) but in no way shape or form constrained or shaped themselves on the LOTR RPG.


Shifty wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Is that a complete non-sequitor or am I missing something?

It was making the point that the 'good fantasy' out there is not somehow linked to a set of rules mechanics. I just can't see how you could have a good 'D&D' movie that is tied into a rules set.

I think you could take the settings and some of lit as a start point, but then you need to just toss so much out its no longer D&D. "Low fantasy" is where it is at, epic spellslinging high end stuff is just a CGI festival. Michael Bay would love it, and Uwe Boll is just waiting to get his hands on it too.

The Lord of the Rings movies were based on the books (based on..based on..) but in no way shape or form constrained or shaped themselves on the LOTR RPG.

Well obviously. They were based on the books not the game. (That particular game was at least partly based on the movies, iirc.)

I actually think high fantasy spellslinging might be the niche a D&D movie could use to distinguish itself, CGI-fest or not. More than just dropping a few name and place references.
There's nothing that says you can't do good story-telling and special effects.
I guess if you want a generic low fantasy movie with Elminster playing the wise old mentor role instead of Merlin or Gandalf, you could do that.


Does a DnD movie need to define itself as being completely different from all other fantasy movies? I don't think so, or at least I don't think it needs to in order to be successful. There are lots of genres and sub-genres...what generally makes a movie stand out from other movies of its type is the directions, plot, and characters, and in genre flicks the world-building and special effects.

If they make a good movie and market it well, it will stand out. Especially since big-screen fantasy movies have been so hit and miss.


MMCJawa wrote:

Does a DnD movie need to define itself as being completely different from all other fantasy movies? I don't think so, or at least I don't think it needs to in order to be successful. There are lots of genres and sub-genres...what generally makes a movie stand out from other movies of its type is the directions, plot, and characters, and in genre flicks the world-building and special effects.

If they make a good movie and market it well, it will stand out. Especially since big-screen fantasy movies have been so hit and miss.

I would like it to have something to do with D&D other than just being a fantasy.


MMCJawa wrote:

Does a DnD movie need to define itself as being completely different from all other fantasy movies? I don't think so, or at least I don't think it needs to in order to be successful. There are lots of genres and sub-genres...what generally makes a movie stand out from other movies of its type is the directions, plot, and characters, and in genre flicks the world-building and special effects.

If they make a good movie and market it well, it will stand out. Especially since big-screen fantasy movies have been so hit and miss.

It would need to have some kind of distinguishing factor in order to build a brand. The usual way of doing this, story, is not actually a central factor of the D&D brand though. Early editions left the story up to the individual group and created many worlds they could be told in, so there's no sure fire winner there that people would recognize as distinctly D&D, and later editions with their focus on Forgotten Realms don't do a lot better because a lot of novel readers already don't see it as being even remotely related to the the rpg (I suspect Dragonlance novels have similar issues as well, especially at this point). A great movie/series of related movies would do fine, but do nothing or at best very little to help the next movie/series of related movies, and that's where the brand becomes important.

LotR and Hobbit are a clear brand; Game of Thrones is a clear brand; even Marvel was aided by a common world where crossovers were common. As someone upthread mentioned, D&D is a way to tell stories, it's not stories or worlds themselves. Ironically, PF is actually in a stronger position here than D&D despite using basically the same base, because Paizo's focus is on the world first. Even people who never play in Golarion still recognize it as "the" core world of the system, creating a recognizable and marketable brand.

Shadow Lodge

ulgulanoth wrote:
maybe they just need to lift one of the old adventures and turn it into a movie, like temple of elemental evil or against the giants...

Countdown until someone who started playing with 3.x implies that everything before that edition was mindless hack-n-slash with nothing resembling a plot has begun....


You just did...? ;p

But regardless, I've made the argument that an adventure should be the basis for conversion before. I've used the same daggum recommendation every time, not because it is The Best Evah!, but because it covers so many solid bases simultaneously: The Sons of Gruumsh.

Within, you have, as part of the story:
- skill use (information acquisition, set-up, and mystery)
- combat (random or otherwise; the random combat easily be eliminated, yet the feel is maintained)
- politics and deceit
- rescuing hostages
- defeating malevolent priests
- acquiring an important magical item
- stealth and infiltration... and outright direct assault
- betrayal and corruption
- talking creatures
- high magic rituals
- low, but flashy magic spellcasting
- others who are classified as adventurers - independents with no direct affiliation to the others or part of the main plot beyond interacting with the PCs

Eh, my list this time isn't as explanatory, but I'm tired and distracted.

Point is, it holds a lot of elements that are "classic" to D&D and D&D-style adventures - a lot of different elements that are combined to create a cohesive story. There level - four - is manageable, and the special effects, while intensive for direct spellcasting, are actually rather doable, over-all.

One of the reasons the level is important is because the mechanics are tied directly into the story (as it's currently written) in subtle ways: the difficulty of accomplishing things, how much magic or power is locally available, and the style and flow of the adventure.

Regardless, despite my myriads of notes that it would work well, it really doesn't have to be that adventure - any adventure that meets that criteria could function rather well.

Guardians of the Galaxy provides a similarly excellent template for a "get the band together" (introduce them to the audience, then each other, then go on adventure) style adventure. Star Lord was "the protagonist" of that film, yet it was clear that he relied on everyone as much as they relied on him - he became their leader by his charisma and encouragement, but ultimately they all worked together and needed each other.

Similarly, Avengers (though Avengers lacks the character-introduction and build-up that Guardians of the Galaxy had, as it relied on previous movies).

Quote:
It was making the point that the 'good fantasy' out there is not somehow linked to a set of rules mechanics. I just can't see how you could have a good 'D&D' movie that is tied into a rules set.

Than you're not looking.

Mechanics aren't a story. Mechanics can inform a story - that is direct the high and low end of the story's flow.

This is something that a lot of people don't understand.

What makes a third edition module different from a fourth edition module? Lots of things, but, due to the mechanics of it, the third edition one will presume forced retreat and rest before the other. This must be built into the story itself. Thus, the story is influenced and directed by mechanics.

A story in which casters all have limited, specific effects per day that are variable by what they prepare or what they have innately known is going to flow very differently from a story in which everyone has specific limited uses of exertion each day in order to continue forward and that has limitless use of certain magical effects. Both of these will be different from, say, anything based on second or fifth edition.

None of these are wrong. None are bad. All of them have a style and flow and subtle identity based off of the rules set they are created from.

This is important: if you can't see how rules affect a story, than you simply aren't using them to their full potential.

None of this has to say, "He expends a third level spell slot, and deals 5d6 damage!" - that's asinine.

But it can say, "I have only a few uses of such powerful magic without resting; yet my magic should be more than enough to handle those orcs! Beware, though, as the ogre may survive, and the giant certainly will - such beings are too powerful, even for my magic, to destroy entirely." ... though you probably want to be less heavy-handed in the way you do it.

Hence, you now have a story informed by mechanics, a story that has an internal consistency, and a story that gives a built-in limited variance.

All of this boils down to internal consistency.

Many people seem to hate this idea, or scoff at it, for some reason. Fair 'nough - if they wish to have their games or stories or both completely disregard the rules that keep them internally consistent, that's fine.

But lacking that internal consistency can be jarring for others.

Game of Thrones has a rules set - as mentioned above, it's the rules set that Martin has in his head. If, suddenly, Tyrion gained the skill to know how to make nuklear bombs and FTL and could fabricate the former into existence and set them off at specific targets while river-dancing, that would violate the internal consistency of the books. It would be even more jarring if one were crafted by riverdancing, and the other was crafted by a high-end social, technological, and industrial revolution. These become internally inconsistent... and inconsistent from the tone the unwritten (and unknown to us) rules that govern the world function.

Tolkien had a rules set. In his case, his rules included the fact that all supernatural effects were, in effect, part of a cosmic meta-song originally propounded and created by Iluvatar (and messed with by a greedy Vanar later, before Iluvatar fixed it). Hence, excessive magic use was typically limited, as it required tapping into the local flow of that meta-song - which was difficult - and altering it - which was difficult - both of which could cause problems. His rules included reasons for why Gandalf could come back from the dead, but Boromir couldn't. They included reasons why it took Sauron so friggin' long to come back. They included the reasons and method of corruption by the Ring.
(Though he quietly retconned those rules between his books, and it's quite noticeable.)

The rules are not a story. This has never been in dispute. But the rules do inform a story, inform its ebb, flow, and style, and inform the methods by which a story gains its identity.

It doesn't matter what rules set is used - just so long as they pick one and stick with it. It is then that they can display the subtle cues that indicate that, yes, this is built off of the franchise that is associated with the game.

If fighters have the best saves across the board
- or instead have more combat options than anyone else
- or instead have specific martial tricks they can use
- or instead have the ability to push themselves to do something amazing or ignore their wounds
... or whatever, it does not greatly matter, so long as you're consistent in saying that the fighter can do that.

This is what it means to have a story based off the rules.


thejeff wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:

Does a DnD movie need to define itself as being completely different from all other fantasy movies? I don't think so, or at least I don't think it needs to in order to be successful. There are lots of genres and sub-genres...what generally makes a movie stand out from other movies of its type is the directions, plot, and characters, and in genre flicks the world-building and special effects.

If they make a good movie and market it well, it will stand out. Especially since big-screen fantasy movies have been so hit and miss.

I would like it to have something to do with D&D other than just being a fantasy.

What would distinguish a DnD movie from a typical fantasy movie? The only distinctive elements I can think of are monsters (Mind Flayers, rust monsters, etc), Vancian magic (maybe...), and using setting elements, such as setting it in Forgotten Realms or Grayhawk, or something. Perhaps we are talking past each other. Would the use of those above elements be sufficient?


MMCJawa wrote:
thejeff wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:

Does a DnD movie need to define itself as being completely different from all other fantasy movies? I don't think so, or at least I don't think it needs to in order to be successful. There are lots of genres and sub-genres...what generally makes a movie stand out from other movies of its type is the directions, plot, and characters, and in genre flicks the world-building and special effects.

If they make a good movie and market it well, it will stand out. Especially since big-screen fantasy movies have been so hit and miss.

I would like it to have something to do with D&D other than just being a fantasy.
What would distinguish a DnD movie from a typical fantasy movie? The only distinctive elements I can think of are monsters (Mind Flayers, rust monsters, etc), Vancian magic (maybe...), and using setting elements, such as setting it in Forgotten Realms or Grayhawk, or something. Perhaps we are talking past each other. Would the use of those above elements be sufficient?

Honestly, I don't know. Forgotten Realms might, but no sure bets on that; any other lesser known worlds would be even less likely to do much. Vancian magic, if you could translate a clear description might, but getting a full description out there in way that doesn't bore the audience would be tough. Monsters would be your best bet, and even than it may not mean much to most of the audience.


sunshadow21 wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
thejeff wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:

Does a DnD movie need to define itself as being completely different from all other fantasy movies? I don't think so, or at least I don't think it needs to in order to be successful. There are lots of genres and sub-genres...what generally makes a movie stand out from other movies of its type is the directions, plot, and characters, and in genre flicks the world-building and special effects.

If they make a good movie and market it well, it will stand out. Especially since big-screen fantasy movies have been so hit and miss.

I would like it to have something to do with D&D other than just being a fantasy.
What would distinguish a DnD movie from a typical fantasy movie? The only distinctive elements I can think of are monsters (Mind Flayers, rust monsters, etc), Vancian magic (maybe...), and using setting elements, such as setting it in Forgotten Realms or Grayhawk, or something. Perhaps we are talking past each other. Would the use of those above elements be sufficient?
Honestly, I don't know. Forgotten Realms might, but no sure bets on that; any other lesser known worlds would be even less likely to do much. Vancian magic, if you could translate a clear description might, but getting a full description out there in way that doesn't bore the audience would be tough. Monsters would be your best bet, and even than it may not mean much to most of the audience.

That was what I was wondering. Because...the first DnD movie had beholders, but it didn't exactly make the movie remotely good.


MMCJawa wrote:
sunshadow21 wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
thejeff wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:

Does a DnD movie need to define itself as being completely different from all other fantasy movies? I don't think so, or at least I don't think it needs to in order to be successful. There are lots of genres and sub-genres...what generally makes a movie stand out from other movies of its type is the directions, plot, and characters, and in genre flicks the world-building and special effects.

If they make a good movie and market it well, it will stand out. Especially since big-screen fantasy movies have been so hit and miss.

I would like it to have something to do with D&D other than just being a fantasy.
What would distinguish a DnD movie from a typical fantasy movie? The only distinctive elements I can think of are monsters (Mind Flayers, rust monsters, etc), Vancian magic (maybe...), and using setting elements, such as setting it in Forgotten Realms or Grayhawk, or something. Perhaps we are talking past each other. Would the use of those above elements be sufficient?
Honestly, I don't know. Forgotten Realms might, but no sure bets on that; any other lesser known worlds would be even less likely to do much. Vancian magic, if you could translate a clear description might, but getting a full description out there in way that doesn't bore the audience would be tough. Monsters would be your best bet, and even than it may not mean much to most of the audience.
That was what I was wondering. Because...the first DnD movie had beholders, but it didn't exactly make the movie remotely good.

Obviously a good movie is the first and most important thing. Or at least successful, which isn't quite the same thing.

It's a question of what makes it good D&D movie, rather than just a good fantasy movie. It may be that the lack of an obvious answer to that and thus the lack of obvious direction to go with the project helped handicap the prior ones.

As a sort of side question, for all the recent success of fantasy in movies and on TV, how many of the successful projects haven't been adaptions of existing stories? Nothing comes to mind.


thejeff wrote:


It's a question of what makes it good D&D movie, rather than just a good fantasy movie. It may be that the lack of an obvious answer to that and thus the lack of obvious direction to go with the project helped handicap the prior ones.

As a sort of side question, for all the...

How many theatrically released genre movies we have gotten anyway in the last decade that haven't been sequels, reboots, prequels, or adaptations of existing material? I don't know if the lack of success of original fantasy movies really matter when there are so few fantasy or original movies made to begin with


MMCJawa wrote:
thejeff wrote:

It's a question of what makes it good D&D movie, rather than just a good fantasy movie. It may be that the lack of an obvious answer to that and thus the lack of obvious direction to go with the project helped handicap the prior ones.

As a sort of side question, for all the...

How many theatrically released genre movies we have gotten anyway in the last decade that haven't been sequels, reboots, prequels, or adaptations of existing material? I don't know if the lack of success of original fantasy movies really matter when there are so few fantasy or original movies made to begin with

Perhaps, but it points at the difficulty of getting a good, essentially original fantasy movie made.


Psst. Module adaptation.


Shady Contact wrote:
Psst. Module adaptation.

Possible. But most modules would make lousy movies. It's a far greater stretch than adapting a book to the screen.

If nothing else, all of the protagonist side character and character development isn't there, since that's left for the players to fill.

You can get a bare outline of plot arc, but all of how it relates to the characters plot arcs has to be filled in.


Quote:
Does a DnD movie need to define itself as being completely different from all other fantasy movies? I don't think so, or at least I don't think it needs to in order to be successful.

D&D itself - the core books and their assumpts anyway - is a collection of fairly general, standard fantasy tropes. That's why it's been so successful, it's the ur-fantasy game which serves a lot of different subgenres.

The problem is that its genericness which serves gaming so well is a bit of a barrier to making a distinct D&D movie, as there is no such thing.

Using a pre-determined D&D world might help, but some are too far removed from the core D&D experience to resonate with a wider audience: DARK SUN, RAVENLOFT and PLANESCAPE would be too 'out there' to find a big audience whose expectations of a D&D movie would probably be more about magic, the standard races, dragons and dungeons.

Quote:
Psst. Module adaptation.

Potentially, but would depend on the module. TOMB OF HORRORS: THE MOVIE might sound great, but to be loyal to the module movie audiences would have to sit through many minutes of adventurers carefully testing every stone in a room for traps only to get completely splattered by some obscure falling block they missed.


Werthead wrote:
Quote:
Does a DnD movie need to define itself as being completely different from all other fantasy movies? I don't think so, or at least I don't think it needs to in order to be successful.

D&D itself - the core books and their assumpts anyway - is a collection of fairly general, standard fantasy tropes. That's why it's been so successful, it's the ur-fantasy game which serves a lot of different subgenres.

The problem is that its genericness which serves gaming so well is a bit of a barrier to making a distinct D&D movie, as there is no such thing.

In a lot of ways it's not all that generic, except in that it's come to influence a lot of modern fantasy.

The common combat spellslinging for example is quite rare in fantasy, especially in stories where it isn't entirely wizards. Wizards in fantasy literature are far more commonly the BBEG, the mentor figure or occasionally the sidekick to the martial hero - usually when he needs some basic magical advice to cope with the BBEWizard.

In general the power level scales much higher in D&D than in most traditional fantasy. Certainly than in fantasy movies.


I feel like no one has been reading my actual posts on the topic.
(Which is understandable: I'm needlessly verbose.)


I read it. You have a point--magic, for instance, needs to be governed by rules, explicit or not. But largely, any reference to actual rules, spell names and the like are destined to be comic relief (like the guy from GoT who says he wanted to be a wizard when he grew up, and then later the girl he rescues thinks he's a wizard because he can read).

In order for a D&D movie to be taken seriously, I think it would have to be a Drizzt movie, for two reasons.

One, Salvatore already has a large fanbase (as someone mentioned, larger than D&D) and a serious movie needs to attract more attention than us few dice-rollers.

And two, it is much easier to write something that has already been outlined. If they (anyone) has to make up something themselves, unless they're truly amazing, it will not be as good as adapting something that already exists. This is also an opportunity to take something cool (Icewind Dale) and improve it (because honestly it reads like an actual D&D game). That certainly isn't foolproof, but it would increase their chances of success dramatically.


Hudax wrote:

One, Salvatore already has a large fanbase (as someone mentioned, larger than D&D) and a serious movie needs to attract more attention than us few dice-rollers.

I couldn't take a Drizzt movie seriously. Salvatore's writing contains so many clichées (including the atrocity that is the drunken Scottish dwarf stereotype), that it would do more harm than good.

Shadow Lodge

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Werthead wrote:
Potentially, but would depend on the module. TOMB OF HORRORS: THE MOVIE might sound great, but to be loyal to the module movie audiences would have to sit through many minutes of adventurers carefully testing every stone in a room for traps only to get completely splattered by some obscure falling block they missed.

Obviously, the choice of module to be ADAPTED would be very key. Also, note the word ADAPTED. That means it might play better as a movie if they don't do a word-for-word copy-past of the module as the script.

Tomb of Horrors, while great for what it is, is pretty light on story.

RETURN to the Tomb of Horrors, however, does have a great storyline backing it, and COULD be turned into a great movie. Possibly even with a opening teaser scene of a party attempting the Tomb of Horrors...and failing. In fact, it might be perfect to have such a scene, where the demon's mouth sphere of annihilation kills off some of the party, setting up the twist with that trap that RttToH has.

The only problem might be that RttToH is a bit too big for a single film.


Kthulhu wrote:
Werthead wrote:
Potentially, but would depend on the module. TOMB OF HORRORS: THE MOVIE might sound great, but to be loyal to the module movie audiences would have to sit through many minutes of adventurers carefully testing every stone in a room for traps only to get completely splattered by some obscure falling block they missed.

Obviously, the choice of module to be ADAPTED would be very key. Also, note the word ADAPTED. That means it might play better as a movie if they don't do a word-for-word copy-past of the module as the script.

Holy crap, this! ^^^^


Tomb of Horrors would be an atrocious movie.

Shadow Lodge

Which is why I said RETURN to the Tomb of Horrors. Although like I said, probably a bit overly ambitious for a single film.


I still think with a better budget, a better cast and some script doctoring the 2nd D&D movie could have been a good D&D movie (and I still say it captures the feel of D&D very well, even if it's "D&D as DMed by a 12 year-old".)

The bit with fire mephit in the library (while stupid on the part of the characters, is totally something that could happen at the table), the assorted references to various Names and classic modules, the identifiable spells, the nice use of Detect Magic that showed us the heroes had some magic items of their own, even if it wasn't commented on, the teleportation into a pillar, etc, etc made it very much D&D rather than generic fantasy. It just suffered a lot for it's lack of budget/cast and the script needing some fixing up.

Sovereign Court

Undead black dragon which breathes fire.


Eh. It was undead. No guarantee its skin wouldn't get black when it rotted.

Reminds me of a story from one of the WotC devs about sending his players against a Wight Dragon that they all assumed was White Dragon right up until it started Energy Draining them and breathing fire.

The Exchange

I would love to see Sunless Citadel made into a movie, followed with Forge of Fury....but I also would love an Icewind Dale/Crystal Shard movie(s). I see more of a market for the Crystal Shard/Icewind Dale stuff...heck there was a decent video game with that title so there is that...

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
phantom1592 wrote:
If you are going to use the name "Dungeons and Dragons' then it has to be BETTER then the other things out there.

Given the history of D+D films to date, it could equal the quality of a Troma film, and still be an improvement over earlier efforts.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
MMCJawa wrote:

Does a DnD movie need to define itself as being completely different from all other fantasy movies? I don't think so, or at least I don't think it needs to in order to be successful. There are lots of genres and sub-genres...what generally makes a movie stand out from other movies of its type is the directions, plot, and characters, and in genre flicks the world-building and special effects.

If they make a good movie and market it well, it will stand out. Especially since big-screen fantasy movies have been so hit and miss.

I will turn this around and state that given the still small comparative size of the D+D/Pathfinder market, AND as demonstrated through past history, the brand itself will not sell a movie. It will not save a mediocre movie from being .... mediocre.

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