|Rescued article requiring attention|
|This article was rescued from The Annex, a repository of pages deleted from Wikipedia for lack of notability. Please edit it to conform to this wiki's style guidelines before removing this notice.|
The story concerns the evil wizard Profion (played by noted character actor Jeremy Irons) who attempts to control red dragons with a powerful artifact, and overthrow idealistic young Empress Savina of Izmer, played by Thora Birch. The young heroes destined to stop this cataclysmic event are Marina Pretensa (Zoe McLellan), an eager but inept apprentice wizard; and Ridley Freeborn and Snails (Justin Whalin and Marlon Wayans), two thieves who quite simply happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. They are accompanied on their impromptu quest by the hard-drinking and equinophobic dwarf Elwood Gutworthy (Lee Arenberg), and the mysterious dark-skinned elven ranger, Norda (Kristen Wilson) sent by Empress Savina first to stop the heroes, but later to assist them. They are pursued along the way by Damodar (Bruce Payne); Profion's head enforcer, and leader of Izmer's elite fighting unit, the Crimson Brigade. As part of their quest, the heroes are required to recover a magic gemstone from the Master of the Antius City Thieves's Guild, Xilus (played by Richard O'Brien).
Critical reaction to the film is largely negative. The film has a score of 11% at Rottentomatoes.com and is rated poorly on the Internet Movie Database. Reasons given for this include the writing, direction, and camerawork of its producer/director, Courtney Solomon, and the acting of Marlon Wayans, Jeremy Irons, and Thora Birch.
The movie was also not embraced by fans of the original role-playing game. In addition to general disappointment with the film's quality, the film contains very few uniquely Dungeons & Dragons elements, and those it does contain are neither integral to the plot nor faithful translations from the game. For example, the beholders in the movie play a minor role as watchdogs for the main villains, rather than being the extremely powerful masterminds in their own right that the game usually depicts. In the eyes of many fans, this was not so much a Dungeons & Dragons movie as a generic sword and sorcery story with a famous brand name tacked on.
Solomon blamed the quality of the film on its investors and license-holders' interference, as well as his own inexperience in filmmaking. He states that he had only intended to produce the film, but was forced to direct by his investors after nearly a decade of complications dealing with TSR and Wizards of the Coast. He also claims that he was forced to use an older script despite having written an updated version that fit the Dungeons and Dragons license better.
- The movie featured a cameo appearance of British actor Richard O'Brien in a parody of his tv programme The Crystal Maze. Tom Baker of Doctor Who fame also has a cameo as a dying elven king; his brief appearance is one of the film's few widely praised moments.
- Despite its mediocre box-office performance, the film was profitable and a made-for-DVD sequel, Dungeons & Dragons 2: Wrath of the Dragon God was released in 2005. It did not directly continue on the storyline of the previous film, although fan favourite[who?] character Damodar makes a return.