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December 14, 2000     Beverly Hills Weekly
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December 14, 2000
 

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arts entertainment "Dungeons and Dragons" Better Left In The Mind By Justin Levine • Your humble film critic has a confession to make. As a youth, between 5th and 8th grade or thereabouts, I was what was known as a "Dungeons and Dragons geek." I, along with many pre-adolescent males across the country, became enthralled by the role-play- ing game that allowed us to pretend to be a host of medieval fantasy style characters - knights, thieves, clerics, elves, you name it. While my enthusiasm for the game did not survive long into my high school years, I still remember enjoying sitting around the designated "dungeon master" as he took us on the next adventure. My favorite part of the gamewas creating the character you controlled by rolling dice to determine his various attributes. You hoped for high rolls in order for him to do battle with the orcs and dragons of the netherworld. With that memory in mind, allow me to create and describe what sort character would be need- ed to survive a screening of"Dungeons and Dragons," the new film based on the game journey of well over a decade. Strength: 8 Intelligence: 5 Dexterity: 7 Wisdom: 6 Stamina: 10+ that has finally reached the screens after a (A large strength of heart needed to get past the concept of medieval characters speaking as if they just left the set of "Dawson's Creek" and "In Living Color".) (This is being generous.) (You need to be fast enough to leave your seat before the end of the first scene.) (Make it a -9 if you actually intend to bring a date to this film and still think you will have a good time.) (You will need every ounce of it to survive this one folks. Yes. It really is that bad.) The characters in the film version of "D&D" are uninspiring and seem wholly out of place. The plot i s vapid (a typical yarn about an evil wizard trying to take over the king- dom). The dialogue is so bad that it inspires unintentional laughter in every scene. The only one who. seems in on the joke here is actor Jeremy Irons who seems to be saying to himself, "I know this film is a sack of crap. So I am going to go all out and over the top in order to just have some fun!" It is a testament to Irons' sensibilities that he still manages to make himself fun to watch in a performance smack- ing of pure comic melodrama. If there is a true evil wizard in this film, it must be executive producer Joel Silver who has an uncanny knack for taking Oscar caliber actors and convincing them to be in B- films. Before casting his spell on Irons, he did it with Geoffrey Rush in Silver's remake of "House on Haunted Hill." "Dungeons and Dragons" will likely conf'trm the beliefs of those who felt the game was strictly for geeks. Meanwhile, fans of the game will likely be disappointed that the film doesn't take its inspiration or its built-in fan base very seriously. There are virtual- ly no sword fights involving monsters, only other humans. While one can admire the struggle that first-time director Courtney Solomon went through to get it made, this is a film that demands a $100 million+ budget and an experienced director. This version is one that was best not made. But the scariest part of "Dungeons and Dragons" is knowing that, had it been released 20 years ago, I, along with millions of other young boys, would have lined up around the block to see it...no matter how bad it was. 4 y Our 30 Years Have Taught Us How to Blend Dignity and Respect with Quality Nursing Care and Rehabilitation. Universal Services • Social Services • Activity Programs & Entertainment • Kosher Food Upon Request • 3 Meals and Snacks Served Daily • Menus Created Under Dietitian Supervision Medical Services • Enteral Therapy • Intravenous Therapy • Respiratory Therapy • Long Term Care • Hospice Care • Respite Care Rehabilitation Services • Physical Therapy • Occupational Therapy • Speech Therapy 30 years of Continued Service to the ommunity