Dungeons & Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness

Discussion in 'Movies and Television' started by FatalT 71, Nov 25, 2012.

  1. FatalT 71

    FatalT 71 Mr. JazzHunter

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2010
    Posts:
    6,814
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    192
    Likes:
    +22
    This movie is terrible, lowering the bar even further for movies based on the Dungeons & Dragons name.

    It seems hard to believe, given the nature of the first theatrically-released movie. I remember being excited to see such a movie based on the role-playing game I have enjoyed so much, at first with pencil and paper and then later through computer games - and that excitment turned to utter apathy and boredom sitting in the theater and seeing just how terrible the movie was. I even fell asleep at one point, only waking up during the final battle - which only induced more yawns. I watched it again on TV later on to see the portions I slept through - and realized I missed nothing. The only part of the movie I remember giving me any pleasure at all was when Marlon Wayans' character was killed - good riddance to bad rubbish. This movie was so bad, I remember being terrified to see the Fellowship of the Ring - I was pretty sure fantasy was dead as a film genre. Thank God for Peter Jackson and the way he brought Middle-Earth to life.

    I found the second movie to an improvement on the first - not to say it was a good movie, but merely that it felt more like a Dungeons & Dragons adventure than its predecessor. Spells and magical items were relatively easy to identify, and there were bunches of old-school fanwank names thrown about (the demon prince Juiblex and old adventure "The Ghost Tower of Inverness" to name a couple), and the characters and monsters seemed as if they were taken from the pages of the Player's Handbook and Monster Manual (for the most part). The best way to describe "Wrath of the Dragon God" would be a glorified LARP, but it was at least watchable. The acting and script were about par for a SyFy channel movie, so I can't say I was disappointed in them since I knew what to expect. I even found it worth purchasing on DVD later on, as it did include a few decent extras, to include an interview with Gary Gygax.

    Which brings me to the point of this thread - "Dungeons & Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness". I had read bits and pieces about this movie being made for probably about a year, and was interested in it. The director from "Wrath of the Dragon God" was returning to direct again, and like the previous movie would be filmed in Bulgaria. Nothing to make me set the expectation bar unreasonably high. What piqued my interest was the title, "The Book of Vile Darkness" - apparently it would be based on the third edition rules supplement of the same name. And what a supplement! I remember it being the only shrink-wrapped Dungeons & Dragons book I had ever bought before, with a sticker advertising mature content - yeah no kidding! The rules given in that book for all manner of depraved spells, prestige classes, rites, magical items, and creatures were somewhat disturbing on the first read, and the accompanying art only enhanced such impressions. Plus, the "Book of Vile Darkness" itself is classified as a minor artifact treasure in the game, granting powers and experience to evil characters should they manage to obtain it, or perhaps the object of a quest for good characters seeking to destroy it. So, I reasoned that such subject matter might make for a movie that was at least as interesting as "Wrath of the Dragon God".

    I was wrong. It originally aired last night (though I understand it was direct-to-DVD in the UK as early as August - I'm not sure if it was originally intended to premiere then, and SyFy pushed it back) but as I was otherwise occupied, I just set the DVR to record it and watched it today. I really wish I hadn't.

    The movie's introductory sequence was about what I expected, a montage of pictures with narration giving the backstory about the Book, and bringing the viewer to the present day. In a nutshell, the movie tells the story of a noble young knight of a holy order (a paladin, I assume) questing to rescue his father from the grip of a villian attempting to restore the Book, by joining with a party of evil adventurers who serve said villain. I don't ordinarily enjoy the whole "evil character" or "evil party" bit in role-playing games, but for a one-off, it can prove interesting, and so I found the idea of the hero going undercover to acheive his ends interesting. I also found it interesting that one of the evil party members was based on one of the prestige classes from the role-playing book - a vermin lord, a master of insects. And that was about all that held my interest.

    However, the movie just failed to execute and draw me in at all. I mean, I didn't expect much to begin with, but everything fell flat. The obligatory dragon in the movie was a red dragon - canonically one of the most powerful dragon types. Whoever did the CGI model apparently just came up with something cool because about the only thing that resembled what I know of red dragons was the color of its scales, and its breath weapon (actually one of its breath weapons - this particular dragon had a second breath weapon, somehow...). After the reasonably well-portrayed white dragon from "Wrath of the Dragon God", I expected better. I suppose for script purposes, it did its job, providing the story's obligatory dragon, to be quickly slain since it possessed a treasure crucial to advancing the plot. And sadly, that dragon was about one of three monsters in the movie. I understand it's low budget and all, and that dragon probably chewed up the majority of the CGI budget, but...it seems weird to have a Dungeons & Dragons adventure with so few monsters.

    The interest I initially had in seeing the "undercover hero" quickly waned as I discovered I really had no interest in watching a band of villians do their thing. As much as the hero tried to mitigate their actions, he would constantly be frustrated...and I kept waiting for the others in the group to catch on. During the affair with the evil sorceress, I kept thinking "When he gets naked, there's no way to miss the giant holy symbol still around his neck. Or that one of them would notice that in the sacking of a village, our young hero was making no attempt to kill anyone (this after first trying to prevent his companions from killing everyone). It turns out the vermin lord was wise to him the whole time, and was keeping him alive for the events of the climax...with better actors and directing, it might have been good. And the end....where the holy knight finally receives the recognition of his god and the granting of power to smite his enemies - this after succumbing to commit evil acts, and being recognized as tainted by some zombie child thing, and his own admission of being a "blackheart" that broke all his vows. I found it puzzling that his god (Pelor, a good god of the sun and light) would reward his sins and oath-breaking. I can only rationalize that Pelor figured our hero's suffering after being captured and tortured prior to the climax counted as atonement, and besides - Pelor is not the absolute sort of asshole deity that Pholtus (a very strict god of law and good) is in Dungeons & Dragons canon. Whatever. I still found it to be an unlikely event, and that pretty much iced whatever the climax of the plot was doing.

    I'm fairly sure this film, like the others, is aimed at nerds like myself who spent their youngers years rolling dice, poring over books, and imagined themselves in the Caves of Chaos and Tomb of Horrors. I can't even recommend it to those folks - unlike "Wrath of the Dragon God", this doesn't even approach feeling like a Dungeons & Dragons adventure at any point. It contains elements and references that can be found in the game, but the feeling is just not there. And for those who know nothing about Dungeons & Dragons, fantasy and non-fantasy fans alike - avoid at all costs. It's below the usual standards for a SyFy movie - I'm sure there are some good movies that have been made by that channel, but I've never before seen one and I'm open to recommendations.

    TL;DR - It sucks. Avoid.

    If anyone else watched it, please share your thoughts. If there were things you liked, if you thought it was the best ever (as some on imdb seem to think) or if you also found it a stinking pile...chime right in.
     
  2. Rodimus Prime

    Rodimus Prime Sola Gratia, Sola Fide TFW2005 Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2002
    Posts:
    26,144
    News Credits:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    442
    Likes:
    +36,921
    It sucked. My brother liked it though.
     
  3. Hiro Prime

    Hiro Prime Cybertronian Guru Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2004
    Posts:
    5,850
    News Credits:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    327
    Location:
    In a Transformers Museum
    Likes:
    +132
    Ebay:
    You seem to be suffering from the illusion that WotC actually cares about D&D. After 4th. Edition failed, They really have seemingly given up on the game. They continue to push it on us Retailers, but most of the players have taken up Pathfinder.

    Now maybe if Hasbro really wanted to make a good fantasy movie they could talk to a few of their Hollywood buddies, but after Battleship, do you really want them to?
     
  4. FatalT 71

    FatalT 71 Mr. JazzHunter

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2010
    Posts:
    6,814
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    192
    Likes:
    +22
    LOL, good Lord no. I'd like to think that there is some sort of concern for D&D after the great board games they put out last year and this D&D Next (5th edition) thing I've heard talk about, but...I pretty much realize that any sort of live action movie with the D&D name attached to it is going to be dreadful in some way shape or form.

    Never went with Pathfinder myself. Thank goodness for 1st edition and OD&D PDFs! :D 
     
  5. Dinodigger97

    Dinodigger97 germinates within you.

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2011
    Posts:
    8,576
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    197
    Likes:
    +37
    Wait. This is the movie with Jeremy Irons, right?
     
  6. Infosaur

    Infosaur Ancient Cybertronian

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2004
    Posts:
    4,022
    Trophy Points:
    312
    Likes:
    +407
    1.) Sy-Fy has YET to make a movie worth watching.

    2.) Ditto for D&D.

    3.) I haven't been able to get a D&D party together for over 15 years (adulthood sucks)

    Guess which of these three ticks me off the most?
     
  7. FatalT 71

    FatalT 71 Mr. JazzHunter

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2010
    Posts:
    6,814
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    192
    Likes:
    +22
    No, this is a new movie just shown on SyFy this past weekend. It's ostensibly the second sequel to the first movie that came out in 2000. Jeremy Irons played the villian in that movie. I'm sure he regrets it :D 

    I'm guessing part 3 :D 
     
  8. Spin-Out

    Spin-Out Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2009
    Posts:
    2,519
    Trophy Points:
    262
    Location:
    Florida
    Likes:
    +421
    Well, to be honest, the 3.X BoVD wasn't exactly a great book, either. It was too grimdark to possibly be taken seriously.

    Also, I kind of loathe Monte Cook for many, many reasons.

    As for the movie, you honestly expected a SyFy movie to be good? :p 
     
  9. Dinodigger97

    Dinodigger97 germinates within you.

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2011
    Posts:
    8,576
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    197
    Likes:
    +37
    Ow. My bad. Wait....SyFy? Why that ass of a channel? Couldln't they just make it direct to video like most bad sequels to bad movies?

    Ow...the first one(To me, at least) is one of those "so shitty its utterly awesome" films. Kinda like The Wicker Man remake or Plan 9 from Outer Space. But that's just my off-topic two cents.
     
  10. FatalT 71

    FatalT 71 Mr. JazzHunter

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2010
    Posts:
    6,814
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    192
    Likes:
    +22
    I'd agree it wasn't a great book - as I indicated I did find it a bit disturbing with all the rules for vile and corrupt stuff. Still, I found that some of the things in the book were useful in making truly despicable villians for great heroes to go up against. After all, the baser the villian - the more the heroes shines when defeating him or her.

    And :lol  no, I didn't expect a Syfy movie to be anything resembling good. I figured it would be Syfy-good, which to me means a campy watchable movie, but ugh. It was pretty terrible even by Syfy standards.
     
  11. Smasher

    Smasher HUNKY BEATS

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2004
    Posts:
    13,955
    News Credits:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    362
    Likes:
    +1,948
    I am disappoint.

    I played D&D a lot as tween and early teen.
    I read a lot of the books.

    I was horribly disappointed at the first movie, but pleasantly surprised by Wrath of the Dragon God. Sure it was low budget, but it was good for what it was and as FatalT_71 said before, it "felt" like a Dungeons and Dragons movie.

    I became aware of this project while looking for The Hobbit trailer online some months ago and really hoped it would be as good or possibly a little better than Wrath of the Dragon God.

    Oh well, at least it's not the end of the world.
    At least it's not like they got talent like Keifer Sutherland and Lucy Lawless together with the excellent Dragonlance story and somehow made an animated movie that's a steaming pile of vomit.
    At least that hasn't happened.
     
  12. Spin-Out

    Spin-Out Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2009
    Posts:
    2,519
    Trophy Points:
    262
    Location:
    Florida
    Likes:
    +421
    I wish I could tell you I liked Dragonlance, but it's probably the single least interesting setting in D&D. Plus, Kender are awful little shitstains, and any setting with them in it automatically is brought down a few notches.
     
  13. Smasher

    Smasher HUNKY BEATS

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2004
    Posts:
    13,955
    News Credits:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    362
    Likes:
    +1,948
    Then you'll have no problem not watching the horrible animated movie. :) 
     
  14. Autovolt 127

    Autovolt 127 Get In The Titan, Prime!

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2006
    Posts:
    83,294
    News Credits:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    462
    Likes:
    +2,893
    If this had Jeremy Irons and the guy with blue lips then that'd be somewhat fun...i can't believe SyFy is allowed to make the worst of the worst every week.
     
  15. Galaxy Convoy

    Galaxy Convoy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Posts:
    8,829
    Trophy Points:
    332
    Likes:
    +423
    Well, Wrath of the Dragon God had Damidar(the guy with the blue lips) back as the villain. But he really didn't do much. And he lived but was locked away in prison, suggesting he'll be back someday in another sequel?
     
  16. VictoryLeo19

    VictoryLeo19 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2008
    Posts:
    6,350
    Trophy Points:
    337
    Likes:
    +2,442
    I don't understand how SyFy stays as a channel. Anything they produce is garbage. Complete garbage. Do people here actually watch syfy movies? (Yeah, I do, even though I still think they're garbage).
     
  17. Spin-Out

    Spin-Out Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2009
    Posts:
    2,519
    Trophy Points:
    262
    Location:
    Florida
    Likes:
    +421
    Jeremy Irons is one of those actors that makes a great movie (The Lion King) greater and makes a bad movie (like D&D1) hilariously bad.