Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Dungeons & Dragons Movie

I'm very excited at the news that Warner Brothers is planning on making a new Dungeons & Dragons feature.

Art by Larry Elmore
I'm a big fan of D&D and have been ever since I used to spend some recesses in elementary school playing AD&D first edition in the hallway.

So is Hollywood - Game of Thrones writer David Benioff loved D&D growing up, and Vin Diesel used to play games fueled by pints of coffee ice cream and describes the game as "a training ground for your imagination."

The last D&D movie was a big disappointment because it was so campy.  The tone was just goofy.  To players of D&D, we lost another chance for the mainstream to take the game seriously.  To the mainstream, it made D&D look like a silly game for teens.

Hopefully they use Larry Elmore as an artistic consultant.  His art has been used for D&D since the beginning and he is just amazing.

There's a great D&D podcast called Critical Hit that's been going on for years, and the folks over there really know how to use the game world in a captivating and engrossing way.  Maybe the writers of this new film can take a listen?  Probably too much to ask.

Scrolling through the comments on there's the classic amount of haterism about the project; mostly pointing to past adaptations that have flopped and the "difficulty" of using a world that's so wide-open and doesn't have any specific characters.  Those are somewhat valid points, but I think the fact is that this is a great time to give D&D another chance.

The fact that the D&D world is so vast and open is actually an upside; provided you get a writer who is REALLY imaginative and takes the time to create a lot of depth.  I'm talking countries, families, factions - look to great TV like The Borgias and Boardwalk Empire for examples of this.

The last D&D movie had no depth at all.  It was pretty much just set in one dungeon, which is a sadly literal way to interpret the brand.  Yes, you can even take it Sci-Fi if you want - there's support for planetary and interplanar travel in the D&D rules.  I personally don't think that's needed, but if Hollywood wants that, it's there.

As a writer, this adaptation is a DREAM PROJECT!  Precisely because it is so open - you can create all the characters!  My mind swirls with the possibilities.  As far as business goes, I suppose a lesson here is to write specs that you believe in, as apparently the recent spec Chainmail led to this deal.  Also, I should probably just keep writing so I get noticed and then these types of dream deals might actually be a possibility.

The world of Dungeons & Dragons is a rich universe containing a multitude of separate "worlds" such as Dragonlance and the Forgotten Realms, each as genuinely captivating as genre stalwarts Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones.  I hope they give D&D the same serious treatment, and maybe even create a respected franchise from it.

(p.s. yes I have a D&D spec that I have been writing with a fresh take on combining the real world and the D&D world... but I really shouldn't say too much more about it.)

What do you think of the D&D reboot news?

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