Hall of Fame Speech #25: Dungeons & Dragons

Brief note before we start: This year we got together our fifth (!) class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. At the time these films are inducted it will be officially 10 years since we started BMT! That’s absurd. But as is typical there will be films we watch five years ago which maybe deserve to be considered the merde de la merde of BMT delight. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the eighth (tenth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films ultimately chosen. Some might say the purpose of watching all genres and sizes of movie is to find another Here On Earth, the perfect BMT film. While Dungeons & Dragons isn’t Here on Earth, it is a gritty buddy cop film about Det. Dungeons, a laced up wall street type cop, who gets teamed up with Det. Dragons, a rogue scofflaw who doesn’t play by the rulezzz…. Alright, so I don’t remember much from this film, but trust me it’s great. Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for Dungeons & Dragons

Full disclosure, Dungeons & Dragons barely made the HoF. In fact I initially watched Stone Cold starring Brian Bosworth for this spot and finding myself more disturbed than thrilled, I turned to Dungeons & Dragons and my god… what a tragic mistake it would have been if this film had not made it. This isn’t just an HoF film, it is clearly one of the best films we’ve ever watched for BMT. It’s a HoF of HoF. No moment is not hilarious and it falls apart so profoundly by the end that it’s almost indescribable. I actually came very close to watching it again this weekend. I’m saying this right now: I will own this film. In some form I must be able to watch parts of this film at the push of a button. The only mystery left is how it’s possible I was ever on the fence about it.

It has been five years since we watched the film. But what did I remember?

  • Nothing! Alright, not nothing, but close to it. It’s the only explanation for why my memory of it was only great instead of amazing when we were considering nominees for this class.
  • One aspect I did remember was the monosklogs in the middle. At the time of first viewing we were all about dem sweet monosklogs and this does give you a doozy as a couple of the younger actors in the cast go back and forth yelling at each other on the verge of tears. It’s Aaaactingggg! And I loved it.
  • I vaguely remembered the ending taking place on a computer generated tower and it being real dumb. I’d say my memory was accurate except it totally undersells the climax of the film.
  • Marlon Wayans dies and he has a funny death scene and remember during my first viewing being like “that’s weird, you’d think of all the people they’d want to keep around for a potential franchise it would have been him” and then I thought how funny it would be if they just brought him back to life at the end and he was like “what up?”… and then it happens.

So I guess the point of my introduction is that nothing that I remembered about the film is actually the most important. I didn’t really remember what ended up being my favorite aspects of the rewatch. This could be a good sign or a bad sign. On the good side it means that there was so much HoF goodness in this film that I forgot more than I remembered and it still made the HoF. On the bad side it tells you the faults of memory. Could there be other HoF gems we are overlooking? Maybe, and so that’s why we are rewatching every BMT film starting today… JK (or am I?). But if I had to choose a favorite from the things I did remember it would be the monosklog as that at least still was something beautiful to behold. But, boy… this film had a lot to offer in the many things that I somehow forgot.

The film can be summed up in this way: everything that comes before the climax of the film and the climax of the film. Before the climax of the film I was a totally different person. I was a person that appreciated the earnest monosklogging of our young heroes. I enjoyed Wayans joking around with stupid looking props and Bruce Payne’s inexplicable silver lipstick. I enjoyed the tragic death of Wayans’ character even though I knew they would just bring him back in the same old stupid twist ending that I remembered from the first viewing. I really really enjoyed the double MacGuffin of the Rod of Savrille and the Eye of the Dragon (and no I didn’t just make that up). 

In fact, I think that’s the one pre-climax thing I would put a cut above the rest: the MacGuffin game is on point. The Rod of Savrille… that shit’s dumb. Like real dumb. Almost to the point of not believing that they didn’t know how dumb it was. And the rod even looks dumb. It’s perfect. A perfect MacGuffin. And all that is hall of fame worthy. It is amazing and I laughed and cried (from laughing so much) and learned and lived and loved again. But it pales in comparison to the thunder that is brought in the climax. The climax is one of the best twenty minutes in the history of BMT.

Deep breath. I get dizzy just remembering the climax of the film. Let me set the stage. A large number of golden dragons are attacking Jeremy Irons as he screams in rage about not having the Rod of Savrille (deep breath). The narrative structure of the film is breaking down along with the visual effects. So while the plot is becoming harder to follow, the world starts to melt into a series of shapes and colors. Characters literally spring through wormholes out of nowhere, likely to help edit together disparate scenes in a last ditch effort to get to the end of the film. The queen tells her dragons to stop fighting only to be seen seconds later riding one into battle. Nothing makes sense and Jeremy Irons continues to scream, this time in glee cause he’s now clutching the Rod of Savrille (deep breath). More characters jump through wormholes and there is lightning and dragons and shapes and colors and Jeremy Irons screaming, this time in terror as the Rod of Savrille is smashed and he’s eaten by a dragon. It is a beautiful expressionistic painting of an ending. It’s not about impressions of a physical world but rather the emotional experience of BMT. 

So in conclusion, while I think it’s easy to say that Dungeons & Dragons fits the all important high fantasy/hard scifi aspect of reach-for-the-stars disaster genre of BMT, home to In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, After Earth, A Sound of Thunder and Battlefield Earth, it’s so much more than just that. It’s almost a combination of all of those films. We have Jeremy Irons one-upping Ray Liotta as he stares through the screen at us, laughing maniacally at both his puny adversaries and our life choices. We have young actors channeling Jaden Smith with all their acting might. We have a man with silver lipstick who looks no less ridiculous than dreadlocked John Travolta. And finally we have a climax worthy of A Sound of Thunder. One that falls apart both visually and narratively to the point where I’m surprised it’s considered a completed film.

So Dungeons & Dragons, I’m sorry we came so close to the ultimate insult of not including you in the HoF in the first place. You are a worthy member of a stellar class that will bring us joy for years to come. In particular me… cause I will own this film… and I’ll watch it… a lot. Welcome to the Hall of Fame, Dungeons & Dragons.

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