Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God (2005)

Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God (2005)

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"With this magical device, I can finally ditch the blue lips!"
“With this magical device, I can finally ditch the blue lips!”

Twitter Plot Summary: Damodar has returned and, a bit insane, decides to awaken the Dragon God from his slumber. Some heroes have to stop him, obviously.

For anyone who has seen/experienced/endured the first **Dungeons and Dragons** movie, fear ye not. Apart from the return of Bruce Payne as Damodar, this sequel has nothing to do with that train wreck of a movie. I can imagine a collective sigh of relief from the collected masses on hearing this. You can sleep easy. **Wrath of the Dragon God** isn’t too bad.
 
Its tone is far more appropriate than the first film. It is more serious in style but with the odd moment of levity where appropriate. It also proves to be less abusive with its CGI. While this is no doubt a budgetary reason, it is definitely something that stands in its favour. There’s a certain appeal to seeing practical locations in use instead of a green screen. And besides being cheap to film there, you can see why a lot of productions go to Eastern Europe to make films. In this instance it’s Bulgaria. The scenery makes for an attractive film. This is despite everything having a cold blue filter applied in post production.
 
The plot isn’t all that dissimilar to the first film. Set 100 years after those events, Damodar is still around. This is because Profion cursed him to exist as an undead entity (of course). After spending that amount of time as nothing more than a zombie, it’s no wonder that Damodar is a bit cranky. At least he’s been able to ditch the ridiculous blue lips this time. A small band of adventurers, including the budget Iain Glen – Mark Dymond – go on a quest. Their aim is to stop Damodar using the Orb of Falazure to wake the dragon god that lives in the mountain. So far, so standard fantasy fare. And, to be honest, it never elevates itself beyond that. But then if it did, it would not be as faithful to its source material.
 
“Jeremy Irons did WHAT in the first film?!”

There is of course an obligatory appearance from a dragon. The titular Dragon God in fact. The narrative has its own fair share of twists and turns on both sides of the good/bad divide. It is of further credit that many references to the original game are present. This may be lost on non-D&D players such as myself, but is a nice touch. In my case it added colour and depth to the world rather than being recognisable elements from the game. But at least they there rather than ignored and dismissed. Such close attention to detail is a marked improvement.

 
It may feel in places like an extended episode of Stargate SG1 circa Seasons 8-10, but that is hardly a criticism. Especially when you consider what this production achieves without big name actors. Or, indeed, an over the top effects budget. **Wrath of the Dragon God** is a solid but unspectacular sequel. By focusing on character and using effects sparingly, it suceeds. Regardless, this is leagues ahead of the 2000 film whether it intended to be or not. That can only be a good thing.

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