The Sounds of Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

Lorne Balfe’s score for Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves dropped this morning, and I bought it immediately (on iTunes) and am already on my second play-through.

On its own merits, outside the movie, it sounds good. It’s not a Remote Control Production-sounding post-Crimson Tide style wall of noise as has been the outcome of many of Zimmer’s students. It’s very much a score that fits the visuals on screen, and, if I am correct, is the entire score, what with it being:

1. 49 tracks in length. Yes. 49. This is a big album.

2. The first of two albums

The run-time of the album is 1 hour, 30 minutes, 45 seconds, which for a movie that’s reportedly 2 hours and 14 minutes long, suggests to me that it’s likely all the music shown on-screen.

But what about the second album, you ask? Well, as Balfe said:

“[We’re] writing the score but then also writing more which doesn’t feature in the film, so we’re going to do an extra album, which is going to be music to play with.” He explained. “It’s for gaming sessions, and it’s for those when they’re gaming to be able to have their own soundtrack when playing.”

Radiotimes interview with composer Lorne Balfe

You can expect to hear lutes, guitars, harps, strings, woodwinds, drums, and bagpipes in Balfe’s score. It’s been a delightful surprise for me, as he’s an insanely prolific composer, but nothing he’s ever composed has spoken to me. He’s managed to definitely accomplish that with this score.

Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is now in general release in cinemas across Australia – and presumably the rest of the planet.

Do You Wanna Taste It?

He’s made for this shit.

dusts off blog

It’s been one hell of a hot minute, hasn’t it? The blog went a bit quiet in the middle of Covid, and now that we’re on the other side of it over here in Kangaroostan, it’s time to start the machine again.

I’ve had a few hours over the past week to catch up on a show that my best friend back in Boston has been recommending since the moment it dropped: Peacemaker. It’s everything I’d been promised and more, and is a wild, colourful, zany, and profoundly empathetic ride. It’s some of the best live-action comic book material since the early seasons of Arrow and Flash and Phase 1 of the MCU.

Which leads us to the DCEU, which has been going through some interesting changes of late. I recently fell down the rabbit hole of DCU announcements, and have some thoughts:

  1. I like that James Gunn talks about the writing aspect of not just being beholden to dates – this is a good thing. And sad that it even needs to be stated.
  2. Having different aesthetic visions for each project is a definite good, as I am tired of the bland color grading used in MCU films. (As Joe Cornish recently noted in a playlist interview, “Marvel…had this universe where the movies had to integrate.”) Integration of course resulting in a unified and uninteresting color grading rule across seemingly everything they pump out.
  3. It looks like they’re digging into DC lore a bit more than has been done in the past, which is certainly a good thing.
  4. The first ten years seems to be divided into two chapters, with the first chapter being subtitled Gods and Monsters.
  5. Gunn and Safran have made it clear that they do have an endgame in mind. Quoting Gunn (courtesy of io9):

“We’re not making it up as we go along… The 8-10 year plan is two chapters and there’s an ending to our basic story that we tell there, but it’s not the ending of the universe. So, now, will Peter and I be here beyond that time? [Laughs] I’m already tired. It’s been two months. But those first two chapters are worked out, and then it can go on from there.”

  1. Batman and Robin. Finally. And it’s someone other than Dick Greyson. Every live action film since Batman Begins has struggled to know what to do with Robin (I can’t speak for animated projects, which remain unseen by me). It’ll be nice to see how that dynamic plays out, given that Damien is apparently, as Gunn calls him, “a little son of a bitch,” an “assassin”, and a “murderer”.
  2. The writers room is an interesting collection of people: James Gunn, Drew Goddard, Christina Hodson, Jeremy Carver, Christal Henry, and Tom King.
  3. It looks like they understand that not everything has to appeal to everyone, and are making projects with diverse tones, and not making everything necessarily mandatory viewing.
  4. The Flash will be the lynchpin that gets everything into motion, as it looks like we’re getting Flashpoint, which will help reset the DCU timeline or…something. (As long as it’s better executed than it was on season 3 of The Flash, I’ll be happy. Gods love them for trying, but I didn’t feel like they did the source material justice.)

D&D Strikes Back

(Vintage AD&D art right here, folks.)

Remember Dungeons & Dragons? It was a fun, goofy, and lovingly-made passion project of writer/director Courtney Solomon. It came out almost exactly a year before The Fellowship of the Ring (D&D: 8 December 2000, Fellowship: 19 December 2001), and was not a financial or critical success. You may remember its rather interesting cast, which included the likes of Justin Whalin, Thora Birch, Marlon Wayans, and of course, Jeremy Irons – who ate the camera whenever it was pointed at him.

It spawned two direct-to-DVD movies: Wrath of the Dragon God and The Book of Vile Darkness, which failed to make much of an impact among anyone other than die hard D&D fans.

So wind the camera forward to the year 2021, where a new D&D project is about to begin filming – with an equally interesting cast. This time around, our principal actors include Hugh Grant (playing the villain Forge Fletcher), Chris Pine, Sophia Lillis (playing a character named Doric), Michelle Rodriguez, as well as Rege-Jean Page (seen most recently and excellently in Bridgerton) and Justice Smith (Pokemon Detective Pikachu, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom).

An interesting pattern reveals itself: both Dungeon and Dragons films feature established American actors acting alongside established British thespians.

The writer/directors this time around as John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, the writer/director team on Horrible Bosses, Vacation, and Game Night.

There’s no indication that this new film will have any ties to the previously-released films. No release date has yet been announced for the Dungeons and Dragons film, with filming intended to start in North Ireland in the next few weeks.

The terminator is back. Again.

We’re getting another Terminator. But this time it’ll be animated.

As reported by Polygon, Netflix is producing a new animated Terminator series that will “approach Terminator in a way that breaks conventions, subverts expectations and has real guts”.

Famed Japanese studio Prouduction I.G., whose credits include the Ghost in the Shell series, will be working together with Netflix and American film production company Skydance to produce this new animated series – a first for the Terminator IP.

As stated by John Derderian, the VP of Japan and Anime at Netflix in a recent news release:

“Terminator is one of the most iconic sci-fi stories ever created — and has only grown more relevant to our world over time. The new animated series will explore this universe in a way that has never been done before. We can’t wait for fans to experience this amazing new chapter in the epic battle between machines and humans.”

A release date for the project has not yet been announced.

Spider-Man III now has a title

After several cute fake titles from the cast were teased, the official title of the next Spider-Man movie has finally been announced.

Spider-Man: No Way Home.

A delightfully charming video was released that announced the official title, which you can see below.

Mission: Impossible 7 to hit streaming 45 days after cinemas

As announced on io9 this morning, Paramount Pictures have decided to debut Mission: Impossible 7 on Paramount+ 45 days after the movie’s arrival in cinemas, as a result of (naturally) the pandemic. With the majority of cinemas still closed at the moment across North America, it’s clear that film studios are trying to find new ways to maximise audience engagement and revenue streams.

In io9 writer Germain Lussier’s own words:

Mission Impossible 7 starring Tom Cruise is currently filming and aiming at a November 19 release, which would put it on the streamer in early January.

So expect the still-untitled seventh instalment in the series to be on streaming platforms in early 2022.