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An evil drow-elf is displaced by Hurricane Katrina. A sanitation worker lures friends into a Sphere of Annihilation. A failed supervillain starts a cable access show involving ninjas, puppets, and a cooking segment. These are the characters, real and imagined, of The Dungeon Masters: Against the backdrop of crumbling middle-class America, two men and one woman devote their lives to Dungeons and Dragons, the storied role-playing game, and its various descendants. As their baroque fantasies clash with mundane real lives, the characters find it increasingly difficult to allay their fear, loneliness, and disappointment with the game's imaginary triumphs. Soon the true heroic act of each character's real life emerges, and the film follows each as he or she summons the courage to face it. Along the way, The Dungeon Masters reimagines the tropes of classic heroic cinema, creating an intimate portrait of minor struggles and triumphs writ large. Written by
Painting portraits of nerds and the socially challenged...
I have been playing role-playing games (mostly Dungeons & Dragons) for about 26 years, give or take, and I can nod agreeably to some of the things in this documentary, but wow it really, and I do mean really, puts a derogatory light on role-players as people, as it showcases some of the more extremes of people. This movie really makes role-players (or gamers) stand out like social inadequate misfits.
I love Dungeons & Dragons, otherwise I wouldn't have played for this many years, obviously, but this movie was just a tad too much. It was all about hanging people out to dry. There were times when I was thinking that this is so staged and fake, because no one could seriously have that sad existences.
How about if the director had opted to show people who weren't socially challenged, overweight, nerdy and alienated from the 'normal' world around them? During my 26 years of gaming and having had multiple people in and out of the gaming groups, I can honestly say that the way these people were portrayed, I can only name one in my experience of gaming that would qualify to be part of the ensemble in this movie.
I don't believe that this documentary does justice to the role-playing game, or the people that play these games, one bit.
And as for the LARPing (Live Action Role-Playing), then I am at a loss here. I can't take that serious. Full-grown people dressing up in costumes and armor, brandishing latex weapons and throwing paper at one another to symbolize magic. What the... It is acceptable when children or young teens do it, but when people in their thirties with a house and family start doing it, you might as well just turn the key and admit to the ultimate defeat. LARPing is lame on an epic scale. And the way that it was portrayed in this movie, really didn't help to improve on that faltering image that it is.
What was good about the documentary was that you got to see the aspects of these people's obsession with role-playing and got to delve a little bit into their mindsets, who they were and what drove them on. But I have to say, again, that it was all painted out in a grotesque way to make role-playing gamers stand in a bad light.
At the end I was sort of disappointed by this movie, and it didn't really prove to have any entertainment value. If you want to be entertained by something from the role-playing milieu, then perhaps the 2002 movie "The Gamers" is a better choice.
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