Bad Movie Logo
"A website to the detriment of good film"

Custom Search
HOMEB-MOVIE REVIEWSREADER REVIEWSFORUMINTERVIEWSUPDATESABOUT


DUNGEONS & DRAGONS :
SERIES OVERVIEW -
Reviewed by AkiraTubo on 31 January 2007

The Characters:  

  • Hank the Ranger - The de facto leader of the group and all-around great guy. Hank isn't always sure of himself but he does his best to keep the group together, safe, and focused on getting home. He carries a magic bow that shoots an unlimited supply of light arrows. Hank can use the bow very, very well. He can also perform various tricks with the arrows, including using them as lassos.
  • Eric the Cavalier - Eric seems to be the group's "pity friend" and the rest of the kids are always making fun of him. He's a chronic complainer who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, though he always rises to the occasion when it is required of him. Eric carries a magic shield that nothing can penetrate, although it can be knocked out of his hands. Dungeon Master must see a greater strength within Eric because it is to Eric that Dungeon Master entrusts his power when he decides to take a day off.
  • Sheila the Thief - Sheila is braver than she thinks she is. She seems to be the least optimistic about getting home, though she displays a grim determination to do so. Sheila is quite selfless, often being the one who wants to stop and help strangers in trouble. She wears a magic cloak that makes her invisible when she dons the hood. Despite her title, she normally uses the cloak to spy rather than steal. She is Bobby's older sister and is quite protective of him.
  • Bobby the Barbarian - In many ways, Bobby is the heart of the group. When all looks lost, Bobby is usually the one who refuses to give up. He lives up to his title, charging headlong into every battle and fighting with the savagery one would expect of a small child with a powerful weapon. Bobby wields a magic club which can shatter anything and appears to grant him great strength when activated. The club is powerful enough to cause localized earthquakes and destroy large structures in one blow. Bobby must either swing it or bang it on the ground to activate it. Bobby is at least as protective of Sheila as she is of him.
  • Diana the Acrobat - Diana is the one who has decided to enjoy the whole thing. She never lets any situation get her down and does her best to keep the others cheerful. One suspects that her life back home wasn't all that great since she views their time in the Realm as a grand adventure. Either that or she's an extreme example of a "glass half-full" type. Diana has a magic javelin (though it looks more like a bo staff to me) that grants her incredible agility. It also makes a handy weapon.
  • Presto the Magician - Presto is a nerd, a dork. He is the stereotype D&D player. His friends don't pick on him but everyone else does. He wears a magic hat which, if he could use it correctly, would make him a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, he almost never manages to pull anything useful out of it. On those occasions which he does, it is usually an accident. This understandably gives Presto very low self-esteem.
  • Uni - a baby Unicorn who befriends the group during the opening credits. No, really. Not a mere mascot, Uni saves the kids' bacon more than once. During her time with the group, she even learns to bleat a few English words. This is not really as annoying as it sounds. Uni is one of the better "mascot" characters of all time.
  • Dungeon Master - I take him to be a Dwarf wizard, though I hazily recall that Dwarfs in D&D weren't able to use magic. He is quite possibly the most powerful wizard in the realm and is an unusually morally complex character. On the one hand, he cares about the group and obviously hopes to instill good virtues and bring forth hidden strengths in them. On the other hand, he is quite clearly using them to do things he won't or can't do. Almost all of the group's adventures are spurred on by riddles or advice from Dungeon Master that result in the kids confronting and stopping some evil or injustice ... after going through some real danger. He puts them in plenty of situations that nearly get them killed, all to accomplish what he thinks is the greater good. And yet, he always gives them the choice. The kids (almost) always choose to do the "right" thing, of course, which makes Dungeon Master genuinely proud. When you factor in the high probability that he brought the kids to the Realm in the first place, you end up with one of the best, most complex characters from any American cartoon of the 1980s. In fact, he's a lot like ... a parent: pointing the kids in the right direction, even if it means the journey will be hard, and hoping what he's taught them and their own fortitude will be enough to see them through.
  • Vengar - Evil Incarnate. Though he is obviously, ahem, "inspired" by Darth Vader, he is a good villain in his own right. He is supremely confident, supremely capable, and really doesn't screw around. Vengar doesn't tolerate openly treacherous underlings, unlike some other villains in these types of cartoons. When a former apprentice crosses him, for example, Vengar kills him. That's right, kills him. (Actually, it appears that he banishes him directly to Hell!) He also openly tries to kill the kids in most episodes. Evil though he is, he isn't evil for the sake of it. Everything he does, he does for a reason, such as increasing his own power or accomplishing some goal. He's also got a sense of honor, which he displays by sparing the kids temporarily should they manage to earn his respect or pay a perceived debt to him. Awesome as he is, Vengar has the unfortunate habit of doing something incredibly stupid in the last few seconds which allows him to be defeated. However, as a villain, he is on a higher plateau than, say, Mumm-Ra or Cobra Commander. In fact, I'd even place him above pre-movie Megatron (that whole "not tolerating treacherous underlings" thing). Vengar can only be destroyed temporarily; he will always regain his physical form after being dead a short time -- with one exception.
  • Tiamat - A dragon with five heads: one red (fire), one white (ice), one green (chlorine gas), one blue (lightning), and one black (acid?). Tiamat is perhaps the only creature capable of killing Vengar permanently. Tiamat is wicked cool and her infrequent appearances are pure pleasure.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

Overview
Six young men and women board a roller coaster at an amusement park. This roller coaster takes them through some kind of space/time warp into the realm of Dungeons and Dragons. There they meet Dungeon Master, a powerful wizard who becomes their guide, mentor, and primary ally. He gives them magical weapons coveted by Vengar, another powerful wizard who becomes the primary villain. The young ones spend each episode searching for a way back home.

My Thoughts
When I was four and five years old, Dungeons and Dragons was the greatest thing in the world. I got up early every Saturday to watch it. Hank was the kind of guy I wished I had for a big brother, Bobby was the kind of kid I wished I was, Eric was so funny, I always hoped Presto would get his hat to work right, Diana was easy to root for, and Sheila ... more on her later. I believe I actually cried when it was cancelled; I was so sad those guys never found the way home. They and the Realm had worked their way into my heart.

Now almost twenty-four years later, Dungeons and Dragons is still the greatest thing in the world. When I watch COPS, or Voltron, or TransFormers, or any other cartoon from my childhood, it is through the eyes of an adult. I still like them but, not the same way. I realize that they really weren't that good and enjoy them now the same way I would any other bad, but fun, movie. He-Man is an exception, I think it genuinely is good, but in the sense that it was a show that was thoughtful and well-made, not just a thirty-minute commercial.

However, when I watch Dungeons and Dragons, I'm five years old again. I'm right there with Hank, Eric, and the others. I get scared when Vengar shows up. I laugh when Eric does something stupid. I smile when Dungeon Master tells them they did a good job. I cry when Uni gets in trouble and Bobby almost kills himself trying to save her. I'm proud of Presto when he gets his stupid hat to work. I worry about Sheila when she swallows her fear to infiltrate an evil castle. I actually stood up and cheered when a long-suffering slave of Vengar finally made a stand against him.

And, you know what? I'm still going to be sad when the credits come up on the last episode and they still haven't gotten home.

That's how good this show is, folks.

The writing is simply incredible. The kids talk like real kids, act like real friends. The episodes don't pull punches. If a wizard is stealing unicorn horns then, by golly, Uni is going to get her horn stolen and it isn't going to be pleasant to see. If the kids are going through a maze that turns their own minds against them, they're going to get in a fight and say some really nasty, hurtful things to each other. If there's a keep under siege, the people in the keep are going to be quite frank about being prepared to die. Of course, D&D adventures usually ended with a big battle and so do most of these episodes! If the episode should happen to have no real plot, there's so much "stuff" going on you hardly notice. The kids, as I said above, are often in real danger of getting killed and Vengar can be quite frightening with his actions. (He turns into a monster in one episode that, kid you not, scared me to see.) Everything that happens seems serious and even fairly authentic.

This voice cast has become my personal favorite of all time. Willy Ames gets his best role as Hank, same for Peter Cullen as Vengar. The cast has created the most flesh and blood cartoon characters I've ever seen. Even the guest vocal talent for incidental characters is uniformly good. I recognized Jennifer Darling as the voice of a few guest females and was glad to have her around.

I can't stress enough how good, how GREAT, Dungeons and Dragons is but, I must admit there are a couple of episodes that, well, suck. Beauty and the Beholder is bad, the worst in fact, but it's also the first! So chapter-skip right past it, pretend it never existed, and just enjoy the rest of the episodes. There's one episode about a fighter pilot who somehow comes to the Realm that isn't very good, either. Aside from those two, though, the entire series is good.

How Old Are the Kids?
That's something I asked myself a few times. Everyone refers to them as "children" but they are much too mature, physically and mentally, to be only, say, in their early teens. Bobby is identified as being either nine or ten. I'd guess Sheila, Presto, Diana, and Hank are probably sixteen or seventeen. I'm going to go out on a limb and say Eric is the oldest, definitely sixteen if not seventeen.

Diana and Hank are at least old enough to have a little thing going. It's not dwelt upon but watch closely. They can be seen holding each other in quiet moments several times. They can also be observed leaning on each other for support when the gang is locked in Vangar's Prison of Agony.

...

You can stop reading right here, if you wish. I'm now going to say a few words about one particular character who had a very lasting effect on me. This has nothing to do with the show and is really just me getting my feelings out there.

Sheila
As I said, I saw this show when I was four. My earliest concrete memories don't start much earlier than that. Sheila, with her short skirt, pale skin, red hair, great legs, and rather big boobs would have been one of my earliest sex symbols -- maybe the earliest. (And don't even pretend you never had a crush on a cartoon!) She must have had a profound effect on me because every -- single -- girlfriend I've ever had has, wait for it, been a pale-skinned redhead with great legs and rather big boobs. There has only been one exception and she was a pale-skinned dark-haired girl with great legs and rather big boobs. Sheila's outfit was purple and purple is the sexiest color for a woman to wear, as far as I'm concerned. Hell, I'm even attracted to the same type of personality as Sheila! Furthermore -- don't make too much of this, now -- but a fetish of mine is women in dangerous situations acting scared. How often do you think Sheila, as the spy and infiltrator, is put in dangerous situations and acts scared? Yeah, quite often!

So, did this cartoon forge the type of woman I'm attracted to and create my sort of disturbing fetish or was that already hard-wired when I was born and Sheila just happened to fit it?

Either way, when I realized this during the course of watching D&D, it really creeped me out. Even some of my friends have commented on it, saying something like, "Hey, she (Sheila) reminds me of [insert name of a former girlfriend]."

Anyway, Dungeons and Dragons is a great cartoon. You should watch it.

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

FileDialog
Green Music Note dundragono1.wav Presto: "Look, there, Tiamat the dragon!"
Tiamat: (snarls) "Who dares awaken me?"
Bobby: "All right, leave her to me!"
Green Music Note dundragono2.wav Diana: "I can't believe it."
Sheila: "It's our fault you know - always making fun of him when his magic tricks backfired."
Green Music Note dundragono3.wav Fake Merlin: "Only good magic could undo Merlin's spell and release the dragons. So, I had to trick you into undoing Merlin's spell."
Presto: "But you're Merlin, aren't you?"
Fake Merlin: "Merlin hasn't lived for a thousand years."
Green Music Note dundragono4.wav Vengar: "I have the wizard's hat. Hand over the rest of your objects of power."
Hank: "We can't do that, Vengar."
Vengar: "You have no choice."
Hank: "Bobby, use your club!"
Bobby: "Whatever you say, Hank."
Green Music Note dundragono5.wav Dungeon Master describes the Beholder.
Green Music Note dundragono6.wav Eric: "For once somebody else can fight the creepy slime that inhabits this world."

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 

ImageImageImage
ImageImageImage
ImageImage


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipdundragono1.mpg - 4.1m
Part of the show's opening animation sequence.

 Leave a commentEXTRASBuy the movie 

Share It!Buy the movieIMDB Logo
Stumble This ReviewStumble This Review
Digg This ReviewDigg This Review
Buy it from Amazon.com (United States)

Buy it from Movies Unlimited (United States)

Internet Movie Database


Comments:Write CommentPages: [1] 2 3
Re: Dungeons & Dragons: The Animated Series
Reply #1. Posted on January 31, 2007, 10:23:52 PM by Ash
Great review!
Good job.   Thumbup

I too watched this quite a bit when I was a kid growing up in the 80's.
I'd like to get my hands on a DVD set of the episodes.
Is there a DVD set available?

By the way, I noticed this pic in the review:


What is the name of that creature?
Is it The Beholder?
I seem to remember an episode titled, "Eye of the Beholder".
Dungeons & Dragons, the cartoon.
Reply #2. Posted on January 31, 2007, 10:25:32 PM by Bmeansgood
Just thought I would congratulate you on a great review.  I had forgotten about that cartoon.   I remember it was pretty good.  I am glad to hear that it still holds up.   Thumbup
Re: Dungeons & Dragons, the cartoon.
Reply #3. Posted on January 31, 2007, 10:35:28 PM by Andrew
Akiratubo did a very fine job with the review.  I watched a number of the episodes again and cannot agree with his opinion in all respects, but he does a great job of saying how he feels about it and why.  Hard to argue with that.  Some people just react differently.
Re: Dungeons & Dragons: The Animated Series
Reply #4. Posted on January 31, 2007, 10:38:54 PM by Andrew
There is a DVD set of the complete series available at this time.  I picked it up, solely to add the multimedia to the review that Akiratubo wrote.  Not entirely true, I was interested in seeing the series again after reading his review.  I see why he feels the way he does about it and am really interested in his take on Dungeon Master, because I think it is dead on (and disagreed with it at first).

That is the beholder, one of the more memorable creatures from the Monster Manual for D&D.
Re: Dungeons & Dragons: The Animated Series
Reply #5. Posted on January 31, 2007, 10:55:35 PM by Ash
I can't believe that I actually remembered that creature's name.
There's even a Wiki entry for it.
READ IT HERE

Kind of reminds you of this little guy doesn't it?

Re: Dungeons & Dragons: The Animated Series
Reply #6. Posted on January 31, 2007, 11:23:13 PM by JPickettIII
I loved watching that show.  I will admit that Shelia was kinda of sexy.  I saw it when I was eight or ten.

I read the encyclopedia link for the Beholder.  The one type of beholder I would hate to meet is the Doomsphere:



I also loved playing the D & D games.  They were fun with the monsters and the adventures.

Take care,

John

P.S.  I think that I am going to use the Doomsphere in the picture war.
Re: Dungeons & Dragons, the cartoon.
Reply #7. Posted on February 01, 2007, 12:54:02 AM by Zapranoth
I thought that damn unicorn seriously, seriously needed stepped on.

Re: Dungeons & Dragons, the cartoon.
Reply #8. Posted on February 01, 2007, 04:43:47 AM by Yaddo 42
Excellent review of a series I really didn't like then, I was a little older than Akiratubo. I think I saw some episodes on Cartoon Network a few years ago (saw them somewhere on cable) still didn't like it.

Maybe the kids were too much like kids I knew in real life, and even as a kid I hated kids and cute sidekicks in scifi and fantasy, since I knew they weren't in any real danger in the end, no mainstream movie or show was likely to kill or maim a kid in a kid's story. The little boy with the club was the one who annoyed me the most along with his stupid unicorn. Also the kids didn't seem to get any better at using their weapons, especially Presto. I guess I wanted more of a serial storyline or some sense of growth , but cartoons didn't really do that back then.

Plus I was more in the camp that thinks Dungeonmaster is using or messing with them more than teaching them anything.

But it was a fantasy action cartoon, so I watched it anyway. Just like I watched Thundarr until I figured out they weren't making any new episodes. I should probably thank this show for keeping me away from D&D and gaming such was my dislike, I was enough of a geek as it was. There were no gamers at my schools best I can tell.
Pages: [1] 2 3
 Share on Facebook
RSS Feed Subscribe Subscribe by RSS
Email Subscribe Subscribe by Email


Recommended Articles
How To Find A Bad Movie

The Champions of Justice

Plan 9 from Outer Space

Manos, The Hands of Fate

Podcast: Todd the Convenience Store Clerk

Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

The Human Tornado

Maniac

The Educational Archives: Driver's Ed

Godzilla vs. Monster Zero

Do you have a zombie plan?

FROM THE BADMOVIES.ORG ARCHIVES
ImageThe Giant Claw - Slime drop

Earth is visited by a GIANT ANTIMATTER SPACE BUZZARD! Gawk at the amazingly bad bird puppet, or chuckle over the silly dialog. This is one of the greatest b-movies ever made.

Lesson Learned:
  • Osmosis: os·mo·sis (oz-mo'sis, os-) n., 1. When a bird eats something.

Subscribe to Badmovies.org and get updates by email:

HOME B-Movie Reviews Reader Reviews Forum Interviews TV Shows Advertising Information Sideshows Links Contact
Badmovies.org is owned and operated by Andrew Borntreger. All original content is © 1998 - 2014 by its respective author(s). Image, video, and audio files are used in accordance with Fair Use, and are property of the film copyright holders. You may freely link to any page (.html or .php) on this website, but reproduction in any other form must be authorized by the copyright holder.