By Lisa Schwarzbaum
Updated January 05, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST
Dungeons and Dragons: Francis Delia

Those schooled in the arcana of the phenomenally successful 28 year old fantasy role playing game can best rule on whether first time director Courtney Solomon’s live action adaptation is a faithful depiction of Dungeons & Dragons‘ obsessive world of Mages, commoners, elves, dwarfs, and winged things. But even a babe in dungeonland (lost, perhaps, on the way to ”Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”) can see that the leading fire breather in this malty brew of heroics and minutiae isn’t a computer generated creature (which displays the crude, comfy gawkiness of old Japanese movie monsters), but Jeremy Irons as the archvillain Profion.

Irons howls, he whispers, he rages, he struts around in Larry Olivier’s ”Hamlet” eyeliner, luxuriously bellowing immortal lines like ”You! Are! Mine! Now!” and generally giving good value. As his henchman, Damodar, Bruce Payne runs a close second, terrorizing callow hero thief Ridley (Justin Whalin), Ridley’s Mage sweetie, Marina (Zoe McLellan), and his cheeky fellow commoner Snails (Marlon Wayans). Watch for an imitation ”Star Wars” bar scene and an authentic ex- ”Doctor Who,” Tom Baker, as a wise elf.

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