Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Mythica: A Quest for Heroes

Posted by Rampant Coyote on February 3, 2015

mythicaBack in the early-to-mid 80s, there were rumors of a Dungeons & Dragons movie. D&D was a weird fad, so of course Hollywood was investigating the possibility of making a movie out of it. And of course, Hollywood investigating (or even buying the movie rights) means very little. We geeky kids were disappointed that while it was talked about, it didn’t materialize.

But not as disappointed as we were when an official Dungeons & Dragons movie finally did hit the theaters in December 2000, in all its blue-lipstick glory. All I can say is that we were all very grateful that The Fellowship of the Ring appeared a year later and washed that taste out of our mouths. Since D&D was largely inspired by the Lord of the Rings books, I think it’s fair to say that the Lord of the Rings trilogy finally gave us the D&D movies that we always wanted. And then some.

But if you have already seen the movies a few times and are looking for some other high-fantasy movie that feels like a rousing game of Dungeons & Dragons, the pickings can be a little slim.

Saturday night, a cold had killed my voice, I was exhausted from FanX, and I was supposed to run a Pathfinder game for game night. It wasn’t happening. However, I’d just received my backer DVD from the Mythica: A Quest for Heroes kickstarter. I’d run into Jason Faller, one of the writers and producers for the movie, at FanX the day before, and he’d assured me (in spite of his obvious bias) that this was their best movie to date. So our gaming group opted to watch this movie instead.

Mythica: A Quest for Heroes is a lower-budget, independent film that is inspired by gaming. And by “inspired by,” I think I mean, “it’s like a D&D campaign got turned into a movie.” But I mean that in a good way. It’s part of a trilogy of movies, for which all principle filming is already completed.

You know what? We really enjoyed the movie. No, it’s not going to go toe-to-toe against The Fellowship of the Ring or anything, but it was a decent movie that felt like an idealized first adventure of a D&D campaign.

The film follows a lame slave girl named Marek, who has been secretly studying under the magician Gojun Pye (played by Kevin Sorbo). She discovers that he is leaving, and begs him to buy her contract and take her with him. Instead, in classic D&D logic, he gives her instructions that effectively amount to, “Go adventure and gain a couple of levels, and then I’ll teach you some more.”

Seriously. He uses different words, but that’s basically what he says.

It doesn’t take long before running away becomes a necessity. Following Gojun Pye’s suggestion, she heads out of town to a tavern  – naturally, the source of countless adventures in D&D campaigns. There she meets a young priestess named Teela who is desperate to rescue her sister who has been kidnapped by orc raiders. Sound familiar? Teela can’t afford to hire seasoned adventurers, and is clearly unimpressed by Marek, but Marek promises that she has a “team.”

So Marek frantically uses bribery and duress to extract commitments from Thane the warrior, and Degen the rogue. They get together with Teela and the four misfits – not getting along very well together to begin with – must face a small army of orcs and a fearsome ogre, among other deadly threats to rescue Teela’s sister.

If you are a D&D player, this storyline probably sounds incredibly familiar. But nevertheless, the filmmakers manage to throw enough twists to keep it entertaining. And as far as it’s low-budget, indie status… thanks to CGI, the special effects are at least up there with an average Doctor Who episode. While the main story is tied up in a satisfactory way, it feels like there was a lot that was set up to be addressed in the future installments. I’m looking forward to them.

Is it a cinematic masterpiece? Of course not. But Mythica: A Quest for Heroes is a fun ride, an entertaining fantasy adventure that hides its shoestring budget remarkably well. Especially if you are a fan of fantasy role-playing games, I recommend the movie.

Mythica: A Quest for Heroes

Filed Under: Movies - Comments: 6 Comments to Read

  • McTeddy said,

    Whenever someone brings up the D&D Movie I can’t help but laugh. I remember Dave Arneson told us about when they interviewed him for the special features for the DVD.

    “I didn’t know what to say because I didn’t want to say the movie stunk. So, I said something like ‘I think it’s great they took the source and made it their own.”

    I miss him.

    Anyways, I’ll definitely be checking this movie out. I’m fond of these low-budget nerd fantasies.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    LOL – Man, Dave Arneson was awesome.

    You know, some of the film was pretty predictable – especially if you are a gamer. But I didn’t mind that – I actually really enjoyed it. Again, it was like… this is how things would happen in a D&D game, tweaked to have it make dramatic sense. And it had some of it’s own bits of awesomeness and twists to really own it, too.

    Like… the healing spell. Teela does a healing spell to save Thane that is like…. DANG! More like magical surgery. It’s not touching them on the head and saying “You are HEALED!”

    And then there’s something special about Marek’s magic, and how it ties into the guy who is probably the main villain of the trilogy, and how it might affect her relationship with her new friends. And her leg, which cannot be healed and makes running away problematic. Stuff like that.

    Anyway, all that means that although the story is familiar, it’s not generic. I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out.

    I think they did a better job on 1/200th (if that!) of the budget on this movie than George Lucas did with Willow.

  • Cuthalion said,

    Hmm… I’ll have to check it out sometime. I can appreciate a bit of cheese if I know that going in. 😛

  • McTeddy said,

    I’m fine with predictable and cheesy. I’m enjoy projects with more passion than quality.

    It’s one of the reasons I like many bad horror movies. Even if you can see the zero budget and bad acting you can see that they really tried and enjoyed making the project.

    Mainstream stuff tend to polish away anything that resembles passion.

  • Cuthalion said,

    If I saw it on youtube, I’d probably think it was awesome and crazy impressive. It’s all about calibrating expectations. If I think of it as a movie by fantasy fans for fantasy fans, I’ll probably be a fan.

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