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The Dungeon Masters

NR CC

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, re-imagining the tropes of classic heroic cinema, creating an intimate portrait of minor struggles and triumphs writ large.

Starring:
Aaron Beal, Emanuel Brooks
Runtime:
1 hour, 28 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Documentary
Director Keven McAlester
Starring Aaron Beal, Emanuel Brooks
Supporting actors Jake Penton, Richard Meeks
Studio Filmbuff
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael J. Tresca VINE VOICE on April 11, 2010
Format: Amazon Video
I am not happy with this film.

Oh, I started out as a fan. A documentary about Dungeon Masters, the premiere organizers of Dungeons & Dragons games...what could go wrong?

Like the fan documentary A Galaxy Far, Far Away, The Dungeon Masters explores a fringe culture by spotlighting its most extreme elements. It follows the paths of three subjects: Richard Meeks, Scott Corum, and Elizabeth Reesman.

Richard Meeks is a national guardsman who walked out on his Florida gaming group and his family to start a new life. Meeks' players revolted when he killed off the entire party with a sphere of annihilation trap. In Dungeons & Dragons, death is impermanent - there are plenty of means of returning to life. But spheres of annihilation are different. "Any matter that comes in contact with a sphere is instantly sucked into the void, gone, and utterly destroyed. Only the direct intervention of a deity can restore an annihilated character." For gamers spanning multiple years, this is serious business.

Meeks' reputation as a "Killer DM" that he clearly relishes is reinforced by his reunion with the players, wherein he summarily dismisses the group once more. The Dungeon Masters portrays Meeks' gaming style as the kind that players spend several pages on forums ranting about - the uncompromising, my-way-or-the-highway jerk that makes gaming so unpleasant for so many. As if that weren't enough, Meeks is also a nudist (a random point, since we're not sure exactly how he exercises this proclivity other than to chat at the camera nude). And in case you're wondering...he's not exactly fit either.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
To start off, i have to say the movie was very engaging. It was paced well and the characters were interesting. The problem i have with the movie is that it perpetuates negative stereotypes involving the roleplaying hobby. The three characters are walking embodiments of the unsavory side of popular culture. You have the unemployed, overweight, failed author. Who, instead of finding a stable job to provide for his family, creates a cable access show about his alter-ego, a failed super-villain. The next character is a sadistic dungeon master who kills off the characters of players that hes been playing with for 7 years. He's also an overweight nudist who ran out on his family. The third and worst of all is the girl who may or may not be able to disassociate herself from the character she roleplays. She also married a guy at 19 who ended up getting her pregnant and beating her up and goes the extra mile by dressing up like her character face paint and all.

I have been playing dungeons and dragons since i was a kid and i hate to see a game with so many positive traits be viewed so negatively in society. The game has been always been viewed as the epitome of childhood dorkiness, only for those who are so dissatisfied with their current lives that they have to make up fake ones. It's a game of social interaction, of creativity, and logic. No cable, no internet connection, just you and a bunch of your friends sitting around a table having fun on a Thursday night. When a movie like this comes out the average DnD player suffers. I'm not asking for much either, just a piece of pop culture that shows a normal guy playing a normal game of DnD.
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Format: DVD
The ostensible subject of this film is three role-playing game enthusiasts. In fact, the real focus of the film is director Keven McAlester and his borderline sociopathic compulsion to convince a few mild eccentrics to trust in him so he'll be in a position to publicly humiliate and scapegoat them. McAlester, never onscreen himself, comes across as something between Shakespeare's Iago and Jerry Springer.

Richard Meeks reports in online interviews that when the director and producers first approached potential subjects at GenCon, they secured cooperation by claiming their goal was to portray Dungeon Masters "as normal, everyday people" - to CORRECT the insulting way role-players are often misrepresented in the mainstream media. This pattern of approaching vulnerable people who were abused and/or traumatized as children or in marriage, telling them "I know you've been abused in the past, but I'm here to FIX that abuse, to HELP you! You can TRUST me!," being welcomed into their homes and lives for months at a time, then betraying that very trust -- it's not just the everyday dishonesty of politicians and television commercials. It's profoundly abusive. It's cult-leader abusive.

Some examples of McAlester betraying trust/bending facts:

* The documentary opens with subject Scott Corum describing why he loves role-playing. Then, after he is clearly under the impression the filmed interview has ended, after we see him walk off-camera, we hear him ask about dinner plans. Corum clearly believes that filming has ended and does not intend his dinner question to be part of the film, but McAlester not only leaves it in without his subject's awareness or permission, he uses it as the definitive tone-setting moment immediately before the film title.
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10 Comments 41 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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