Story: Dungeons & Dragons has been taking players on adventures for decades and while these dungeon crawls might be driven by pen and paper, the real force behind the massive success of the franchise lies within the realm of imagination. The worlds of Dungeons & Dragons leave a lot to the minds of those who play, but there are also some guideposts and world building built in, including the lore seen within the artist renditions throughout the series’ run. These epic scenes of battle or adventure bring to life the kind of quests and worlds players can explore, while also leaving plenty to be created by those same players, crafting a terrific balance. In Eye of the Beholder, we learn about the art and artists that have inspired generations of imaginative adventurers.
Entertainment Value: I’ve seen a good amount of Dungeons & Dragons campaigns, books, and various collectibles and of course, the dynamic artwork used to market these items is a big part of the draw, as the world comes alive in such vivid fashion. The lavish art allows us an instant vision of what awaits inside for us, a quick glimpse into a deeper world, one we can fill in for ourselves, but that initial visual impact, you need the art to accomplish that. Eye of the Beholder tells the story of the Dungeons & Dragons art, from the early days to more modern times, showing us how even a shared world could yield such varied, unique pieces that help create the vision of the whole. I loved seeing a wide assortment of the art showcased here and there is quite a bit of material shown, with a special emphasis on certain, more iconic pieces as well. I think fans will appreciate some quick backstories on those iconic art pieces, including the fate of some of the original works.
Those backstories are told from first hand perspectives, as we have a good number of interview subjects to weigh in on the various topics. This includes some of the artists themselves, which really elevates the documentary and adds so much insight. You can hear the passion these artists have for the characters and worlds they helped create, even decades down the line, these folks poured themselves into their work and their artwork reflects that. I do wish they’d have been allowed to continue keeping the original art, especially in light of some of the things that surface here. The pace of Eye of the Beholder is good and never slows much whatsoever, so it keeps you hooked in and with so many interesting aspects to soak in, there’s never a dull moment. I’d easy recommend this to Dungeons & Dragons fans and fantasy devotees, but anyone with a curiosity about art would likely appreciate this one as well.