May 28, 2010
Review - " Prince of Persia: Sands of Time "
(in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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Prince of Persia: Sands of Time
Directed by: Mike Newell
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, Alfred
Lets get the three most important queries out of the way - is
Prince of Persia: Sands of Time the film that will reverse the game-
based horrid movie trend? Yes it is. Is Prince of Persia an exciting
adventure that you could take your kids to? Yep. Is Prince of
Persia worth the price of admission? To an extent, yes.
Prince of Persia is a popcorn film which can be enjoyed if not
taken too seriously. The film seems to have made especially for
the teen audience in mind as it boasts of an ample amount of
mindless action, magical escapades, running, jumping, hiding &
chasing around. Two hours of timepass is guaranteed if you don’t
give much thought to where the film is heading.
Prince of Persia succeeds on two fronts - it not only satisfies die
hard fans of the games but also stands triumphantly alone as a
film, not much bothered about wanting to satisfy fans. The film is
laughably cliched, because it is supposed to be. Its got cardboard
characters because it is supposed to have. It is magnificent to
look at, its action set pieces are thrilling, its art direction is
wondrous to behold. So is there a reason why families should stay
away from Prince of Persia? Not really, unless your cup of tea is
watching distressing, depressing cinema with your kids. Prince of
Persia goes way ahead of the likes of Hitman and Resident Evil - it
has a cohesive story that works better than those two films and
even Clash of the Titans.
The storyline remains closely linked with the Sands of Time game trilogy - Prince Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) is the adopted
son of the Persian King Sharaman. He has no blood right to the throne but he remains faithful to his adoptive father's
wishes. Dastan's life takes a turn when his Army takes over the fictitious city of Alamut and he discovers a jeweled dagger.
His father, the King is murdered and Dastan is forced to run as he is quickly branded as the murderer. The Prince and
Alamut's princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton) discern the dagger's power of turning back time; the duo embark on a mission
to reverse the events preceding the taking of Alamut and bring the real perpetrator to justice. In between the corn and
cheese Alfred Molina offers a few laughs and ostrich races and Ben Kingsley floats about in the darkness in an effort to
control swirls of CGI sand.
There's only one problem with Prince of
Persia: Sands of Time - the casting. The
protagonist Jake Gyllenhaal, is caught up
between the wisecracking Prince from the
video games and his own serious self from
'Jarhead'. Its laughable that producer Jerry
Bruckheimer used an American actor to
portray a Persian prince who talks with a
British accent. It doesn't help that the other
actors are all painted red to look more Iranian,
and are also ordered to speak in a Brit twang.
Poor Gemma Arterton tries her hardest to do
an Elizabeth Swann from Pirates of the
Caribbean but fails miserably. The great
Ben Kingsely resorts to staring menacingly
at the camera throughout the film's runtime.
Shame. With all that money ($200 million)
spent to make the film one would expect a
complete entertainment package, something
that the 'Pirates' films succeeded in.
However the CGI imagery itself is worth the trip to the cinema hall. The golden sun-kissed desert and the hyper-realistic
combat really are droolworthy. There are subtle nods to the games when the Prince leaps over rooftops, performs wall-runs,
and gashes his enemies with his 360 degree acrobatics. The flashback feature from 'Prince of Persia: Warrior Within' has
been nicely incorporated to juice things up. Prince of Persia: Sands of Time is fun, kids will love it, gamers will dig it, if you're
either of the two, rush to the nearest theater.