Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Finally, a video game movie done right. Disney’s take on the acclaimed video game series was indeed action adventure at it’s finest. A good time, entertainment at its very best. Do these comments come as a surprise? Well, we’re just as shocked as you are. Seriously, Disney? White people playing Persians? Who would have thunk? But surprisingly POP was vivid, involving and enveloping.
Loosely based on the 2003 video game, the movie revolves of Dastan (the jacked Jake Gyenhaal), a remarkably nimble street rat who gets adopted by the King of Persia and gets to play prince with the Kings 2 sons. Much to the dismay of Kings Brother (Ben Kingsley), of course. Several years later, the kingdom is under threat, with a Persian spy claiming that the ancient, holy city of Alamut is hording weapons and suppling them to the enemies of the empire. Dastan, along with his adoptive brothers Tus and Garsiv lead the Persian army to squash the potential threat. Though, weapons are nowhere to be found. Instead, Dastan stumbles upon a magical dagger that bestows the ability to turn back time upon the bearer. Something is awry in the kingdom of however, and while the army is still celebrating their win, Dastan is accused of a crime that he didn’t commit, and forced to go on the run, with the beautiful Princess Tamina of Alamut and guardian of the dagger (hot piece of ass Gemma Arteron) in tow. And that’s just the first half-hour. The fast paced story moves forward with Daston’s effort to clear his name, whilst protecting the magical dagger from the grasp of power hungry, true evil at it’s most sinister.
A bit of weak a story, that’s equally convoluted, as it is predictable, but it’s acceptable enough. It holds its own ground in the terms of storyline and direction. Though, critics (other critics) might demand something more meaningful, it doesn’t need to be more than what it is. By demanding more your asking too much. Nitpicking the screenplay will distract you from what it offers. Prince of Persia is a throwback to the Arabian adventure type movies of the 1970’s. A dashing sword and sandal affair, that delivers energetic fun!
Bringing this swashbuckling, myth, magic, and romance package together is director of Four Weddings and Funeral, Mike Newell. From one genre to another Mike proves he is a versatile director. He magnificently captured the exhilaration of the video game. Though, you can be sure producer Jerry Bruckheimer (Pirates of The Caribbean) is also to thank for steering this multi-million dollar big-screen adaptation.
The cinematography, courtesy of John Seale was also quite beautiful, shot in great style. Visually stunning. Fronting the exotic, colorful, cinematic splendor comes the films most notable feature, it’s action. Offering breathless, acrobatic parkour rooftop chases which faithfully represents the play of the game. There’s also plenty of sword and dagger play to keep you dazzled. The majority of the sequences are tightly edited with fast cuts and close up shots. Which make it a bit hard to follow whats happening, but it’s a minor complaint. Also, we have the absolutely gorgeous CG renderings of the actual time travel. The beautiful, golden hued rewind dusted with the magical sands that make the time travel possible. Whenever it happens, it is as amazing as it is enthralling.
Another grievance is the is trite and clichéd dialogue. However, there’s enough edgy and funny lines to balance things out. Bringing life to the bromidic script is the all star cast. They do what they can with they have and make it work. Jake Gyllenhall emits sex appeal and charisma throughout. Jake does a fine job and is a welcomed action hero. Gemma Arterton is also a welcomed surprise. Stale and wooden acting in “Clash of The Titans” Emma injects wit, passion and emotion into the role of Princess Tamina. The exchanges between these two leads are quite enjoyable. The two characters exude exciting, sensational, sexual tension. The romance does get a bit cheesy but nothing cringe worthy. Some of the most fun comes from the side character of ostrich farmer Sheik Amar. Played by the great Alfred Molina this character is the obvious comic relief. His sharp tongue and witty banter is uproariously funny. He steals the show. All the other characters are equally like-able and round out the assortment of humor and chemistry. Weakest, though is that of Ben Kingsly’s role of the dastardly vizier. His character is such a textbook villain. Ben’s talent is wasted on this one dimensional, typical and predictable miscreant.
Cheesy dialogue, disjointed editing, and a mandatory happy ending are all minor flaws to an otherwise pitch perfect popcorn flick.
In an endless seas of horrid video game adaptations Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time stands above and raises the bar on a once suffering genre. It’s fast, handsome and colorful. It is made by people who know how to entertain and entertain they do.
This movies has been nerd tested and bastard approved
3 1/2 out of 4 stars.