Posted by The Lam | Jun 2, 2010
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is the first huge budget video-game-to-movie adaptation in a while. But with failure after failure in other franchises, will Prince of Persia be the movie that finally brings success to the genre or will it be another dud?

Prince of Persia tells the story of a young prince named Dastan, who when a child, was nothing but a lowly thief scouring the streets of Persia. After a chance meeting with the king where he witnessed Dastan's courage, he was led to adopt him into his royal family. Dastan, now older, fights alongside his brothers, protecting the land of Persia from their neighbouring enemies. On one particular battle, Dastan comes across a sacred dagger, a treasure to their enemies, with the power to reverse time. During a celebration after the battle victory, an act of treason occurs within the royal family and Dastan finds himself in the middle of a ploy orchestrated by someone close to him. Along with Princess Tamina, from the neighbouring nation, Dastan seeks to uncover the truth behind the crime perpetrated against his family.

The rights were picked up by Disney a few years ago with hopes that they could turn this video game franchise into one of their summer tentpoles similarly to Pirates of the Caribbean.

Plotwise, it was a by-the-numbers kind of a story. You knew where things were headed at almost all times. This made it sort of funny to watch. In the beginning of the movie, there's a scene where they are discussing their plans to attack the neighbouring city and we get to see a shot of all the good guys in the room. I thought to myself, there are too many good guys here, at least one of them is going to be a traitor. Lo and behold! So the story is kept safe, and I don't blame them. I want to say that it's an "A to B" plot, but with time reversing in the movie, does it make it an "A to A" plot? Regardless, this is a summer blockbuster action movie, it doesn't have to be plotcentric, so I don't blame them for this.

The only real problem I had was with the actual sacred dagger itself used as a plot device. Because the dagger has the ability to reverse time, it takes away a lot of the tension and emotions that can arise during the movie. Anytime anything major happened in the plot, you knew that it could be reversed with the use of the dagger. It does take away some of the investment you have in the characters.

Still, the movie is stunning to watch. The wide shots of Persia (or Morocco where it was filmed) are beautiful and breathtaking. The action is fun to watch, be it the sword fighting, or watching Dastan parkour across the city.

What made it a fun movie to watch was the pacing, and I have to thank Mike Newell for that. Even at two hours, the movie never feels tired and the action scenes are placed well between talking scenes. For an action movie, this worked.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton worked well together and much like the Prince of Persia game from two years ago, I enjoyed the banter that the two had together when they were both onscreen, always taking shots at each other. I thought their chemistry worked well. It also helped that Arterton is the definition of beauty. So the acting was top notch across the board, but I mean, that's expected with heavyweights like Ben Kingsley and Alfred Molina (who steals the show) onboard. As I was watching it, my geek meter went off the charts. I realized that this was a reunion of sorts between Kingsley and Molina, who about 15 years ago were in the movie Species together. Holy geekgasms!

It's kind of disappointing that it's underperforming at the box office as it's fun for the whole family. As a final word, I'll say this. As per normal movie standards, I'd say that the movie was good, but as per video-game-to-movie standards, it should be considered great. Til next time, later geeks!



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