Prince of Persia:
The Sands of Time
Movies based on video games are always a dicey proposition. Gaming and
filmmaking are such different art forms – one is purely reactive and
the other is provoking thought.
this point dozens of video games have been made as films – including
Doom, Tomb Raider, Super Mario Brothers, Alone in the Dark, Silent
Hill and many, many more. Honestly, not even one of them can be called
a good film – though a few have reached the level of okay.
Personally, at least, Prince of Persia has a bit more resonance to
me, simply because it was one of the few games which have been made to film
from back in my gaming days and which I actually played. Of course, I
played the first two Prince of Persia games, and from what I hear,
this film is based on the sixth adventure in the long-lived series.
said, the game is about twenty years old now, so you have to wonder how much
the audience has been waiting around for it.
However, Prince of Persia certainly has more muscle behind it,
created by much the same filmmaking team that made the equally unlikely
theme park ride source material into the wonderfully entertaining first
Pirates of Caribbean movie. It also stars a hot young star – that
acclaimed Persian actor Jake Gyllenhaal – and includes one of the
all-too-regular slumming performances by Oscar-winning thespian Sir Ben
Kingsley. It also includes a scene-stealing supporting role by Alfred
Molina (Spider Man 2, Raiders of the Lost Ark), one of the most
likable genre actors around.
are obviously looking to make Persia a huge franchise. Too bad, they
forgot about the storyline.
Prince of Persia,
for all its flashy
effects and hip performers is essentially is just another old-fashioned
swords-and-sand melodrama. There isn’t all that much here that you haven’t
already seen in The Mummy series or Clash of the Titans –
which even shares Prince of Persia female lead Gemma Arterton.
like Titans it is the story of the adopted child of a leader who must
fight all sorts of old-school dangers like giant monsters and angry
villagers in order to save his father from a family member’s attempted
coup d’etat. He is sent out into the wilderness with a wisecracking
gorgeous woman (the role played by Arterton in
both films) who he originally hates but eventually comes to love.
fairness, Prince of Persia is better than Clash of the Titans.
That isn’t saying all that much, though.
Unfortunately, as usual with game-based films, the filmmakers feel the need
to heap on the ridiculous stunts. For example, you keep wondering why the
prince keeps jumping from post to post when there is a perfectly functional
floor about ten feet below. Therefore, in way too many scenes you almost
feel like you are just watching someone playing the video game – and there
is nothing more boring than watching someone else playing a video game.
one clever plot contrivance – a magical dagger which allows the user to turn
back time – is pretty underused. Then again, if it were used properly, then
there really would have been no story.
Actually, come to think of it, there still isn’t.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2010 PopEntertainment.com.
All rights reserved. Posted: September 14, 2010.