Thursday, May 27, 2010

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time [2010]

Director: Mike Newell
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Ben Kingsley, Gemma Arterton, Alfred Molina
Rating: Teen (violence, horrific images)
Comment: "Very much in the spirit of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, and that's a good thing, really..."

When a Prince of Persia movie was announced and entered the pre-production stage, perhaps FPBM! was one of the plenty who pranced around like a schoolgirl all giddy with excitement. Being an avid follower of the Prince of Persia series from it's 8-bit (or was it 16-bit?) days, the love for the series was rejuvenated when the video game of the same name was released back in 2003. The game took what made the original game so popular and ... Well, original and upgraded it. That later became the blueprint for the movie.

As the title would have already suggested, the story revolves around the Dagger of Time, and the Sands of Time that empowers it. After the city of Alamut has been successfully sieged by the Persian army, The Dagger of Time falls upon the hands of Prince Dastan. Oblivious to it's power and also the tyrannical scheme involving it, Dastan's life and the lives of those loved by him are now in peril.

Frankly FPBM! has very little complaints about this movie. Although perhaps they could have toyed with certain aspects of the movie just a little bit more. For instance, it's not difficult to even take a wild guess on who is the villain. If you have played even the 1989 Prince of Persia game, that particular detail of the movie has already been given away. Making the plot twist less convincing.

If there's another complaint, maybe it would be the pacing of the film. Strangely, most of the movie is well-paced, it is only the beginning that feels rushed. Perhaps it was done to accommodate the subject matter of the story. All the same, a longer back-story, and maybe more banter between the principal characters might have help in providing more depth to the characters.

Produced by the same people who brought us the Pirates of the Carribbean series, one can't help but notice that this film has a lot of Pirates feel to it. It contains similar brand of humour, plentiful of action and the setting is well-utilised to bring us to this other world.

As a side note, there has been cries over ethnic issues in the casting. Jake Gyllenhaal, is obviously not anywhere from the Middle East, and Gemma Arterton is an English playing an Arabian princess. FPBM! for one couldn't care about such matter for the cast did exactly what they were hired to do; playing their roles and playing it good. They did just that. Now, Gyllenhaal is probably best known for his light-hearted roles in films such as Bubble Boy [2001] and also quirky ones such as Donnie Darko [2001]. Combine that with the fact that he has beefed himself up to action hero proportions, he makes for a very believable Prince of Persia- witty, easy-going, cheeky, but also deadly. Just like the characterisation of the Prince in the games.

It's only a bit weird that they all speak with a hint of British English in their accents.

All in all, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is more than just watchable, you'll find yourselves wanting more. Now that the Pirates series has run it's course (in FPBM!'s view), we have another to further expand the Disney-Action genre.

Points Calculation

The Good [+100]
- Story
- Parkour is always fun to watch
- Tasteful humour

The Bad [-30]
- Pacing
- Arguably one-dimensional characters

100 - 30 = 70 points

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