Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Reviews
The story is about Dastan. A fearless boy who grew up in the slums until the king takes him under his wings and takes him as his son. He grows up to be a warrior and witnesses his father's death, who he is framed for. He flees fomr the kingdom, along with Princess Tamina who he was offered to wed. He then finds a magical dagger of Tamina's that can turn back time. Thats all I got from the story. The film for me was so complex. The dagger was cool but I wish we got a little more of it. When the film didn't focus on that, lame possible plots fill the gaps. The story was the main issue for me.
Now on to acting. I like Jake Gylenhaal. He was okay in this movie. Its both weird and quite cool to see him take on a role like this. Ben Kingsley was okay and Alfred Molina could have had potential but fell flat. I enjoyed Gemma Arterton and it wasn't just because I had a crush on her. She had good chemistry with Jake and was sassy. The entire cast was okay. The performances are very far from being good or great.
The effects were too much CGI but better than the effects in that other Disney film that was released two months before this.
I'll wrap up by saying I was not fond of this film. The story and pacing were no-nos. Its a merely okay film that was both dull and exciting. Odd mix. I'll stick to the video game instead. i just didn't like it and I don't know why.
The film duplicates themes we've all seen so many times before - a guy and a gal get thrown together for whatever reason - and they spar back and forth (though hardly at the level of wordplay of say Taming of The Shrew) and ultimately fall in love. As always seems to be the case in these teen oriented potboilers, they spend half the film almost kissing - as if that's supposed to ratchet up the tension and make the inevitable kiss all the more special: note to script writers everywhere - this is not a truism. Kissing does not signify everlasting love, so please, let's dispense with this kind of melodramatic drivel.
The plot line is also something we've heard a million times before: a homeless lad is "adopted" by the king and grows up a "brother" to the royal heirs. Flash forward 15 years (yep, the film does just that) and there seems to be a dilemma where the king in waiting has been told by the king to not lay siege to some mystical holy city. But wait! The king's uncle (played by Ben Kingsley in a bit of typecasting) tells the prince that the city has been supplying arms to their enemies!... hmm. Wait a minute - this takes place in Persia, which is now the Middle East, and there are reports of arms being supplied to "our" enemies. Holy Hand Grenade Batman - could these be weapons of mass destruction? We'd better invade! Oops, wrong century. But, taking the evil uncle's advise (and it's not a spoiler to mention that the uncle is evil, although the film would rather you didn't find this out until much later, even though Kingsley hams it up with dark and sinister glances) - the prince sacks the sacred city and decides he should marry the hotty princess of the city (although she's got those damned botoxed lips - what is it with women in films nowadays? Note to actresses, good or otherwise - those fake Halloween lips are NOT SEXY).
From here the plot moves (sorta) into a murder - the non royal prince gets falsely accused - the aforementioned let's throw a guy and a girl together and watch em fall in love - some chase scenes - some fight scenes (all poorly done), mediocre CGI (man, those scenes involving the sands of time were awful!) and a huge bit of illogic (that's even considering that you buy into a magic dagger that can turn back time - maybe Cher should have starred in this). Said huge bit of illogic involves a character (guess who?) who wants to go back and erase something that happened 30 years ago, assuming that by correcting this single act he gets what he wants and everything else in the universe will remain the same. Uh, guess the scriptwriter never read Ray Bradbury.
The film takes this all way too seriously, and probably would have been better served if they would have taken a cue from Alfred Molina and played it for laughs (especially the entire, tired love story). Molina is truly the only bright spot in the film, playing a shaky sheik calling himself an "entrepreneur". He easily has the best lines in the film and plays his part with bravado and reckless abandon. Especially fun are his rants against the Persian tax collectors, and how the taxes all go towards stuff that he doesn't need - touché!
The characters on a whole are pretty wooden and predictable, though a little more back story would have been a help. For example, at one point late in the film the non royal prince pleads with his brother saying "I know we've had our differences but...". Well maybe HE knows that, but the audience sure doesn't - and perhaps some sibling rivalry would have made a better film (take a page from Lion In Winter, perchance).
In the lead you have Jake Gyllenhaal who could lose an l and an a and do us all a favor.
He spends much of the film sporting a glazed over, slacked jawed look as if he's shocked to find himself in such a film - note to Jake - you've hit your level here fella, get used to it.
Gemma Atherton, queen of botox, isn't given much heavy lifting, and I guess it's neither actor's fault that they have to utter such lame ass lines - (example: the only way we can save the universe is to hide the blade in the secret, sacred, sanctuary - and other such drivel). Again, a bit of logic here - if the blade is the only thing that can pierce the sands of time and thus unleash Armageddon, then why keep it around in the first place? Oh, I know - it's so they can make a crappy film a thousand years later.
I dunno, Hollywood keeps cranking out these kinds of film and people keep paying to see them (not me, I got this on the free Starz weekend). Every one of these blockbuster type heavy CGI films seems to have lousy scripting and iffy acting. Why is this, I wonder? I get the feeling that the studios just give a nod and a wink, saying, yep, good enough to make us some money - instead of even attempting anything artful and above mediocre. Sign of the times I guess - and now I wonder if Molina couldn't have done a rant about that in the film as well.....
This film is trying to be the next Pirates of the Caribbean, but it doesn't really quite live up to those aspirations. None of this cast has quite the charm, charisma, and energy of Depp and Co. Monlina comes close, and he's one of the best parts of this movie, but I wanted to see more of him. We all know Kingsley is talented, but I knew what was gonna happen from early on. His casting just made that part obvious, as did the fact that I just knew without a doubt the fates of Jake and Gemma.
Jake is a credible action hero, but I don't think he was quite right for the part. They should have just cast a bunch of unknown from the region instead of using big names and whitewashing for marquee value. Gemma is good, and she brings a bit of gravitas to things, but her character just seemed lifeless. Despite not being subtle, Kingsley is good, and, as I said, Molina is great as the scene stealer.
The action is well done, and is fun to watch, but the excessive CGI wore me out and actually got a little boring. Had they spent more time and money trying to develop a better and more coherent story instead of eye popping effects and action, then this movie might really have been something. The general cinematography is really pretty good though, and I love the costumes and set pieces. The music is nice, but I kept expecting to hear Maurice Jarre's far superior score to Lawrence of Arabia to popup at any second.
I was entertained by this, but it's not very good. I like the idea of a Prince of Persia film, as there are plenty of opportunites there to make a great and thoughtful adaptation, but this just wasn't it.
Director: Mike Newell
Summary: Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Prince Dastan, who pairs with spunky Princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton) to keep the Sands of Time -- a mystical dagger that gives its holder control over the flow of time -- from falling into the wrong hands and putting the world in peril.
My Thoughts: "It was a fun action packed movie. Jake Gyllenhaal as Dastan was a good role for him. Nice to see him as an action hero. I thought he did great. Found Alfred Molina to be very funny in this. The running/fighting scene's were great. I even enjoyed the story-line. I found it interesting enough. Kept me intrigued to how it would end. Ben Kingsley was amazing in his role as always. I am sure there will be sequels. Hopefully they turn out just as good, or better."
Adopted from the streets of Nasaf by King Sharaman of Persia, young Dastan grows up amongst royalty and quickly earns his place as a mighty warrior and prince. As his brothers Garsiv and Tus plan battle strategies, a spy sends word that the Holy City of Alamut has been supplying weapons to enemies of Persia. Taking matters into his own hands, Tus orders an attack on the sacred city and upon its fall Dastan encounters the beautiful Princess Tamina. When King Sharaman dies under mysterious circumstances shortly after, and Dastan is accused of his murder, he flees with the princess on a harrowing mission to clear his name. Learning from Tamina the true motives behind Alamut's invasion, Dastan must embark on a perilous quest to stop an evil mastermind's plot for ultimate power with a mystical weapon that can control the very fabric of time.