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Movie Review: Prince of Persia, The Sands of Time (May, 2010)

Director: Mike Newell
Screenplay: Boaz Yakin, prostate Doug Morino
Release Date: May 28, 2010
Actors: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley

When I first heard this movie was to star Jake Gyllenhaal, I was immediately taken back. How can somebody so… white … play this role? He just looks so American, how could it work? Well, after watching the movie, not only did I continue to have the same reaction to all the other actors, it really didn’t take away from the movie as a whole. It would have been a better had they actually gotten Persians, or at the very least, darker skinned actors to play their respective roles, but it didn’t make me enjoy the film any less. After all, Prince of Persia IS a Disney film. I did however, find it quite amusing that everyone had an english accent. I had no idea that Persians had an english accent … yeah…

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this – as I was hoping that it would be more dramatic. Once I saw the Disney logo come up, I realized that I would not get dramatic, but instead, probably a good adventure. And an adventure is what I received. I probably would have liked it to have been a bit more serious, but for what it was, it was fun.

Gyllenhaal plays the Prince of Persia, name Dastan, taken in by the King from off the streets, and raised as though he was one of their own. Fast forward about 20 years and the Prince is much older, and we are introduced to his brothers Garsiv (Toby Kebbell) and Tus (Richard Coyle). They are about to invade the city of Alamut, to seize weapons that might be of threat to the Persians, as told to them by their Uncle Nizam (played by the talented Ben Kingsley). After the invasion, Dastan comes upon a unique dagger that he discovers to have magical powers of time. The princess of Alamut, Tamina (Gemma Arterton), who notices that Dastan is in possession of this dagger agrees to the marriage of her and Tus in order to try and recover the dagger.

I am not that familiar with the story of the Prince of Persia, or its video game, but I think Disney has successfully made an entertaining action adventure story that would satisfy most movie goers. It was not as epic of a battle or story as I had anticipated, nor was I that floored with Jake Gyllenhaal or Gemma Arterton’s portrayal of Tamina, but it was satisfying enough. Alfred Molina as Shiek Amar is the source of the humour in the movie. In addition, Jake creates a light hearted hero, though I did find the chemistry between Gemma and Jake almost … annoying. This is mainly due to the moments that the script stopped in time to allow these two to share romantic scenes … that didn’t make sense, in the middle of battle.

I’m a fan of most Jerry Bruckheimer productions, and this is no different. Directed by Mike Newell, of which I am most familiar having filmed Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, I sure enjoyed this a great deal more than that movie. Looking down at his biography, he filmed one of my favorite gem of a movie Enchanted April, almost a night and day difference of that from Prince of Persia.

Don’t expect the movie to be super exciting, deep, dramatic, but in true Disney fashion, Prince of Persia offers what Disney seems to create successfully – fun action adventure movies. Not much substance, but definitely a good popcorn flick. Some parts of the film were slow moving, and though I wasn’t that clear as to what the purpose of the story was for Shiek Amar (not sure if he is a character in the video games), I enjoyed the moments that Molina was on the screen.

The main verdict: A great and entertaining popcorn flick. Expect nothing more or less.
Recommended. 2.5 hourglass / 5 hourglass

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