PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME
Director: Mike Newell
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina, Steve Toussaint, Tobey Kebbell, Richard Coyle, Ronald Pickup
MPAA Rating: (for intense sequences of violence and action)
Running Time: 1:56
Release Date: 5/28/10
Review by Mark Dujsik | May 27, 2010
Prince of Persia: The Sands of
Time is yet another entry in
the increasing line of failed video game to movie adaptations. Forgoing the storybook-influenced narrative of its basis in favor of an
overly complicated plot, the movie also turns one of the game's core mechanics
into an all-purpose MacGuffin.
that's enough geek for the moment.
the movie has is the style of a fun-loving romp through the ancient Persian
Empire, with its free-running hero, a dagger capable of time reversal, a comic
sidekick, and a love/hate romance. What
the movie is missing is the attitude to go along with it, with a quick-cut
editing style that downplays the hero's acrobatics, an underused time travel
gimmick, an out-of-place comic sidekick, and a romantic relationship heavy on
the hate but defined by necessity.
story revolves around (who else?) a prince of Persia named Dastan (Jake
Gyllenhaal). The king (Ronald
Pickup) adopted the orphaned Dastan when he was a young boy based on his bravery
in attacking the king's guards. Years
later, Dastan and his brothers Tus (Richard Coyle) and Garsiv (Toby Kebbell)
attack the holy city of Alamut, under the counsel of their uncle Nizam (Ben
Kingsley), who has intel that the city is providing weapons to the empire's
the brothers and their uncle discover the princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton), who
elicits the same groans from the Persian army when her face is revealed and when
she declares her desire to die before joining forces with Persia. Tamina is the guardian of the mystical Dagger of Time, a weapon that with
the push of a button can reverse time, a phenomenon of which only the possessor
of the dagger is aware.
involving the same trick Medea used and a false accusation against Dastan
follow, and the prince and princess flee to discover and reveal the real
is a student of parkour, running and jumping over and through anything in his
path. During the assault on Alamut,
he scales the city wall using arrows his men fire as handholds. He swings through small spaces to open the unenterable gates (breaking
the city's thousand-year non-breaching streak). While inevitably being chased by guards, he flips and rolls anywhere he
needs to go.
Mike Newell uses a lot of close-ups of feet and other appendages in the action
sequences, more than likely due to the need to substitute in a stunt double for
Dastan's more daring feats of foot-loose fancy. As a result, the free-running sequences are pieced together in multiple
cuts, focusing more on the fluidity of the editing and less on the prince's
between, Dastan and Tamina run into Amar (Alfred Molina), an entrepreneurial
sheik who runs ostrich races and keeps skeletons at the entrance to his gaming
center to keep out the tax collectors. Some
of Amar's libertarian schtick is amusing, although his best line is a throwaway
non sequitur about ostriches' suicidal tendencies.
material is definitely funnier than the banter between Dastan and Tamina, who
trade barbs and almost kiss a few times before finally locking lips after
killing a ruthless, cobra-loving magician. There
is nothing quite like a savage beating and throwing a man down a bottomless pit
to bring a couple together.
from Dastan's search for justice, the plot involves that dagger, which only
holds a minute's worth of time-reversing sand in its hilt but contains a
seemingly limitless supply of complications and rules. Turns out the blade was passed down from the gods after they attempted to
cover the world in a giant sandstorm as a gift/warning/keepsake. The sand from the apocalyptic storm is held in a giant sandglass beneath
Alamut, although its appearance brings to mind the Rock Candy of Destiny. Stab the dagger into the sandglass, and the holder will have unlimited
time-rewinding ability. Also, it
will unleash the storm on the world again. Although
it actually doesn't.
the dagger can be placed in a certain rock to destroy it. But it'll kill the person who puts it
there. Unspoken but understood is that the dagger also has the power to render
the owner completely forgetful of the fact that he or she holds a dagger that
can turn back time and could prevent the multiple wounds and deaths of loved
Copyright © 2010 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.
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