Prince of Persia

You may have noticed about 99.9% of these movies based on video games are terrible. This is mostly due to the butchering of a character, getting the stories wrong, taking insane liberties with the source material that don’t make sense or pay off. With a big studio like Disney and a name like Jerry Bruckheimer, it would make one believe they would get it right for once. Believe it or not… they got the adaptation part correct, but as an action movie it is strangely lacking.

In Prince of Persia the Sands of Time, a noble king of Persia adopts a slumdog known to us as Dastan. Dastan is skilled at parkour, and a rather reckless boy. After invading the city of Alamut, Dastan stumbles upon the Dagger of Time, a device that allows the user to go back in time, but only for about a minute at the most. After the death of Dastan’s father, a plan is unveiled that somebody in Dastan’s family wanted the father dead so they could rise to power. It sounds all fine and dandy for taking liberties, but what kills it is how convoluted the whole thing is. Dastan and Alamutian Princess Tamina end up revealing more of the backstory in flashbacks, but these flashbacks add to the confusion of what is really going on. It becomes a mess by throwing these flashbacks left and right, and my head was literally spinning trying to piece it all together.

The characters themselves are another story. In the original game, Dastan was skilled at Parkour, a bit reckless, talented with a sword, and not exactly of noble blood. This is the case in the movie as well. This Dastan, however, is played by Jake Gyllenhaal. He doesn’t exactly fit the bill as this character and I had a hard time buying his performance. Ben Kingsley as Nizam is a wonderful performance, and in my opinion, stole the show. Gemma Arterton plays an exceptionally annoying princess who I couldn’t stand for more than two seconds, and was just hoping for somebody to shut her up.

As an action movie, the editing is an absolute mess. During some of the movies more intense sequences, I couldn’t tell what was going on, because it felt like they were choosing some of the worst shots possible so you can’t see anything. It doesn’t help that they feel the need to do split second jump-cuts. Let’s face it, when I watch an action movie, I don’t want to see the action, I want split second jump-cuts that make it impossible to follow. The effects are a mixed bag. Sometimes it looks good, but other times it looks cheap and last minute.

Despite its flaws, it teeters on the good end of mediocrity. You can call that fair or passable. It succeeds as an adaptation of a video game, but falls short as an action movie. The stunt work is fantastic, but wasted on shoddy editing. The characters are interesting, but the plot is too convoluted for its own good. If you’re looking for better adaptations, this is as good as it gets for now.

3 thoughts on “Prince of Persia”

  1. I think that Resident Evil was pretty well done, and that this movie was a bit of a waste of time, and is in between “suckage” and “mediocrity,” and I think that your review is good.

  2. I still haven’t seen Prince Of Persia but I have to agree with J.C. about the Resident Evil films; I’ve always thought that they were pretty enjoyable.

  3. When it comes down to it, most moviegoers really don’t care about the video games that much, they go for the action and some semblance of a story. In the end they want adventure and action. The Tomb Raider franchise is a good indicator, as the first Tomb Raider made $274,703,340 worldwide and the second made $156,505,388. So just as the Jordan Mechner based his Dastin character on Aladdin like character, the film will make money goes. After watching this film, I really wanted to pull out my Aladin DVD and watch that instead.

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