Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action
Profanity:None
Nudity/Sex:Brief crude humor
Alcohol/Drugs:Reference to drinking
Violence/Scariness:Characters in constant peril, action/fantasy violence includes battles, knives, swords, fire, poison, snakes
Diversity Issues:Strong female character, many Mideastern characters played by non-Mideastern actors
Movie Release Date:May 28, 2010
DVD Release Date:September 14, 2010

Roger Ebert launched a thousand blog posts with howls of protest by asserting that a video game could never be a work of art. I don’t say “never” when it comes to art, but by all evidence to this point, a video game does not make a movie. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who improbably turned a theme park ride into a phenomenally successful movie franchise with the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, has not done as well by the Prince of Persia game, omitting the two elements that made the Pirates movies sensationally entertaining: a very good script and Johnny Depp.

Jake Gyllenhaal, newly bedecked in long hair, buff bod, and English accent, plays Dastan, a former street kid adopted by a king and raised as brother to his two sons. When he is framed for the murder of the king he must run. And since he has taken a special dagger that belongs to a princess, she has to come with him. She is the keeper of a sacred dagger, which gives everyone something to chase after, steal from each other, and almost lose many times.

The movie is about two-thirds action and one-third bickering banter. The action scenes are fairly good; the banter is below the level of chit-chat from Oscar presenters. There are winks at the game, with a lot of leaping between ledges and rooftops and the ability to rewind time. The story also has several distracting winks at current or near-current events, with complaints about taxes and a fruitless search for the ancient equivalent of weapons of mass destruction.

The settings are glorious. As swords are being wielded in a kaleidoscope of quick shots, we keep hoping for more of a chance to enjoy the scope and sweep and sumptuousness of the re-created ancient world of walled cities, palaces, and desert. Instead, it just serves to remind us of how undeserving the story that takes place there is by comparison.



  • http://www.examiner.com/x-9207-Baltimore-Movies-Examiner Tom Clocker – Baltimore Movie Examiner

    Nell,
    Perhaps I enjoyed it more because I am a big fan of the games. I played them all and thoroughly enjoyed most of them. Maybe that helps to appreciate it more, who knows.
    But, I thought it was just a fun, summer action film. Nothing special, easy forgotten, but 2 hours of mindless entertainment. I guess a lot of people have a problem with that “mindless” part…usually means the plot is lacking. But, sometimes it’s good to just sit there, not think and enjoy the pretty pictures (yes, Jake and Gemma, we’re talking about you)…lol.
    Great review!
    http://www.examiner.com/x-9207-Baltimore-Movie-Examiner~y2010m5d28-Movie-review-Prince-of-Persia-The-Sands-of-Time-825-out-of-10

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Glad you enjoyed it, Tom! Good job on the review, as always.

  • Jared

    Nell,
    I side more with Tom, as I have also played the games and enjoyed them. Both the parcour and banter play a large role in the games and seem to be portrayed faithfully.
    I am glad that you point out diversity issues, but in this case, I do not think that casting “non-Mideastern actors” is that big a deal, since Persians/Iranians are actually Indo-European, and not Semitic (so Jake Gyllenhaal playing a Persian prince is less inappropriate than say, a European playing Jesus).
    Love your reviews; they are always the first place I go.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks so much, Jared! And I am glad to hear that the movie satisfied a fan of the game. You’re right of course that Persians are of European descent, but I think it would have been nice to have had at least some people from the region appear in the film. Terrific comment — much appreciated.

  • jestrfyl

    I understand and appreciate the point about casting directors making a point of choosing folks indigenous to the area. But I think that saying Persia was European is stretching the geography to the snpping point. Indo-European is neither one nor the other. In many ways they represent their own line. I think one of the problems may have been the little bits of tension between modern “Persians” and anything western, never mind American.
    I enjoyed much of the movie, especially the parkour actions sequences – for whcih Jake G trained and performed many. As to the dialog – I’ve heard better scripts in Middle School playwriting classes. I think Jerry B may be stretching himself too thin. He is usually more in touch with the writers than this movie showed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003406027314 Alibabagitulho

    This definitely saved me from wtanisg my money. I had high hopes for the movie, but now I really don’t want to see it. It sounds painful.Surprised to hear the Gyllenhaal was a good Dastan, though.

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