Release Date: May 28th, 2010
Click here for the Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Trailer.
As a boy Dastan(Jake Gyllenhaal) was an ordinary orphan until one day, while running from a group of Persian guards, he was approached by by the King of Persia, King Sharaman(Ronald Pickup), who adopted Dastan as a son. Fifteen years later Dastan, along with his brothers Tus and Garsiv, plan to attack the Holy city of Alamut under the assumption that the city is selling weapons to the Persian's enemies.
Once the city has been captured, Dastan finds an ornate dagger, which he keeps as a trophy from the battle. King Sharaman arrives in the city along side his brother Nizam(Sir Ben Kingsley) and holds a celebration in the main hall of the Alamut Palace. During the celebration, the princess of Alamut, Princess Tamina(Gemma Arterton) is brought before the king as a gift for Tus. Tamina, who is escorted by Dastan, realizes that the dagger he carries is the mythical Dagger of Time that she is entrusted to protect.
During the celebration, Dastan is framed for the murder of his father and flees the city along with Tamina. Nizam, who has gained the trust of Tus and Garsiv, organizes a hunt for the Dastan for the sole reason of acquiring the Dagger of Time, which has the ability to rewind the very fabrics of time itself. With it Nizam plans to rewind time to his childhood where he saved his brother from a lion. Nizam plans to let his brother die so that he may one day become the King of Persia. Dastan, along with Tamina embarks on a journey to save not only himself and the dagger, but the world as he knows it.
I know what you are thinking, "Oh great, another video game based movie. Just another way to disappoint me." Well if you are thinking that then shame on you for hating it before you see it! Sadly, the fact is that most movies based on video games do suck something awful. In this adaptation of the incredibly popular 2003 game, Jake Gyllenhaal and director Mike Newell attempt to do what seems to be impossible, make a good video game based movie and for the most part, they succeed.
If you are familiar with the Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time video game then you know that the concept for a great movie is extremely possible. The game offered incredible visuals (for its time), an insane combat system, intense acrobatic platforming and a game mechanic that truly changed the way you solved puzzles and defeated enemies. Now, incorporating this into a movie worthy of sitting through is the tricky part. So now for the review.
I am going to start if with my complaints first. Being a huge fan of the game, the biggest disappointment I had with the film was the story. The movie plot and story was entirely different from the game story and I think that the only thing that the two had in common was an acrobatic prince, a sassy princess and a time-controlling dagger. Lets compare them side-by-side. In the game, the Prince was born a Prince and had no name. In the movie he was an orphan adopted by the king and was named Dastan. The game: enemies were sand creatures that possessed the bodies of other people and were brought on by the betrayal of the king's trusted adviser called The Vizier. The movie: the prince fought humans and was betrayed by his uncle.
Those are the major ones though the Princess' name was changed from Farrah to Tamina and the story took place in the city of Alamut mainly as opposed to Persia like the game. But, while there were gigantic differences from the game to the film plot, the film plot was still very entertaining.
One of the main aspects of the game was the extreme agility of the Prince and Gyllenhaal seemed to display that perfectly. The nimble, high flying and crafty free running in the movie instantly brought me back to my times with the game. The film's combat was also very good. The Prince in the game uses many acrobatic moves to dispatch his foes as does Gyllenhaal in the film. The fight scenes with the Hashshashins towards the end were particularly entertaining.
While the fighting was great, the movie is called The Sands of Time so it would seem that this is an important concept. The Sands of Time are controlled by a device known as The Dagger of Time. It allows the user of the dagger to rewind time for one minuet and only the holder is aware. The scenes where the dagger was used to rewind time were, in my opinion, incredible. I felt that they truly captured the spirit of the game and how the time elements were controlled. Not only did they look amazing and added a new stylization, the really just felt genuine.
Performance wise Gyllenhaal made a very convincing visual Prince. There has been a lot of controversy over a white actor portraying a Persian character but I think that Gyllenhaal had a very close visual resemblance to the game character. The only thing that didn't make sense was the Prince, and all the other characters', accents. They were all done with a British voice with a slight Middle-Eastern draw. The game characters spoke the same way but I just find it odd.
Gemma Arterton did fine as Princess Tamina. She wasn't annoying or helpless like some female characters can be and she seemed to have good chemistry with Gyllenhaal. I was very pleased with Sir Ben Kingsley's performance. Kingsley is such a well-defined actor and his role as the main antagonist was a perfect fit. Had the director not changed the character to an Uncle and left it has a Vizier, Kingsley still would have been amazing because I think he played more like that character. Alfred Molina added in a perfect blend of humor to the action packed movie, bringing the audience down from the adrenaline rush to allowing them to catch their breath.
Overall, if you look at this movie as just an original move, it does pretty good. The story is unique and the acting is good. Add that to great action and some stylish visuals and you have a solid all around experience. If you, like me, come into this seeing it as a video game based movie, then you are in for a surprise. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time the best video game based movie to date. It may stray drastically far away from the original game's plot, which is strongly disappointing, but the film does do a fantastic job of recreating the epic feel and style that the game had. Let's just hope they don't do the unthinkable and make a video game based off of a movie based off of a video game (that would almost be too much).
If you are looking for a solid move to see, then you should definitely check this one out. If you are looking for a movie based on a video game that doesn't completely suck then you will definitely want to see this film. Had the film stayed with the original plot then it's score would have been higher but it is still a good film.
I give Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time 8 Suicidal Racing Ostriches out of 10.
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