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Prince Of Persia: The Sands of Time
Studio: Jerry Bruckheimer Films
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures
Release Date: May 28, 2010
Jake Gyllenhaal -Dastan/The Prince
Gemma Arterton - Princess Tamina
Ben Kingsley - Nizam
Pros: Great action sequences utilizing some impressive parkour inspired by the game, Banter between Arterton and Gyllenhaal is much like the game and equally enjoyable, Gyllenhaal stays pretty true to the role and makes a great PoP, The rewind effect proves entertaining, Ostriches!
Cons: Dialogue chock full of cliche' lines, One too many staring contests between Arterton and Gyllenhaal, Story that is quite predictable, ending that left a little to be desired
When it comes to video game movies, I remain unimpressed. After the slew of recent titles that lead only to disappointment, it's hard to consider a movie based on a video game to be one of anyone's "must see/must own" list. The movie either relies too heavily on the game material, or is just a cluster of terrible that went far from the original game entirely *cough* House of the Dead (2003) *cough*. Either way, capturing what makes a game fun and transferring that into a two hour movie is a challenge in itself. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is a step in the right direction for movies that are based off video games. The movie took some of what made the game great, while throwing its own material into the mix.
The movie opens with Prince Dastan getting adopted into a royal family and sacking a holy kingdom with his brothers under the impression that they are making weapons for their enemies. He eventually bumps into a guy carrying the dagger, gets framed for murder of the king, and must prove his innocence while stopping the plan to use the dagger to unleash an apocalypse. While the story remains pretty predictable as to what will happen, they at least attempted at shaping one on their own. I can't imagine a two hour movie with just three characters and a bunch of sand monsters (via PoP:SoT game plot) providing a lot to keep you awake as you yell at the screen that he should lower the bridge with the lever before climbing the stairs first. It's a meh plot riddled with the typical "This is your destiny" lines, but it's tolerable and enough to hold your attention.
Gyllenhaal fulfills the role of the prince, contributing the sarcastic wit and nonchalant attitude we knew from the game. Arterton and Gyllenhaal provide plenty of back and forth through the movie, and fill the roles that the Prince and Farah established in the game quite nicely. It was that continual flirty relationship established in the game that helped the player form a liking to them, and it is nice to see that it remains present in the movie as well. If they would just stop staring at each other while the dramatic music plays over and over, it would have been much nicer. I lost count of how many times this occurred about halfway through, and started trying to see who blinked first. Kingsley makes a pretty decent baddy per his usual role, but it was Alfred Molina (Doc Oc from Spiderman 2) that provided a nice unexpected addition to the film. His comedic performance and witty retorts as a desert sheik gave the movie a nice boost. Plus, he races Ostriches, which was oddly very funny to watch.
The high point of the film was the action sequences. The fights used many parkour elements that may seem familiar to fans of any Ubisoft title. There are plenty of action sequences adorned with wall runs, post hopping, and any other platforming element you remember from the games. It was almost a textbook page from any Assassin's Creed or PoP fight, and provided something that both the audience and gamers could enjoy. Couple this with the spiffy sand rewind effect, which gave you an outer body experience as you watch events rewind, and you have some nice visuals to behold.
Prince of Persia: Sands of Time is one of the higher ups among movies based off of video games. Although nothing extraordinary, it does pave the way for future gaming movies, giving a nice flicker of hope that the transition from game to movie is quite possible. All in all, it's a decent action flick that does not rely too heavily on the game. Besides that I can finally say there is a video game movie out there that is not too bad. Take note Uwe Boll.
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