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The following is taken from my personal blog.
An adventure movie based on the award winning video game series. Jake Gyllenhaal is the titular Prince who must embark on a journey to clear his name and return home.
Most movies inspired by computer games suck. There, right to the point. Street Figher, Mortal Kombat, Resident Evil. These are some examples. Having said that, I watched Prince of Persia recently and for all its flaws it manages to be fun to watch. The comic relief is a bit cheap but tolerable. The visual style of the games, a sun baked landscape of sprawling Persian cities and vast deserts, is closely mimicked. It almost looks as though you're watching the game itself and in a good way.
I also enjoyed the closely replicated action familiar to the games. These are the strengths of the movie. Close mimicry works in a way that wouldn't for other adaptations. Maybe Prince of Persia, with it's acrobatic goodness and straightforward story, just works well. Then again it always helps when your inspiration isn't some psychotic story about plumbers feasting on mushrooms or incredibly fast hedgehogs with attitude. It isn't pretentious and avoids the temptation to insert a complex plot where there isn't one to begin with. It just works with the available material, which with it's simplicity happens to lend itself well.
Yet, the lead looks vaguely like a Californian surfer guy minus the blond hair who's wandered onto the set of this movie. Shame that Ben Kingsley wasn't particularly great, I doubt I've ever seen a movie where the villain has so little screen time and dialogue (Sauron probably comes close). Then again, inserting a great actor isn't always a guarantee of success.
This might be as good as it gets for movies based on computer games. Hopefully future movies will prove me wrong. Damn, writing this has put me in the mood for playing the game.
If you want a movie that's simple and full of action, this will work. A pretty good adaptation of a video game. Nothing more, nothing less.
FILM REVIEW ONY
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley
Director: Mike Newell
Genre: Action, adventure, fantasy
Run Time: 116mins
Release date: 2010
Set in Persia and following the invasion of the ancient city Alamut, a powerful dagger with magic sand inside is discovered that can reverse time. An attempt to get the dagger to safety fails and it ends up in the hands of Dastan, once a lowly street orphan and now a Prince of Persia. Soon Dastan finds himself running for his life, when he is falsely accused of murder. On the run with the princess from the invaded city, the pair must stop the real bad-guy from getting the dagger and ruling the world.
The plot seems a bit patchy and never really felt strong for an idea although I am sure there were ways they could have taken it which would have meant a good fantasy. Unfortunately....they failed to do that.
[Acting / dialogue]
The acting wasn't the worst I've seen, but it wasn't great either. While Jake Gyllenhaal had what I thought was the right look for the character Dastan the acting just didn't feel complimentary to the character. It was as if the two were not in sync. However this could have been made worse by the gods-awful dialogue!!
Whoever wrote this definitely didn't think enough about how it sounded. All through the movie the dialogue clumped around with steel-toe-capped boots. One huge example was the use of contractions such as "I'll" or "we'd" or "I've" - these just rang hollow in the movie and sounded to "real life" rather than ancient Persian! With fantasy movies and novels, very rarely does this kind of dialogue work and can instead lead to a disconnection.
Gemma Arterton who played the Princess Tamina was just awful. I had no interest in her character and couldn't empathise at all. Personally she could have been eaten by a sand worm for all I cared. I found the acting to be pretty one dimensional from her and even the look she had didn't really fit well with the overall feel of the movie in my opinion. I felt she was meant to have this mysterious quality, but it failed to materialise.
The surprise I found came in the form of Richard Coyle who played Prince Tus. I have only seen Coyle once before in the comedy series Coupling where he played the character Jeff and was hilarious. It actually took me about 30mins before I pegged who it was under the beard. I thought he played the regal prince pretty well and I certainly could not see the character "jeff" anywhere.
[Fight / chase scenes]
The one real saving grace to this movie was the fight scenes, hats off to the stunt man for Jake Gyllenhaal as he did an excellent job. There are some great moves, lots of parkour (free running) styles to enjoy and while the sword fights aren't as good, they weren't too bad and are definitely watchable.
There was a little of that annoying shaky camera rubbish that all movies seem to employ now (I have a real issue with this as I suffer from vertigo which sometimes triggered by excessive shaky shots) however they were not over done in this movie and were mostly bearable.
(Don't get me wrong, this isn't the best ever fight / chase scenes but they were good and certainly helped me get through this movie!)
There are some roof top running / jumping / standing still staring out over the city shots that just reminded me of Assassins Creed (the game, which made me think they REALLY should make that a movie...if they haven't already decided too).
Can't remember the music, think it worked well with the movie in the sense that is must have connected to the "style" of the movie (eg fantasy) and worked enough not to catch my ear as jarring. Other than that, I have no real memory of it so nothing to write home about.
The big fall down was the obvious, ham-fisted attempt to have Dastan and Tamina come together. Apparently a movie can't have a male and female main character without romance stomping through. However the two characters / actors failed to get across any real chemistry and while the method of them being enemies then falling for each other is pretty tried and true, this movie just botched it. Gyllenhaal didn't do TOO bad a job at playing the roguish Dastan, but Arterton just came across as whiny, bitchy and a little pathetic. I think they were actually going for determined, commanding, regal... they failed, miserably.
There was also that annoying scene that keeps appearing in movies these days that is really getting my goat... where some huge crisis / threat etc is happening right now....and the main characters manage to stop for a snog in the middle of it.... this appears to happen especially when there is a very specific deadline.
There was so much potential for making this movie great. Maybe it was because it was a 12A and they could have made it darker and instead kept it as "family fun".
Now I can stand simple, no-brainer fantasy films (like Scorpion King / The Mummy etc) where you really don't have to think much and just enjoy the adventure. But this was not even mildly entertaining (apart from the fight scenes and there were not enough of them to make this movie acceptable). Not the worse movie I've ever seen but failed to impress me, will not be bothering to watch it again.
To say this is a Disney film, I thought that it was a really good family adventure movie. Jake Gyllenhall takes on the lead role in a unusual role for someone who is more likely to be seen as a mean and moody character. In this film he is a super agile street orphan who is made a prince of Persia and grows up with his two brothers into the youngest son of the Persian king. He's joined by Sir Ben Kingsley and Gemma Arterton, who both give great performances. The story itself is hardly surprising or ground breaking, but does have a couple of twists and turns in it. There is enough fantasty to make this an escapist film, and enough pretty actors to keep everyone happy. What I like about Disney films is that they are made to be family movies, and although this one may scare very small children, on the whole you can sit down as a family and know that the film will be suitable for all. I thought this film was a brilliant Sunday afternoon film and really enjoyed the plot and the CGI effects. Persia itself was brought to life in all of it's glory and everything seemed very realistic (well as much as you can be when you're watching a film about something that can stop time!). All in all a good bit of family fun with plenty of action and adventure!
There are two types of film that seem to be derided more than any other. The first group consists of remakes of classic films, which are generally accepted as not being nearly as good as the originals. The second group is those films which are made as adaptations from games, which are also frequently not considered to be as good as the game they're based on. As a non-gamer this doesn't affect me quite so much as I don't know anything about the original, but as someone who often finds book-to-film adaptations to be lacking something from the original, I can see how it may be true.
In "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time", Prince Dastan is saved from a life on the streets as a young boy and adopted by the Persian king. Later, he is part of a Persian army that invades the city of Alamut and comes into possession of a dagger which is of great importance to Alamut. Unfortunately, he is betrayed by his brothers, resulting in the death of their father and Dastan being accused of murder. He flees with Tamina, the Alamutian princess and seeks to clear his name as well as find out the importance of the dagger.
Dastan soon discovers that the dagger contains the sands of time, a precious artefact placed in the safekeeping of the Alamutians by the gods. He quickly works out that it is his Uncle who wishes to use the sands of time for his own ends, making himself King. The only thing he and Tamina can do to avoid what would potentially be the end of their worlds is to put the dagger in a safe place where the gods will look after it. Of course, with Prince Dastan being hunted as a murderer and his uncle determined to claim the dagger for his own ends, this isn't as easy as it sounds.
Although the story is relatively simple, unlike many films of this type, it holds the film together fairly well. The story is integral, rather than just being something to vaguely link the action set pieces. Admittedly, there's nothing particularly special about the story here and it doesn't throw any curveballs, but its existence and that it holds up against the action scenes is in itself something of a surprise, particularly within the genre.
That's not to say that the action scenes themselves aren't also quite impressive. There is something about them that makes them fit in quite nicely with a film based on a computer game. The free running or parkour scenes, last seen in James Bond, are nicely done and appear quite frequently. When characters come into conflict, particularly when the hassansins are involved, the fight scenes are often portrayed by flailing arms and weapons and move pretty swiftly. This does make things a little frantic and hard to follow, but seems to fit in with the frantic pressing of buttons on a control pad that result whenever I have to play a computer game.
I thought the special effects and stunts were well handled. Some of the scenes, particularly during the sand storms were fairly generic and quite obviously computer generated and added in, but the scenes involving the sands of time were well done. Again, as with much of the film, there was nothing especially new, but they were well handled.
The team here involves some of the same people behind "Pirates of the Caribbean" and there are points where this experience has benefited them. Some of the direction and editing really evokes a computer game, especially during the first attack on Alamut where the camera makes sweeping moves as if to follow a character's line of vision. Seeing things from the first person perspective isn't unique to this film, but it is relatively unusual in films, especially compared to computer games, and it works particularly effectively in those scenes.
The casting and performances were not particularly special, but again seem to fit in quite well. Jake Gyllenhaal looked to be enjoying himself as Prince Dastan, particularly in some of the more physical scenes and he plays his role distinctly differently from the other princes, which maintains the feeling that he was never a naturally born Prince. The other princes are a little more in the background, but the uptight Garsiv and uncertain Tas are portrayed well.
I wasn't entirely convinced by Gemma Arterton as Princess Tamina as, whilst she's attractive, I don't see her as being beautiful enough to be perfectly cast as the beauty she is supposed to be. That said, she fills the role well and the chemistry between her and Gyllenhaal early in the films when they are sniping at each other works very well, although it's less effective when they have to share some more tender moments later on. For me, the best performance came from Alfred Molina, who was allowed to ham up his role and got most of the best lines and seemed to be thoroughly enjoying himself. However, an actor of the stature of Ben Kingsley as Prince Nizam was wasted here, as whilst his performance was spot on and he was one of the few characters played without much humour, the role didn't need to be as effective as it ended up being played.
Musically, the film offered nothing new. The sweeping strings, albeit played with a more Eastern theme than most American action films, with the tempo of the music matching the pace of the action. It fits in with the film in much the same way as the costumes and make up - not really adding anything, but being authentic enough to not stick out and ruin any enjoyment of the film.
Perhaps the one thing that makes "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" as good as it is, is that there's nothing that sticks out as being particularly bad about it. Film adaptations frequently lose something in the adaptation, but this feels as if the film was planned with perhaps an eye on the computer games, but without trying too hard to try and emulate it. Perhaps it helps that I've never played the game series, but I found this to be one of the best computer game to film adaptations I've ever seen. It won't surprise any fans of the genre, but it also doesn't have any moments so bad it will upset an audience, which is a triumph in the genre.
The one extra on the disc is "An Unseen World: The Making of Prince of Persia". This is a 15 minute feature, which looks to have been intended at selling the film to an audience, probably on one of the Disney channels. It was a bit of a disappointment, as the feature started well, looking into some of the scenery in Morocco and a lot of the costuming and it appeared as if it could have been a genuine making of and behind the scenes look. There were also some quite amusing moments when you get to see what director Mike Newell was wearing on set and when someone's job title comes up on a caption as "Ostrich Race Co-Ordinator".
Later on, though, everyone was a little too obsequious towards Jake Gyllenhall and Ben Kingsley was certainly trying to make the film sound more important in terms of the craft than it actually is. Whilst it's not a bad film by any means, it is just an action film, not something that requires real acting. The one shock in this feature for me was how much Gemma Arterton sounds like Katie Price - a real downer given that we're from the same town and so, in theory, I'd have the same accent!
Sadly, the lack of extras do make the DVD itself seem less of an attractive proposition, especially as there were so many things that could have been added. That said, for a film as good as this one and, at nearly 2 hours long, it's a fair length of film for the money and not bad value for around £5 for a new copy from Amazon or Play. It's even better value for around £2.00 including postage from eBay, but because the extras aren't worth paying much for, it's probably just as well watching it on Sky Movies, as you lose nothing by watching it that way. However, this is a film that comes recommended as all of its aspects work together very nicely and it's not often a computer game to film adaptation earns that kind of praise.
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Many have said that computer games are the new films, with enormous revenues available, excellent storylines and wonderful gameplay, have we reached a hiatus in home entertainment.
Well this game would suggest that perhaps this is the case, it is one of the biggest budget films based on a computer game, alongside the tomb raider and resident evil series. Starring Jake Gylenhaal as Dastan a young street kid who is adopted by the King of Persia and becomes a son, and brother to the other princes, Garsiv (Toby Kebbell) and Tus (Richard Coyle).
Dastan is known as the most streetwise of the princes and whilst still learning to fight, his agility and bravery are second to none, all the time the princes are watched by their uncle Nizam (Ben Kingsley), a man whose whole demeanour screams of villainy and something untoward.
One day following the capture of the Alamut, a peaceful City which Nizam advises holds dangerous weapons of destruction, Dastan captures a knife which holds the sands of time from the beautiful princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton), this knife allows him to move back in time by pressings a button on it, allowing him to repair various mistakes that occur, but the sand is not limitless and other people seek the knife and the sand for their own dastardly ends.
Following the kings untimely end, Dastan is framed for his murder and along with Tamina goes on the run from his family and his enemies to discover who really killed his father and why, can turning back time allow him to repair the problems that have occurred in his family or are some things too damaged to ever be repaired?
I expected to hate this film, most spin offs from computer games are rubbish, and to be fair for the most part this is no exception, Jake Gylenhaal looks the part as the heroic Dastan, he leaps he fights and swashbuckles like heroes of old, but he seems to have a modern heroes outlook and plays on his insecurities at every opportunity.
Gemma Arterton has not too much to do as the pretty but slightly unfortunately Tamina, she seems to be developing a reputation as the heroine in some pretty poor action films (Clash of the Titans) which is a shame as she is a much better actress than this film would give her the opportunity to prove.
Ben Kingsley is sly and dastardly and underused as the plotting uncle while Alfred Molina has fun as a market trader looking to sell Dastan to his brothers for a kings ransom. Molina is the best actor in the film, he is moany, cantankerous, disgusted with taxes and has lots of fun, the other actors don't get close to his energy or humour, which is a shame. His obsession with ostriches is funny, but there are too many of the ugly long necked characters in the film for my liking.
The film has some good fast paced action, a lot of it almost parkour based, which follows the Prince of Persia gameplay closely, and this saves it from being a complete disaster, dialogue and acting wise it is pretty bleak but when the action kicks off it's a lot of fun.
At times the film seems absurd in its desire to have Dastan make death defying escapes, some of the CGI is good, some of it is awful, but it is unclear how our hero escapes the disasters that befall him at times, whilst others seem so ridiculous it is impossible to suspend belief and simply enjoy the action. I also found that one of the main villains made little sense, was about as imposing as a melted ice cream and simply lacked any quality or substance to add anything to the film, and what action film works without a decent baddie?
I'll give the film a 3 out of 5 simply because I don't think the concept got across and because everyone else who has seen it really thought it was awful, I thought it was bad with some really well thought out moments and a character (Molina) who really lit up the screen every time he appeared.
The DVD is available for £4.93 on Amazon, it is good fun for kids aged under 10, otherwise watch it if you have a bit of time to kill and don't want something taxing, you'll quite enjoy it.
Worst Quote: Behold the mighty ostrich!
Title: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley
Director: Mike Newell
Runtime: 116 minutes
Format: Blu-ray / DVD
For those unaware of the origins of this film, allow me to explain. Prince Of Persia was once a 2D platform game on the likes of the Atari home computer, that later became a more graphically stunning 3D adventure game similar to Tomb Raider. And here is were the film begins with a nice sequence of characters jumping and sort of free-running around the place. It looks very cool and it mimics the games very well. It's very stylish in fact.
Jake Gyllenhaal is the Prince of Persia of the title and he is perfect for the role. For the dole of Prince Dastan he's clearly bulked up somewhat, muscles-wise. He is certainly believable as a Persian warrior.
Framed for murder after an invasion of a nearby city goes wrong he is forced to leave his home city and escape into the desert. And who should he have the fortune of taking with him Princess Tamina played by the beautiful and talented Gemma Arterton. I wouldn't mind living in the desert with Ms Arterton.
No need to spill anymore of the plot besides to say that obviously there is some dirty dealing going on. Oh and that in the desert he also meets Alfred Molina playing Sheik Amar some sort of rather fun, ostrich-racing, desert-dwelling businessman.
Gyllenhaal is great for the role. Clearly up for anything and looking for a different acting challenge that might be fun as well as meaningful he romps through the film looking as though he's enjoying every minute.
Arterton following up her role in the newly adapted Clash of the Titans remains in the sandier parts of the world to film this movie. I'm not exactly sure why she wanted to. Her role in Titans was pretty small and her role here is only a little bigger. I think she seems a little out of place here. Not to say that her performance is poor or unbelievable, it's not, it's just that she would simply seem better suited to more contemporary roles such as her breakout roles - the delightfully dark comedy Three and Out or St Trinians. I'm looking forward to seeing her is something a little more breezy again like Tamara Drewe......or at least I was until I saw it......I've reviewed that film recently on ciao and I thought it was pretty awful.
Ben Kingsley is also good, as always, as Nizam - brother to the King.
The director of Prince of Persia is Mike Newell, the now 68 year old, director of semi-romantic fluff such as Pushing Tin and Mona Lisa Smile. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy those other films but to go from those kind of films to directing Prince of Persia (at 68 years of age) must have been a bit of a stretch, no?
Mind you he also directed the gritty cop drama Donnie Brasco so maybe he's just one of those great directors that can turn his hand to any genre. And he does an excellent job here. Prince of Persia despite starting slightly slowly, builds to an enjoyable middle section and a exciting end.
As for the extras well they are pretty much the same on the Blu-ray and DVD discs. There are plenty of extras to enjoy and lots of behind-the-scenes stuff. Some of it is very good and some of it is just filler. But getting to it at all is tricky - via a 'featurette' entitled "CineExplore: The Sands of Time" which is almost two hours long. Personally I think this is a bit daft. A featurette that is two hours long, who wants to watch all of that? Who has time? I watch films in the evening and once I've seen the film and it's already 11pm I'm hardly going to stay up to 1am watching how the film was made. Give me 10 minutes that's all I've got time for!
This featurette is made up of several different featurettes that can be accessed via an on-screen icon (a time dagger) and you would hope that this would make it slightly more approachable but it doesn't as it is only watchable via the film itself so you have to be watching the film and then accessing the special features. This is an idea that many films have had but I think it's totally rubbish as I like the film and the extras to be separate from one another.
There is also a deleted scene and a few trailers for The Sorcerer's Apprentice, A Christmas Carol, Fantasia and Fantasia 2000, The Lion King, Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2, Tron Legacy and Toy Story 3.
This triple play edition of Prince of Persia is a really good package. You get the Blu-ray verison of the film, a DVD version and a digital copy. Now I'm not really interested in having a digital copy of a film but what with ipods and other media devices being pretty commonplace these days I can see why this would be useful for some people, for taking on holiday or just having on a laptop to watch on a train for instance. The Blu-ray visuals are clearly better than on the DVD, sharper, brighter and more colourful they are very nice indeed. The sound too is very good.
Prince of Persia is a cracking film, full of swordplay and action, as well as a well played love story that's not too in your face.
I bought this film for when my grandchildren came round as the two eldest boys like playing the game of Prince of Persia so I thought they would like to watch it with me.
The films stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Dastan and he really gets into the part. He looks like the one in the game and the way they get him to move about is really like watching the kids play the game too when they have him swinging from the roof tops etc. I thought this was really good.
The story is about the Sands of Time which is also part of the game where you have a phial of sand and if you use it you can freeze everyone around you while you get out of the way of the baddies so this being brought into the film made it seem like the game as well and was easy for the boys to understand what was going on although they did sometimes have to explain it to me lol.
Ben Kingsley played Nizam, the Princes' uncle and stood out in this role being both kind to them and nasty at the same time.
Gemma Arterton plays the princess and is also good in this role being very pretty and girly but with a tom boy nature that comes out later in the film.
There was a lot of humour in the story which was good for the kids and myself, plus lots of action with things going on all the time. I found it kept their attention right through the film and they asked to see it again next time they came round.
If you are looking for a film to buy boys for Christmas then I would recommend this film to you, probably girls would like it as well as it has the princess in it too. it is a good family film to watch together.
Jerry Bruckheimer is a fantastic Hollywood producer who must make an absolute fortune every year. He is responsible for the box office hit "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise, among many other blockbuster films that have made millions. He is hugely successful on American television too. The always popular "CSI" show has spawned two spin-offs and they are all constantly in the top viewership of primetime television. He is a true media mogul and whatever he gets his hands on, seems to turn into a big pile of cash. So he attempts to work his magic once more, turning a very popular, critically and financially successful videogame into a film. But as everyone knows, it's hard to make a good transition from the small screen to a big one. Usually, the plot struggles to be coherent, sometimes the acting can be atrocious from both the leads and supporting cast, and can generally be surprisingly dull.
So thank god for Bruckheimer, the man who possesses the eyes of wisdom to pick a suitable cast and a capable director. Yes, the casting of Jake Gyllenhaal in the main role was and still is controversial. No doubt there are some who constantly moan about the casting to this day on various message boards. But it's an understandable decision - they need an A-list star for their summer blockbuster to make any impact in the Western market. Imagine what would have happened if they hired authentic middle-eastern actors. The film would not have appealed in the States, even less so to the rest of the world. You can forget about making a few hundred million dollars. It's not ideal, but necessary and anyone who wants to make a profit would have done the exact same thing.
Dastan (Gyllenhaal) was not a prince to start with. He spent his childhood running through the streets, a beggar with enormous athletic talent. One day he rescues a boy from being beaten, tries to escape the soldiers but in the end fails. As the soldiers with humongous swords are about to cut off one of his hands, the King of Persia puts a stop to it. He's been watching Dastan, and admiring his bravery, decides to adopt him, giving him a better, more glamorous life in his palace. Many years later, the Persian army is about to invade the holy city of Alamut. It's not what the King wants, since the city of supposed to be sacred, but a reliable intelligence suggests that the city is responsible for selling weapons to the enemies of Persia. Dastan plays a big role in conquering the city, and inside the walls of the holy city, he comes across a mysterious dagger. After he's falsely accused of murdering his father with a poisoned cloak, he flees the city with Princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton), and whether he likes it or not, she turns out to be a clever companion who explains a lot of baffling facts to the goofy prince. Sort of like the voice of exposition, a role Arterton is familiar with, following her role from "Clash of the Titans." The dagger he carries is a special one, with the amazing ability to turn back time. It can be used for great evil of course, and the fate of mankind rests in the hands of these two. He has his name to clear but also quite suddenly, a huge responsibility to save Earth.
Anyone who has played the game will be able to recognise some of the slick fighting styles the film manages to include in its combat sequences. Gyllenhaal, looking as though he should be on the cover of "Men's Health," can pull off the action nicely, handling the kinetic pace with utmost confidence. He can do comedy too, with his constant bickering with Tamina providing some comic relief. Gyllenhaal and Arterton have great chemistry together. They are a charming, attractive pair who represents the complete opposite. Dastan may lack the brains of Tamina but he has the brute force she lacks. She is unquestionably brave, sometimes at the wrong moments, but this may also provide some laughs. She is a feisty princess who would lie, steal, cheat or kill in a heart-beat to protect the powerful weapon.
It's no surprise that Ben Kingsley turns out to be the main villain. This is most certainly not a spoiler, since every shot or close-up on the actors screams the fact that he is hiding an uncomfortable truth behind all the dark and evil make-up. Plus, he's the main character's uncle, the King's brother. When has an uncle ever been reliable or trustworthy in adventure films? They are always bound to let you down, since eventually, jealousy and greed for power takes over. And that is exactly what Kingsley's part entails. He's the scheming, manipulative traitor. But the frustrating thing is the time taken by the heroic and noble characters to truly figure out who the ultimate bad guy is. There are so many hints and clues dropped along the way that even the least sophisticated members in the audience would be able to figure it out in the first twenty minutes or so. The film takes considerably longer.
Alfred Molina also makes an outstanding contribution to the film with his small cameo role as the hilarious bandit who runs the wild ostrich racing in the middle of nowhere. Some of his jokes are a little hit-and-miss but they do improve considerably. He may only appear for a short period of time but he is a major scene-stealer who may not have a crucial part to play in the central plot but is a welcome comic distraction. Characters like Molina's is almost obligatory in big-scale adventure films - they're always the wise-cracking, fast-talking, over-the-top idiots who turn out to be vaguely useful in the end.
Whilst the action stays faithful to the original game, the director never gets too bogged down or pressured to pack in as many different moves as possible. The action is unpredictable and creative, always fun to watch, full of various, oddly-shaped weapons. Hardly anything seems forced, and the fast-paced action is incredibly well choreographed. There is some fantastic stunt-work to marvel at, combined with some exceptional CGI work. To put it more simply, full of what any Bruckheimer films should have, and why putting his name on a film more than guarantees some level of success. There is a dangerous moment at the beginning of the film where some of the action is mixed with camera-work that would only exist in the world of videogames (rapid zoom-ins followed by even more rapid zoom-outs plus rapid scene changes that show other objectives the protagonist is supposed to complete). Fortunately for us, the director quickly abandons such methods realising that he does not need to resort to direct copying of the game.
There are some odd plot points. Most of the characters are not only fighting against the hideously deformed baddies, but also against the clock. They have a couple of days at most to save the world but seem to have enough time to travel across the Persian Empire, cross its enormous deserts, climb incredibly high mountains, crash a royal funeral, survive a sandstorm and infiltrate a city swarming with deadly assassins in a shockingly short period of time. Yes, "Prince of Persia" is hardly a film too bothered about realism (you push a button on a dagger that carries some special sand and you can turn back time), but little details that could easily have been corrected should have been looked over more carefully.
Perhaps to ensure that the younger generation does not get lost during the film, there are clunky lines that explain what must be done in a step-by-step manner. Lines such as "The only way to stop this Armageddon is for us to take the dagger to the Secret Guardian Temple" may seem tedious on paper but they do not sound nearly as bad when surrounded by so much excitement. The ending however, is a different matter, a massive screw-up that suggests that what we have been watching for the past two hours was in fact, purgatory. A massive let-down, but it's almost forgivable - for the simple reason that director Mike Newell entertained us so thoroughly for the past 110 minutes.
I love going to the cinema and will watch just about anything. During one visit to the cinema my friend I spotted a cardboard cut out advertising this film. As we made our way to watch some film that I can't even remember now we were awed by the sight of a rather lovely looking Jake Gyllenhaal looking much hotter than either of us remembered him. We took our seats in the cinema and as we did my friend informed me that we would be watching that film, regardless of whether it looked good or not. Never one to turn down a trip to the cinema, or the chance to spend a couple of hours watching hot men (and women) on the big screen, I of course agreed.
Prince Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) was an orphan who impressed the King with his bravery and courage. He's so impressed that the King adopts him and Dastan becomes his third son. Fifteen years later Dastan is framed for the King's murder. He escapes with the imprisoned Princess of Alamut and her dagger. Dastan soon discovers that the dagger contains the Sands of Time and with it he can turn back short periods of time. Dastan and Princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton) must find a way to clear Dastan's name and find out who really killed the King.
Going to see a film with no expectations is usually a good thing in my opinion. You're either pleasantly surprised or at the very least not disappointed. Unfortunately in this case I have to say it's just that I'm not disappointed. Jake Gyllenhaal looks much better on screen than in photos so there was at least one thing that impressed me. However, if you're looking for something more than great arms and a nice torso in a film this probably isn't the film for you.
Part of the problem with this film is the acting. While Gemma Arterton and Jake Gyllenhaal make very attractive leads in this film they don't exactly show off their acting skills. Having seen both actors in other films I know that they can act and that they can act well but for some reason in this film they don't. At one point my friend turned to me and asked if I thought they were intentionally acting so poorly. I have to conclude that they were. For what reason I can't fathom but here we have two good actors who put on the kind of performance that you would expect in a school play. They're completely unconvincing in their roles and there's no real emotion in their performances.
The plot isn't exactly original. Think of just about any genre of film, television show or book and I bet someone can name a title where the hero is framed for murder and has to find a way to protect other people from the real murderer. I don't mind that this plot isn't original, sometimes the most overdone plots can be the best, there's a reason why they're popular after all. In this film you would expect there to be a twist because of the whole time travelling thing but I actually thought that for most of the film the time travelling has little impact on the overall plot and right until the end it is just another film with the same plot as countless others. This film is unoriginal but that shouldn't mean that it's predictable. Unfortunately this film is completely predictable. If you don't know who the real murderer is as soon as the King is assassinated you probably weren't paying attention.
The main problem that I have with the plot is that all through the film there are rules that are established about time travelling and the sands of time. Then towards the end of the film those rules are thrown out of the window. I'm not going to go into specifics here because I don't want to give away the ending. It's so frustrating. I think that in any film or book that has magic and other things like that you have to have a set of rules to follow, otherwise anything can happen and the hero could do anything. I think rules have to be established and followed in order for any fantasy setting to really work well. This film broke every rule it had and Prince Dastan may as well have woken up and realised that it was all a dream.
As an action film this didn't work particularly well for me either. I do enjoy action films but in this film I found it difficult to really get into the action. I just didn't feel like I could engage with the plot or the characters and because of this I didn't really care much about what happened. I was impressed with a few action scenes, it's during these that you can see that this film was based on a computer game but it's like a detached kind of impressed. I could just as well have watched a few action scenes in isolation from the rest of the film and thought how cool it was that Prince Dastan could move like that. I just had no attachment to it at all.
I didn't really enjoy this film. If it had been shorter I might have given it two stars for having an attractive cast that I enjoyed looking at but there's only so long I can be content with a couple of pretty faces and hot bodies. At two hours long this is a long film anyway, when you don't enjoy it it just seems longer.
I haven't played the video game that this film is based on, perhaps if you're a fan of the computer game you'll find something in this film that I didn't. This film just wasn't enjoyable for me and even the inclusion of a romantic sub-plot didn't keep my attention for long.
Plucked off the streets and adopted by the Persian King as a teen, young Dastan grows up with his brothers, living the life of a Prince. When a retaliatory attack results in the death of the King, Dastan is blamed, and flees to try and clear his name. His only company is the Princess Tamina, and a strange dagger that holds secrets that our World cannot comprehend.
Essentially, this is a film glossed over with fab action sequences and good characterisation, and all it does is provide us with an evil megalomaniac who wants to control the world. Nothing new here, but what is enjoyable about this film is that it doesn't try to do too much. Jake Gyllenhaal is a good choice for the lead role of Dastan, and his English accent is very good. Gemma Arterton as Tamina is also convincing, although not great. The rest of the cast are equally impressive, with Ben Kingsley shining as a villain (he's great in those roles). The acting matches the standards of the characters, which is brilliantly created, a number of heroes and villains in equal proportion and well balanced through the film.
The action and special effects must be mentioned hand in hand, as they both combine with great effect to give the film enjoyable focus from start to finish. An uplifting soundtrack is also part of the energy the film has, and with some great combinations of all of these elements, success comes through not trying to do too much. Ultimately, this never needs to be more than just an enjoyable romp of a film with a decent plot that focuses more on the action and the characters than the plot itself. That there is a bit of mystery included for the majority of the film, and some comedy coming in the form of Alfred Molina's Sheik Amar, merely adds to the enjoyment, and while this isn't a brilliant film, it's certainly very good and highly enjoyable.
Some of the plot elements are rather unbelievable, but this is glossed over by the use of the Gods and ancient lore, as is quite common in films set in the 'olden times' as this is. I found the magic involved in the dagger, and how it was explained, was done very well, and ultimately added to the experience. Gyllenhaal's acting helped here. It could quite easily have resulted in over acting, but his facial acting as well as the verbal helped to explain things quite clearly, and with Arterton's Tamina on hand as the fount of dagger knowledge, the writers must take a bow in making sure loose ends are tied up.
I recommend watching this film. It's harmless entertainment, with impressive action, a decent plot and some great characters. The fight choreography is expertly done, and small injections of comedy and a variation of speed help to make it really enjoyable. Well worth a watch.
In general I tend to be quite sceptical about films based on computer games, excluding the tomb raider films of course, however there were several things about the new Disney blockbuster the Prince of Persia that made me inclined to see it.
Firstly, Jake Gyllenhaal.
Secondly, Jake Gyllenhaal all sweaty, half naked and fighting.
Thirdly, it was made by Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer who were responsible for the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy.
So last Saturday on a quiet afternoon I dragged my rather reluctant friend along to watch it with me.
The Prince of Persia; the Sands of time is rather unsurprisingly set in Persia. Jake plays the character of Dastan, an orphan boy plucked from the streets to be brought up as a Prince after impressing the King with his courage. 15 years later Dastan is every inch the prince fighting alongside his two foster brothers Tus and Garsiv in the army, although luckily for us ladies still taking part in a few street worthy brawls.
The three brothers , along with their uncle , go against the orders of the King to attack the holy city of Alamut, seemingly as revenge for them selling swords to Persia's enemies. Dastan rushes in early and ensures victory for the Persians, managing to acquire a strange new dagger in the process.
Despite winning the battle and capturing the beautiful princess Tamina the arrival of the King puts a dampener on proceedings when he shows his displeasure at the attack on the city. Dastan is persuaded to give a robe to the King as a victory present but when the King collapses and dies it becomes apparent that the robe was poisoned. Dastan soon finds himself on the run, along with Princess Tamina who uses the opportunity to escape and to try to get back the mysterious dagger from Dastan.
Whilst on the run Dastan has to figure out who set him up, how he is going to prove his innocent and what is so special about the dagger that Tamina is desperate to steal back.
I have to admit to not much knowledge of the Prince of Persia computer game so I can't comment on whether or not the story line sticks to that of the game, but I have to admit I absolutely loved this film. It had the Big bucks action scenes and special effects, the Disney cheesy storyline and talks of 'Destiny' (which I secretly adore) and of course the expected love story.
The story had some twists and turns in it, and although in parts it was fairly predictable I didn't mind this as I felt the story line was still good enough to keep me interested. It also had some great moments of humour, in particular the character Sheik Amar and his Ostrich racing.
This film will appeal to men and women alike (Jake and Gemma Arterton as Princess Tamina provide the eye candy) and is suitable for all the family. An all-round good action film I will be recommending to everyone!
There's nothing that breeds low expectations like a video-game-to-film conversion.
Indeed, naming your favourite such movie is generally something akin to discussing your preferred fascist dictator; they're all pretty bad. As such, to say Prince of Persia exceeds its modest expectations isn't saying an awful lot - it's a pretty average film, but there's plenty to like about this Jerry Bruckheimer-produced sand-and-swords romp.
With the Pirates of the Caribbean and National Treasure movies under his belt, Bruckheimer has a good record of enjoyable nonsense, and he and director Mike Newell make most of the right calls to start off with here. The film takes the essential premise of The Sands of Time, a critically-acclaimed 2003 release - that is, a wisecracking pauper-come-prince who battles all manner of villains for a dagger with the power to reverse the flow of time and the hand of a fair princess - but takes the finer points of the story on a flight of its own. In this spin on the canon, Prince Darstan (Jake Gyllenhaal; aka the Prince of Persia) is part of his father's conquering army who ransack the grand city of Alamut and loot its treasures - amongst them the aforementioned dagger and princess (a sultry, rapidly costume-changing Gemma Arterton).
When the Prince's dad (so, the King then ...) is murdered in what seems a rather unlikely way, Darstan finds himself fingered as the prime suspect. Reluctant to face the music and dance, however, he flees with princess in tow and embarks on a journey to clear his name and unravel the mysteries of the Sands of Time which flow through the much-sought-after dagger.
Discarding the game's plot is a bold, probably wise move - after all, even the most story-driven games tend to be rather more linear and repetitive than a film necessitates - and yet, it's odd that those behind this adaptation have replaced the existing story with one which feels every bit as much like a computer game. After an impressive opening few sequences which set the tone for the film's elaborate, opulent and exhilarating sense of visual flair, the new plot boils down to a series of combat-based set-pieces that do little for character and - although they're fun to watch - do become rather repetitive. Fans of the games (that's my hand going up) will be pleased to see a host of the Prince's reknowned acrobatic moves duplicated on-screen, but it's a shame that the film probably does less with character development than its console-based predecessor did (the game managed to generate a laudably in-depth and believable relationship between prince and princess, but the well-judged banter is largely replaced with cliché and slapstick here - it kind of works, but it feels like a rehash of the main male-female relationships from Pirates or National Treasure).
Casting's suitably Hollywood here - the film is firmly aligned with the version of history where everyone, everywhere in the world, was white and English-speaking; unless they were evil, in which case they were Slavic, or evil and deranged, in which case they were German. Such predictable quibbles aside, the cast are pretty well chosen, though - Gyllenhaal was an initially strange choice for the role, but pumped-up and long-haired, he fits the part physically and does plenty enough with his character portrayal to satisfy. Gemma Arterton's barely stretched with her spunky temptress role, but she does it well - Ben Kingsley as the creepy Vizier turns in a similarly undemanding but enjoyable performance, while Toby Kebell (who should be best remembered for his stunning performance in Dead Man's Shoes) rounds off the British contingent as one of the Prince's brothers.
Visually, the film's certainly a triumph. The games have always made the most of their exotic locales - right back to the 1993 sequel, ahead of its time in its redolent backdrops - and Sands of Time is not shy in showing off the considerable resources at its disposal, creating a Persian wonderland, full of sky-high minarets and Arabic citadels, fortresses, gardens and deserts. With the game's original creator Jordan Mechner on board as a writer, the film manages to replicate much of the feel of its predecessors, and although there's no need to have played the games to be able to enjoy what is in all honesty a pretty straightforward actioner, there are some nice homages fans will appreciate. Shot on location in Morocco, the film fuses reality and its copious helpings of computer manipulation well, and the result is a beguiling, involving experience that ticks all the right boxes for expectant lovers of the genre.
That's essentially what The Sands of Time is - for good and bad; a genre-flick that does a lot of things well, but brings no great surprises or innovations to the screen and probably relies too greatly on its visual wonders to overcome an uninspired plot (which feels like a wasted opportunity, given they tore up the original story to produce something more cinematic). The leads are solid, the script routine, but the action's worth watching and the time-rewinding scenes are fun to watch - even if they're rather under-used, and you get the feeling the filmmakers felt bound to include the gimmick, but didn't quite know what to do with it. Again, a shame, as time-control and issues of causality and whatnot are a big part of the game series - albeit more so in the second and third instalments, so perhaps we'll see more of this if the film spawns a sequel.
I've probably over-emphasised the links between the games and film. For me, they're apparent and relevant, but I suspect the majority of the movie's audience are coming to the cinema without any preconceptions, expecting only a fun, thrilling, possibly slightly tongue-in-cheek romp in the sand. Ultimately, then, the film delivers. This is no Pirates of the Caribbean; Gyllenhaal lacks the charisma to drive a film in the same way Johnny Depp can, and Arterton's character is a bit too conventional and familiar to linger long in the memory. However, this is a safe bet for an evening's entertaining, undemanding viewing, and one hopes any forthcoming follow-ups can iron out some of the kinks.
note: also appears on my review site, TheFilmBlogger.com
It's a testament to the shabby standards of most video games adapted into films that Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time - a woefully mediocre adventure film by most other barometers - is arguably one of the best to date, save for the mighty (if also uneven) Silent Hill. Though only intermittently entertaining at best, Mike Newell's work here is a baby step in the right direction for films based on games, and serves as a reminder that Uwe Boll has not, in fact, monopolised the genre.
Jake Gyllenhaal plays Dastan, a former street urchin who was plucked from the streets and adopted by the King after a huge demonstration of bravery as a child. Picked as the heir to the King's throne, Dastan acts as a buffer between the King's two biological sons, but when someone - possibly one of the other sons - steals the Sands of Time contained within Dastan's dagger in order to turn back time, a war emerges over not only the future, but the past.
The most obviously praise-worthy aspect of Prince of Persia is the sheer immensity and sheen of its production, a facet unsurprising given that it has the name Bruckheimer attached to it. The vast expanse of the Moroccan desert is captured in crisp detail, and the action scenes, replete with the necessary CGI, are rather well-polished though hyperactively edited. While the combination of an immaculate production design and a jovial swashbuckling adventure narrative is reminiscent of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, the similarities end there, for this mostly charmless attempt is strictly hollow, instant Blockbuster in a Bag formula.
Though far broader than the overwhelming majority of video game adaptations, Persia's core fanbase is still going to be gamers, to whom it does deliver mild - if hugely qualified - gratification. What separates Persia from, say, House of the Dead or Hitman isn't merely its monstrous budget, but the fair level of respect it demonstrates for the source material. Borrowing liberally from the games, but staying true enough to the tone and style, the film just about delivers as a dappy, action-packed adventure for undemanding summer audiences, but should you dare listen to the painfully obvious expository dialogue, you'll be reminded why the film is, in fact, a bust.
The admittedly diverting acrobatics, and the steamy parlance between Gyllenhaal and his love interest, Prince Tamina (played by Gemma Arterton) can distract only so much from the incredibly wooden, corny delivery of the plot. Newell is clearly firing for a rollicking, Indiana Jones-esque adventure pic, and though in its pacier moments it is effective to that end, the half-baked attempts at humour throughout and the generally uninspired plot presentation are more cheesy and hokey than funny or charming. Extravagant visual effects aside, the film could easily have been pulled from the mid-80s, though that's sadly not quite the compliment it sounds. A timelier issue, though, is simply that characters wander on and off screen merely as it benefits unloading the cumbersome expository dialogue.
The cast fare better for the most part, in as much as they seem to understand the ironic value of a campy adventure story better than the writers. Gyllenhaal is surprisingly decent as the titular Prince, both in physical stature and as a comic actor, while Gemma Arterton is reliably solid as his feisty, not to mention mouth-wateringly gorgeous, foil-come-damsel. Stealing the show and generating the most - and best - laughs, however, is Alfred Molina as a shady Sheik who spends most of his screen-time spouting madcap dialogue about the evil powers-that-be. Ben Kingsley meanwhile grabs for a payday with all of his might, though he acquits himself well enough that we might forgive him for starring in Uwe Boll's horrendous adaptation of the Bloodrayne game a few years ago.
Ultimately, those after an action extravaganza won't be left wanting for much, though the irritatingly frenetic editing does work against the finer moments of craft. Similarly, the meagre attempt at plotting is lazy and uninspired, and the dagger is rather underutilised until the climactic race to save the day. The manner in which Newell directs Dastan's use of the time-travelling dagger is both clever and slick, yet this, the film's coolest asset, too often takes a back seat to the dry, drawn-out dramatic portions.
Prince of Persia is not a good film by any means. It is, however, a sign of progress, and even if it doesn't totally live up to the high-wire thrills of its videogame forebear, it's inoffensive for the most part and occasionally quite fun.
The Prince of Persia: Sands of Time is a film adaptation of a popular video game and is one of the big films out at the moment. As there was nothing much else on last night we went to see this. I wasn't holding out much hope really - I had never played the game and really wasn't too interested in yet another Disney cash-in. The film sees Dastan (Gyllenhaal) brought into the royal fold and treated like one of the princes under the King. The princes lead an attack on an mystical city where Gyllenhaal picks up a mystical dagger owned by Gemma Atherton. The dagger holds a magical sand that lets the holder of the dagger travel back in time. But just who wants the dagger for themselves? Is it the King, the prices or the dastardly Ben Kingsley?
Ben Kingsley was the worst kind of ham in this film. With a bald head and tiny goatee he stumbled through the film showing very little enthusiasm for the whole proceedings. He was totally ordinary which is a shame because he could have brought some much needed gravitas to the film as a whole. He also appeared very orange indeed and enjoyed a little too much eye makeup.
The special effects were of a very good standard with the realisation of the buildings and architecture were excellent. It really felt quite realistic without looking like a studio and there didn't seem to be a hint of fibre glass rock faces. The best scene was at the end and showed the destruction of the temple housing the mystical sand.
Acting wise, Jake Gyllenhaal is a average and looks a lot like Syeed from Eastenders in this role. He looks constantly bemused when talking to people and again only appears to be here for financial reasons. Being a Disney film you might expect the pay cheque to be pretty substantial. In all, the film looks a lot like a Pirates of the Caribbean film more than anything and director Mike Newell has done well here. He has already cut his teeth with films like Harry Potter, so he knows exactly what is needed in a film like this and it plays out exactly as you might expect it to. Therefore it's pretty rudimentary and predictable. It's the sort of money making machine film that will have kids buying the books, games, t-shirts, pencil cases and the like
A lot of people have given Prince of Persia a very high rating on dooyoo, I'm quite surprised by that as its a very ordinary movie. The acting was wooden and the script pretty poor. The only thing that really made it stand tall was its excellent special effects. Its the perfect film for twelve year old boys who will lap up the action scenes and the link with computer games.
Prince of Persia was pretty average and although I'm tempted to give it two stars I will settle on three because of its decent special effects.
As far as video games being made into movies the audience never has much luck. We got Super Mario Brothers the movie, Alone in the Dark and the barely adequate Resident Evil. Things we're looking bad and when I heard that the game Prince of Persia Sands of Time was being made into a film, I heard a collective groan of 'not again' and 'darling, I'm taking a warm bath - get me my sharpest razor'. However when it was revealed that this was going to be big budget and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer I kind of held my breath.
Well you can exhale because as far as I'm concerned we have finally got a half decent film. It stars Jake Gyllenhaal as the Prince and Gemma Arterton as the Princess - Ben Kingsley features as the adversary. If you're familiar with the game then you will not be disappointed, the man behind the cutscenes wrote the script and the story remains largely intact.
The Prince and his brothers invade Princess Tamina's kingdom on the pretence that her kingdom is making weapons for Persia's rival countries. The kingdom is conquered and the Prince gathers the spoils of victory - including a strange and beautiful dagger. The Princess is taken back to Persia and the Prince gives his father a beautiful cloak. However his father burns alive as the cloak has been poisoned and the finger squarely points at the Prince who flees from persecution. The Prince realises that the dagger in fact allows time to be rewound - but only for a minute - he and the princess must work out who killed his father and why...
Usually these types of films suffer due to the director just assuming that naturally the audience has played the game - despite half of the people in the room has been dragged their by a fan and know nothing of the franchise. Fortunately though, this isn't necassary as the plot breaks you in easily. But wait, there's more! The film also caters for the video game junkie by adding in the same moves that we loved to make the Prince perform and a lot of the sound effects are lifted straight from the game.
There is a hell of a lot of fighting in the film and at first the plot was slow to lift off, the audience get to love the Prince and Princess but the antagonist wasn't nearly as nasty as I wanted him to be - there were no stand out moments where his uncle really talked to him as an antagonist and I missed that in the film.
My only other one was to be unfounded but at first I thought the characters looked far to white, particularly Gemma Arterton, however it just seems to be the shading of the posters for some reason.
All in all I would say it's the first of the great block busters for this Summer. Go watch it