movies: prince of persia: the sands of time

prince of persia: the sands of time - defy the futureWhile I haven't actually read any of the reviews, general buzz for Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time hasn't been especially complimentary... but I didn't think it was as bad as all that.

Sure you can just say "oh it's only a video game movie, they're never any good", and yes, you could probably go through the movie and pick apart all the other movies it seems to draw from/rip off (The Scorpion King most notably... which I know it's exactly Shakespeare either)... and you do pick up on the plot way before Prince Dastan... and sure they could actually use the time freezing ability of the dagger way more than they do...

But having said all of that, it's not so bad.

I think it probably suffers from Pirates of the Caribbean syndrome to some degree... while I love all three of the PotC movies (which I know puts me in the minority), I can accept that the plots aren't their strongest point. But I think all of the actors involved do some pretty good work. And PoP:TSoT falls under a similar heading.

Jake Gyllenhaal does a good swashbuckling turn as Prince Dastan (or as everyone keeps pronouncing it in the movie, "Destan", which is close enough to "destiny", a recurring theme... although supposedly Dastan means "Hero" in Persian) and even his "Is it English?" accent held up fairly well... I do feel like equal credit should go to Jake's stunt doubles Bobby Holland Hanton and Ben Cooke and his parkour double Mark Fichera, since it's very often them I think we're seeing on the screen running and jumping and fighting... and often very obviously so.

Gemma Arterton takes on another of these strong female roles that I seem to keep seeing her in, although her Princess does fall victim to the curse of standing around waiting for the hero to rescue her, or else gets knocked down/off things a fair bit.

Ben Kingsley doesn't necessarily do a whole lot, but he's got the evil Arabian mascara going, so you know it's not going to end well for him.

Also surprisingly good (although how much of that was just because he was pretty and a little bit brooding) was Toby Kebbell as the Prince's brother Garsiv...

What did make me roll my eyes somewhat was Alfred Molina showing up as the random desert sidekick... although taking a look at his filmography, I think perhaps I was confusing him with someone like Omid Djalili who has made a career out of playing random desert sidekicks... maybe it was the character itself that felt predictable rather than the actor.

Also on the list of "a bit of a waste of time characters" were the Hassansins... we never really see them well enough to work out their characters (except maybe for the blue eyed leader with the snake fetish) so there really isn't a particularly large sense of dread when they attack. Essentially their roles could probably have been equally filled in by "adequate guards #1-5".

But the special effects were very good, and I think it was helped by the fact that they did have the parkour experts there doing all the running and jumping and diving, so it didn't feel completely fake with either crappy, gravity defying wirework or bad CGI.

I will admit to feeling just the tiniest bit cheated by the ending of the movie... not in a "this ruins the movie" kind of way... more because of that it said about the rest of the movie.

All in all it's enjoyable enough... a bit fluffy in spots (no, surely the guards won't hear the cross bow bolts burying themselves 2 feet into that solid brick wall... yes, stop and have that kiss with the long lingering build up when you're supposed to be rushing to stop the bad guy from putting the McGuffin in the other McGuffin)... but not horrible.

yani's rating: 2 Persian lions out of 5

1 comment:

Lacarian said...

7 lions, wow! So you had a "not so bad" cinema evening. :o) I didn't like it that much, although it's from PotC-guys (and I LOVE PotC!).

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