Thursday, June 3, 2010

Prince of Persia (2010) - MOVIE REVIEW

Director: Mike Newell
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina
In cinemas: Now

A story of betrayal, love, destiny and a whole lot of kick-ass fight scenes. It's the Jerry Bruckheimer produced video game turned movie - Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.

A story, set in sixth-century BC, of a young orphan boy, Dastan (Gyllenhaal), in the Persian Empire who became prince after being adopted by the King. "No royal blood and no eye for the throne."

Following the action sequences, stylings and storyline of the 2003 video game, the movie is about an ancient dagger that, with the use of the mystical 'Sands of Time', allows the person in possession to step back briefly in time and rewrite history by using the knowledge of what is about to happen.

The movie begins with the adoption scene, to put it simply, and then immediately goes forward 15 years to the day that Prince Dastan and his father's army invades the sacred city of Talmut under the assumption that they're there to stop them from selling weapons to their enemies. We soon find out that this isn't entirely true when Dastan comes into possession of the dagger, not knowing its powers. Soon after the invasion, Dastan is framed for his father's murder and is then on the run from his own people with an unlikely partner in Princess Tamina (Arterton), the guardian of the dagger. After she brings Dastan up to speed on the history of the dagger, they begin their journey to secure it and bring the villain to justice. I must say, I was quite disappointed that the writers didn't go to much effort to keep the villain a mystery. It was so obvious that they might as well have zoomed into his face and played the "Da da duh" tune associated with bad guys.

I think with comic book and video game movies these days, comic relief plays a big role. Most likely because the storyline and acting isn't exactly awe-inspiring. A few examples: The Fantastic 4 movies, the Spiderman Movies and the Hulk movies were missing decent comic relief and were pretty lacklustre. Thats right, I don't like Spiderman. Although the last two Batman movies had minimal comic relief, they had great storylines and exceptional acting. For me, the perfect combination of acting, story and comic relief came in the forms of Iron Man and Iron Man 2. The X-Men trilogy earns an honourable mention though. It's storylines, acting and comic relief weren't awesome but they combined well with the amazing special effects for a sort of synergy to produce some good movies.

Anyway, During their travels, they venture through "The deadly valley of slaves" and encounter an entrepreneur and funnily enough, ostrich racing organiser, Sheik Amar (Molina). Did I mention his deadly knife throwing partner in crime, Seso? Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2) turned in an absolutely brilliant performance with the comic relief he provided as the Sheik. It was well written and supremely delivered. He doesn't have to try too hard to get you really liking the character, it was perfect. His role more than makes up for the slightly above average performance by both Gyllenhaal and Arterton. I'm not saying they were bad, it's just that it was difficult for them to put forward a really good performance since they played serious roles in a video game movie that centers around mimicking the gaming experience and also trying to get out from under the shadows of Molina and Ben Kingsley (Shutter Island, Lucky Number Slevin) who portrayed the King's brother, Nazim.

As expected, many of the fighting moves, effects and camera work from the game were incorporated into the movie. It was done quite well and early on which allowed the movie to do it's thing without having me waiting to see what I've seen in the game. I haven't read any other reviews but I imagine the fan boys will be happy on that front. I won't say too much about the ending except that it could have went a many ways and the way they did go wasn't too bad at all.

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