Friday, May 28, 2010

Box Office Review – Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Near the end of the movie I came to the realisation that Jake Gyllenhaal's career has now come full circle. One of his first major roles was in 2001s Donnie Darko. That film deals with time travel, and in that movie Gyllenhaal is the unlikely hero. Now nine years later he stars again in a film that deals with time travel and he becomes the unlikely hero. This time around the movie is a period action film based on a video game. There are a lot of stereotypes that come with video game movies. That is because there has yet to be a video game adaptation that is any good. The film adaptation of Prince of Persia is unsuccessful at destroying any video game movie stereotypes, but not for lack of trying.

POP brings together a very good cast who have to deal with a lackluster story. Gyllenhaal is well cast as Dastan, and his love interest Tamina played by Gemma Arterton is as well. The supporting cast consist of a bunch of actors who are wasted in their roles. Ben Kingsley plays Nizam and he does tries to do something with the role but there isn't much room for development. Alfred Molina plays Sheik Amar the comic relief in the movie, and he is able to create a few laughs in the film. It is not a surprise that even when given a bad script he is able to deliver such a solid performance. I believe that he would have to try very hard to give a poor performance. Up and comer Toby Kebbell (RocknRolla) who plays Dastan's brother Garsiv may be rivalling Molina in a few years as he seems to be compiling a portfolio of great performance, but as with Kingsley he is wasted here. The story just never allows much room for any of the actors to create memorable characters.

The movie tries so hard to explain the time travel element of the story that all it becomes is a muddled mess. It is much too high a concept to explain, but I will try. There is a dagger that is protected by the princess of a city. This dagger allows whoever uses it to travel back in time, but only by one minute. The handle of the dagger holds a bit of the sands of time and when it runs out the dagger no longer works. This is what is explained in the first twenty minutes of the film. As the movie goes on more mythology is piled on including people who guard the sands of time, why it was created and so forth. By the end of the movie I couldn't tell you what was going on. With the film focusing so much on explain its self it forgets to be what the audience is expecting, fun.

The video game involves wall running, swinging, and flipping which should be a blast on the movie screen. Unfortunately it doesn't work in the film. Something like Tony Jaa's work in Ong Bak or The Protector would have worked better. There is too much speed ramping in the action scenes to really appreciate them. With the action scenes being uninspired and the inclusion of too many long scenes trying to explain the convoluted story all the audience gets is bored. It didn't have to be this way. I doubt anyone went in expecting a hard fact science fiction story, so why bother trying to be that. All anyone wanted from the movie was solid action scenes, and POP fails to deliver.

A Banana Peel

1 comment:

  1. here is my take on it: Disney wanted to redo Aladin, but couldnt. So, they took this video game, added in every element that was successful from Pirates of the carribian, and out came this movie. it starts with a boy involved in a petty crime and subsequently being chased by the guards to fun music. From there on the constant Aladinness and Pirateness (most evident in the play between the main characters and the gypsy's comic relief) is really annoying.