Thursday, September 16, 2010

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)

PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME
DIRECTED BY: MIKE NEWELL
WRITTEN BY: BOAZ YAKIN, DOUG MIRO, & CARLO BERNARD
BASED ON THE VIDEO GAME BY: JORDAN MECHNER
OVERALL SCORE: 4.50/10


After the mysterious death of his adoptive father, the king of Persia, street orphan turned Prince, Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal), finds himself being accused, and must flee his brothers quickly, in order to prove himself innocent.

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The greatest flaw of Prince of Persia lies not with the directing, acting, or even its obviously better for a video game premise. Rather, it lies solely in the story. Prince of Persia's entire narrative is built on one simple belief: it has an ace in the hole ready to change everything the viewer things. That ace in the hole being, of course, time.

Only one problem: If you're over the age of 12, or have seen more than a handful of fantasy films, it's big ace in the hole ending is so blatantly obvious it pains the viewer to wait for it. And through all its action sequences, running, character development, and the like all I did was wait, and hope.

Hope that the writers had the good sense to adhere to their own story. That they wouldn't do what I so feared they would. Alas, they did go down that road... and bitter is the only lasting taste I can state.

I'm not a fan of the film's ending, to the point where its obviousness weakens any strength the leading elements may have possessed. Like a horrible poker player, Prince of Persia believe it's only teasing you by showing you one of its cards, not realizing that's basically shown you the entire hand. And when you seek to surprise in the end, showing too much is always a bad thing.

Though the journey must still count for something. Like The Sixth Sense and The Usual Suspects show, if the journey is well crafted, all can be enjoyed even if the ending is known. Here the journey is crafted with an incredible dedication to mediocrity. Flat characters (spray on tans galore), and dialogue that would make cheese seek to mold. Perhaps the one films real saving grace lies in the charisma of its leading actors.

They may not have been the right choices for the role, but they're the only thing that keeps the film afloat despite its insipid plot. Add to that a few creative fight sequences (some of which owe more than they'd care to admit to Indiana Jones) and you get a way to pass some time.

From the moment its key plot kicks in Prince of Persia drags its feet to an ending anyone can see coming, and to the detriment of the leading plot. Add to that a few too many spray on tans, and cheesy dialogue, and you'll find PoP is little more than a cheap summer flick layered with problems.


5 better thoughts:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I actually enjoyed it. Simple but fun. Of course, I'd just seen the truly awful remake of Clash of the Titans, which probably affected my opinion.

SugaryCynic said...

It bored me. So hard. The only thing about that kept me watching was Alfred Molina as the crazy ostrich-racing dude, who was not given nearly enough screentime. Also, movie, it's obvious who the real baddie is when you've got him in bad-dude eyeliner.

CMrok93 said...

Try as I may, I simply cannot dislike any movie with both an ostrich race and an ostrich stampede. Nice Review!

Film Intel said...

Hated this. Came close to one star. Rubbish acting and a rubbish script do not a good film make. Ever.

Univarn said...

@AlexJ That's a grading curve that'd be unfair to any film that followed it. You could have watched 2 Girls 1 Cup and thought "eh, could be worse, I could still be watching Clash of the Titans"

@Sugary Alfred Molina was great, but his performance gave me flashbacks to him as Snidley Whiplash in that dreadful Dudley Do-Right film.

@CMrok I can help you with the hating. First you go: ARRRRRGH! Then you go: BOOOOO! Then you write a blog post and go: The sentimentality is totally irrelevant within the confines of this film's narrative flow. Does that make sense? Not one bit, but that's why it's a blog.

@Film I suppose they decided 2 Rubbish must be better than 1... Perhaps they failed to acknowledge quality > quantity.

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