Sep 21, 2010

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Film Review

image from Amazon

Persia is ruled by family values - The king and his two sons, his brother, and then out of pure awesomeness, the king adopts a third son off the street. Flash-forward till all the sons are in their 20's/30's and lead Persia's army into an attack on a "holy village" that are supplying Persian enemies with weaponry. Except not all is as it seems! As you could probably guess, somebody in the family wants all the power of the kingdom for himself and people start getting picked off. It becomes the duty of Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Princess Tamina of the "holy village" (Gemma Arterton) to set things right with the help of a dagger that made the village holy.

Man, there was a ton of action in this film! A ton of a ton of action. If I had to measure how much action was in this film using a unit of monkeys, I would say this movie had barrels of monkeys. Literally, barrels! But that kind of began to wear a little on me. Things become noticeably formulaic in the sense you get a "plant your feet and fight!" scene, then a dramatic scene to advance character development, then a chase scene, then a dramatic scene to advance character development, then a "plant your feet and fight!" scene, etc. etc. etc. And it's almost a full two hours in run-time, so it becomes a game to track whether or not it's going to continue with the formula or throw a curve ball. Other than that, not a whole lot else stands out about the film, overtly positive or negative. I was originally going to mention the ending being overly complex and back-peddling, but really it was just a thinker. Putting myself in the minds of the characters, and putting thought into the sorcery at hand in the film, everything pretty much made sense and left me satisfied.

My Highlights:
Ostrich racing, obviously. And seeing the primary villain get his comeuppance.

Overall Rating:
A lot of the "professional movie critics" out there gave this film a pretty poor score, but I disagree. It didn't really bring very much new to the table (at times I was screaming "THEY TOTALLY STOLE THAT FROM ALADDIN! WHERE'S GENIE!? BRING 'EM OUT HERE!) but everything it did, it did very well. It's kind of a thinker-action film, but those who like brain-dead popcorn-action films can probably like it just as much. The film got a lot of flack for pandering to video-game fanboys but I've never played any of the Prince of Persia games and still enjoyed it. There were the occasional directing sequence where I looked at the presentation and said "wow, that's very video game-esque cinematics" but it didn't detract from my enjoyment. I give this film a solid 4 *'s out of 5.

When You Should See It:
I wouldn't dissuade anyone from going out and renting this film. I wouldn't persuade them to either. Basically, if you have interest in seeing this film, go for it, but if not, wait for it to come to you and see how you feel about it when you find it channel-surfing.

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