Going into a movie with massively high expectations isn’t always a good thing however as the movie has more potential to let you down. Read on to find out what I thought.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is based around the computer game designed back in the late 80’s by Jordan Mechner, a man who wrote the first draft of the movie screen story and executive producer on the movie. It’s helmed by British director, Mike Newell, who has a range of different genres under his belt including Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Donnie Brasco and Four Weddings and a Funeral. This latest Disney / Bruckheimer project is by far his biggest undertaking but I’m pleased to report that he did a mighty fine job.
The cast includes Jake Gyllenhaal as our leading man, Prince Dastan, Gemma Arterton as Princess Tamina, Alfred Molina as Sheik Amar and Sir Ben Kingsley as Nizam. We also get to see the debut of young, British actor William Foster who opens the movie with some excellent parkour (free running), bouncing off walls, jumping off high ceilings and running through a market square to avoid being caught. It really is quite an opening and sets the standard for things to come.
Synopsis: From the team that brought the “Pirates of the Caribbean” trilogy to the big screen, Walt Disney Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer Films present PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME, an epic action-adventure set in the mystical lands of Persia. A rogue prince (JAKE GYLLENHAAL) reluctantly joins forces with a mysterious princess (GEMMA ARTERTON) and together, they race against dark forces to safeguard an ancient dagger capable of releasing the Sands of Time—a gift from the gods that can reverse time and allow its possessor to rule the world.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, reveals the story of a kid from the street who gets adopted into the royal family after showing courage saving a young boy in a city square. Years pass and we get to see young Dastan all grown up, fighting for Persia alongside his brothers Garsiv (Toby Kebbell), Tus (Richard Coyle) and uncle Nizam (Sir Ben Kingsley). After discovering that a Holy city known as Alamut has been forging swords and other weaponry, weaponry that would be used to attack Persia. Rather than waiting for an imminent attack, The Persians decide to strike the first blow.
With this first blow comes the main opening sequence of the movie called ‘The Attack on Alamut’ and what an opening it is! Watching the creativity of the writers unfold was great, and for me it was a perfect opening sequence, showing the taking of an impenetrable fortress. This sequence was filmed at Pinewood Studios on the James Bond stage and the production value of this scene is excellent. Watching hundreds of horses and hundreds of extras storming towards the city is spectacular. Good so far…..
Now, there is a myth that in Alamut lies a princess who is the most beautiful in the world. Well, they wouldn’t be far wrong as the woman in question is British Hollywood A-Lister in the form of Gemma Arterton as Princess Tamina. Tamina is also the spiritual leader of the City, and holds the most important job in existence, the protector of the the Sands of Time which are hidden within a dagger.
So there’s the back story, so, is the movie any good? I think in a nutshell, it’s not as good as I was hoping it to be, but I did really enjoy it. I actually watched the film twice to make sure that my initial thoughts were valid and watching it for the second time confirmed it. The action sequences are awesome and watching the parkour (of which there are two main sections within the film) is fantastic. Parkour Legend (and Inventor) David Belle choreographed all the free running stunts in the movie and he did a fantastic job. Even down to working with William Foster (young Dastan) who had to perform many of his own stunts and looked like he been doing it for years.
Alfred Molina serves as the comic relief in the movie and in my my opinion is one of the highlights. Wait until you see the Ostrich scene and you’ll see exactly what I mean! Sir Ben Kingsley plays the usual professional part that he always does, with the chemistry between Gemma Arterton and Jake Gyllenhaal working throughout the movie. Now, onto Jake Gyllenhaal’s accent. If you didn’t know already, he uses a British accent, English to be exact, and does a mighty fine job of it. In fact, if you didn’t know that the Hollywood a-lister wasn’t American, then you would come out of the cinema thinking that he was English.
Prince of Persia may suffer from its story being a bit too confusing with our main characters bouncing around Persia or jumping around in the desert without really knowing what their final aim is, and when the finale of the movie comes, it’s a little messy. It’s hard to describe this in full without spoiling the movie so I’ll let you see what you think and you can tell me in the comments section below.
Prince of Persia may be a little confusing in places but ultimately, it’s a wonderful movie with many more positives than negatives. The set design in the movie was excellent. I don’t want to repeat what I said in my Robin Hood review a couple of days ago but again, it was so nice to see money spent on original sets rather than just relying on CGI.
No doubt a second movie will be made and I look forward to seeing it as I’m sure this franchise has a million and one places it could go. It was great to see a computer game turned into something that was thoroughly enjoyable, and I highly recommend a visit to the cinema when it’s released in UK cinemas next Friday, 21st May (today!).