There are stories here and there that use what we could call the ‘cop-out’. You know the ones. The protagonist suddenly wakes up in his bed to realize the whole thing is a dream. The kids finally get rid of the killer but he’s really not dead. You know. These are the films and stories I honestly believe one of two things happened. The original writer was fired and the finished the movie without a script, or the original writer died and a studio executive finished it for them. In either case, no self-respecting writer would ever do that to his or her own book, script, and screenplay what-have-you…until recently. I have seen way too many movies this year that ruin a perfectly enjoyable experience at the theater by killing the ending. They set it up for another sequel, they wrap it up to quickly or, as in the case of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time…they just pretend it never happened.
OK, sorry, now that I’ve ruined the movie for you…feel free to sit back and enjoy a movie that is actually a lot of fun and really light popcorn fare. Jake Gyllenhaal plays the title character that was plucked as a homeless beggar from the streets to become an adopted son of the king. All grown up, he and his brothers are on conquest and make a fateful decision to attack a holy city who’s princess is charged with protecting a certain dagger. Of course by now you know the price falls for the princess and there is some backstabbing along the way. Believe you me; it is definitely not the plot that makes this movie enjoyable. Rather, it is the cast that seems to have a blast and we just go right along with it.
Jake Gyllenhaal has always been a conundrum to me playing in quirky 'indies' as well as spectacle pictures. But rarely has he seemed so alive and confident in this picture. And Gemma Arterton can actually act if she is given something other to do than be eye candy like in Clash of the Titans or Quantum of Solace. The real scene-stealer in the movie is Alfred Molina as the thief Nizam who throws himself with reckless abandon into the con artist ostrich-loving quasi bad-guy. Everyone else in the film is serviceable being led by Ben Kingsley doing his best Ben Kingsly impersonation and a slew of other characters that takes their roles a little to seriously for a movie based on an old Nintendo game.
The special effects could be amped up a bit, but it didn’t bother me too much since the best parts of the film had little or no effects in them. It’s a good thing the film is called Sands of Time because there is a lot of sand…I mean a LOT. So much so I started getting itchy thinking about how much sand poor Jake had to roll around in. Of course this movie is in no way a great film. I bet there are a few of you who would argue that this is an adequate film at best, but compared to some of the really agonizing stupidity that has come out this past year, Prince of Persia dares to be all out and does so with a healthy dose of tongue in cheek. Now if only we could get Hollywood to stop firing or killing of any descent writer, we might have a winning combination sooner or later.
See it now!!!!
See it in theaters!!!
Rent it on DVD/BluRay!!
Wait for it on TV!