At the end of this movie, you will at least think about owning an ancient device which allows you to turn back time. Even if you won’t admit it. Or if you’re not the kind to have ever spent time thinking about bending time or if you haven’t enjoyed the plethora of films dealing with time. And even if you haven’t been swept off your feet by this particular movie. I’m saying all these because a dagger which offers its owner the ability to move back and forth in time is at the core of the ‘Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time’ film’s plot. And who hasn’t pictured themselves, at least in the far back of their mind, in the shoes of a movie hero who has to handle such a powerful object? And when I’m talking about picturing oneself in the shoes of the hero, I’m also referring to the video game on which the movie was based and which made it easier to become a hero in one’s mind. This was a video game from the 90s, which, in the video game world, is so ancient time. A new video game has already been launched, but this time the game was based on the movie. Yes, the guys in the entertainment industry never stop cross promoting. Compared to how other movies based on video games have come out in the past, this one is top of its class.
I’ve seen movies like this before, and so have you, but it’s always interesting to see what else has the big Hollywood entertainment machinery thrown into the recipe. These action-adventure fantasy films are my Sunday morning favorite – the brain relaxing stories, whose main recipe you know, whose characters’ evolution is most of the time predictable, which charm you with sexy actors and actresses and which make up for the lack of a novel plot through music meant to inspire and special effects. And there’s plenty of each of these in the Prince of Persia.
Starting with actors, you will surely remember Oscar-nominated Jake Gyllenhaal (in picture), who in this film plays the main character Dastan; he also played in Zodiac and Brokeback Mountain. His leading lady, princess Tamina, the stubborn and proud princess whose stronghold the Persians conquer (literally conquered the stronghold she rules over, otherwise it didn’t seem seducing women was too high up on Persians’ list) is played by Gemma Arterton. She’s not that much known, at least not in our part of the world, but she has also played in RocknRolla and in The Boat that Rocked. She’s beautiful, plays this princess who stands up to men and occasionally even defeats them.. with words. So not bad at all. Ben Kingsley and Alfred Molina, who have played in so many movies you must know, too many to name here, bring some seniority to the cast. But building characters is not the focus in this film. Don’t expect too much from this point of view.
The plot itself is predictable. Mid-way through the movie you will figure out pretty much all the main lines it will follow until the end, although the movie makers have included a turn of events to set you off on a wrong track at some point. It’s a fairytale pattern. You could recognize some themes within the movie – the three sons of a king who go to war, the betrayal of a friend, the quest for protecting a charmed object and a princess. These are themes to be found in the Romanian tales as well.
Going back to the film, it’s not all fairy tale, some concepts emerge which are more of today’s then of yesterday’s, like the ostrich racing business and the idea of avoiding to pay taxes. We haven’t evolved that much, have we?
Anyway, in terms of special effects, I have enjoyed all the battle and one-on-one fight scenes, and I’m not usually crazy about fights. If you’ll choose to see the film on the big Imax screen, you’ll enjoy the special effects even more – the time turning moments are kind of cool.
You might also enjoy this trailer below (this time, the movie trailer actually reflects the pace and spirit of the movie)
This film is on at Cinema City Cotroceni Samsung Imax starting Friday, May 21st. Premiere in the rest of the cinemas in Bucharest on May 28th.