Prince of Persia

Prince of Persia poster
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Escaping from a hot day, I managed to catch my first film for a week. Another in a string of computer game adaptations: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

“You can’t have an ostrich race… when you only have one ostrich!”

Plot-in-a-nutshell: orphan boy is rescued by king and goes on to (go on, you knew it) save the world. Using sand.

Computer game adaptations have had a hard time of it in Hollywood. Mario Bros wasn’t that bad. But around the same time you had Street Fighter which was crap (well, it had Van Damme and Kylie Minogue – it never stood a chance). The more recent Doom adaptation pretty much sucked, too. I am happy to say that PoP:tSoT bucks the trend slightly.

First of all, it has an actual story. I have no idea how closely this relates to that of the game on which it’s based, but it’s a good one. A nice plot with layers, twists and believable characters. OK, it’s silly as well. Come on, it’s a fantasy film.

Next up, it has a good cast. And, more importantly than just shoving actors in for the sake of it like the aforementioned failures, PoP makes full use of them. Ben Kingsley is slightly typecast as the hard-nosed brother to the king, but as ever puts in a wonderful performance. Jake Gyllenhaal hams it up as the lead, Dastan. And the gorgeous Gemma Arterton alternately makes you drool and want to slap her as befits her spoilt high priestess character.

Visually, it’s a complete treat. The skips between built sets and CGI are flawless which makes it seem enormous in scale. There’s a good use of quick camera pans and twists to enhance the action without leaving you wondering what direction you’re looking in (future James Bond directors, take note). One part in particular I liked was the Hassansin’s lair – very much like a Persian version of Q’s lab from the Bond flicks.

The stuntwork in particular should be enjoyed. The fight scenes and the like hark back to the original game and it’s motion-captured lead sprite. If free-running was a sport in ancient times, Dastan would have been a gold medallist.

If there’s a downside, it’s that the film drags a bit. Although there’s no real fluff or waste in the storyline, it’s just a little too long especially when it’s being targeted partly at kids who don’t often have the attention span to eat a whole ice cream before it falls to the floor.

Otherwise, it’s a cracking little action film.

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Holly Martin

Prince of Persia is definitely one of the best movies this year.~;`