Posts Tagged ‘sands of time

08
Jul
10

Is “Prince of Persia” Better than its Game-sake?

Who knew Disney could be so violent?

Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Ben Kingsley, Gemma Arterton, and Alfred Molina. Directed by Mike Newell

“Prince of Persia: Sands of Time” is the latest of the video game based movies-genre. It’s not bad but this is a movie which means that within six months after it’s released on video it’ll pretty much be forgotten. It’s not going to hit the iconic status of such previous fare as “Cloak and Dagger,” or even the first “Mortal Kombat” movie but in its own “sands of time” it may be reflected on better than say, “Silent Hill,” “Doom,” or even “Super Mario Brothers” (which has a cult status as being incredibly horrible in its own right).

Turning back to ye olden days of lore we go back to the ancient Persian empire. The story kicks-off with a young Dastan (William Foster), a homeless kid who defends a friend from the royal guard. When King Sharaman (Ronald Pickup) takes notice of him, he adopts him into his family.

Cut to the now where Dastan (Gyllenhaal) is grown and living with royal blood brothers Garsiv (Toby Kebbell) and Tus (Richard Coyle). A council meeting is held between the three in regards to invading the holy city of Alamut. Word has it that the city has a weapons forgery and while Alamut has not been taken for at least a thousand years, there’s a first time for everything. Without the King’s consent the three brothers mount an attack on the holy city.

Still the quick-thinking street-thief, Dastan takes his small group, scales the eastern wall, and gets in. A short matter of time later Alamut is taken for the kingdom of Nasraf. Alamut’s protector, Princess Tamina, prays at an altar. Tus sends men to find the weapons forgery which Tamina claims does not exist.

A ceremony is given to King Sharaman, turning the city over to him. At first he’s dismayed that his sons have taken over the holy city but accepts it from them, wanting to unite the kingdoms. During the ceremony Dastan presents to him a religious cloak. Sharaman’s brother Nizam (Kingsley) puts it on him. Sharaman gives Princess Tamina to Dastan as his first wife. Within moments Dastan’s good fortune is shattered: the cloak is poisoned and Dastan is blamed for the King’s death. Dastan and Tamina are now on the run for their lives.

What Dastan doesn’t know, and Tamina is reluctant to tell him, is that the dagger he is carrying is special. How special? It contains the sand of time and when the button on the hilt is pressed the holder goes back in time for one minute (great for parlor tricks). This comes in handy several times however this is a limited supply of “correct” sand to use in it. Tamina steals it back, then Dastan gets a hold of it again, etc. back and forth.

Along the way they encounter Sheik Amar (Molina), an entrepreneur of sorts who runs a city of cutthroat thieves. Their main source of entertainment is ostrich racing. Realizing Dastan and Tamina have a heavy bounty on their heads Amar and his company continues tracking them after they make it out of the city.
And let’s not forget about the real “man behind the curtain”: Nazim. The story of how Nazim saved Sharaman is a pivotal point to the entire movie (and I won’t give it away) but that, and the sands of time, put the entire future of the kingdom into jeopardy. Just sayin’

So, how is the movie? Well, there’s action, adventure, and enough PG-13 violence to go around for a while. I was actually surprised that Disney would show people sword-fighting, getting stuck by arrows, etc. But, maybe it’s a new Disney. I’m not complaining mind you and if “The Black Hole” is any indication of where Disney can go as far as the elements of story, then “PoP” is pretty tame by comparison.

Gyllenhaal has his workout cut-out for him as he jumps, slides, runs, scrambles, fights, punches, kicks, runs up walls, across roofs, ducks, dives, dodges, and whatever other action-verbiage I can’t think up right now. Honestly, it really does seem at times as if he’s in the video game. A few times I wanted to bust out my invisible controller and keep punching the buttons.

Again, it’s not bad. Watchable. Enjoyable even. Someone called it “cheesy” and I disagree; it’s limited by being what it is –a video game movie. I can’t expect Shakespeare out of it anymore than I can expect the same from a superhero movie. There are going to be parts exactly like a video game and yes, it’s largely plotless.
Gemma Arterton (last seen in “Quantum of Solace”) is beautiful and plays her part well. Alfred Molina seems to be having some fun with his role. And should you ever find yourself in a movie in which Ben Kingsley is in it with you, chances are he’s the bad guy.

My grade: B-

Chas Andrews is a freelance writer, blogger, movie critic, what-have-you. Check out his hardboiled crime tale, The Big Adios, at http://aidencobb.blogspot.com

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27
Nov
09

Movie News and Views November 27, 2009 Trailer Edition

“Edge of Darkness” – Mel Gibson is a cop whose daughter’s death is cover-up by the government. He teams with a hit man (Ray Winstone) and sets out to avenge her death. Opens January 29, 2010

“Dear John” – Channing Tatum is a young soldier who, one summer, falls for Amanda Seyfried. The write each other over the next seven years as he takes increasingly dangerous missions. Opens February 5, 2010

“Remember Me” – “Twilight” brooder Robert Pattinson and Emilie de Ravin in a story about two people who fall in love amidst their family tragedies. Also stars Pierce Brosnan and Chris Cooper. Opens March 12, 2010

“Clash of the Titans” – Sam Worthington, Gemma Arterton, Ralph Fiennes, and Liam Neeson star in this remake of the 80’s tribute to Ray Harryhausen and Greek mythology. Opens March 26, 2010

“How to Train Your Dragon” – Based on the Cressida Cowell children’s book about a Viking kid who adopts a scrawny, toothless dragon. Opens March 26, 2010

“Babies” – The babies are coming! Documentary tracking four babies from different spots around the world from birth to their first steps. Opens April 16, 2010

“Kick-Ass” – Based on the Marvel Comic about a high school dweeb who decides to become a superhero despite the fact that he has no special powers or abilities. Trouble arises when he meets real bad guys with real bullets. Opens April 16, 2010

“Date Night” – Steve Carell and Tina Fey are the Fosters, a married couple with little private time. They schedule a “date night” and upon taking someone else’s dinner reservations find themselves mixed-up with the wrong people. Also stars James Franco, Mila Kunis, and Mark Wahlberg. Opens April 9, 2010

“Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” – Jake Gyllenhaal plays the title character in a movie based on the popular video game. Also stars Gemma Arterton, Alfred Molina, and Ben Kingsley. Opens May 28, 2010

“Grown Ups” – Adam Sandler, David Spade, Kevin James, Chris Rock, and Rob Schneider in a comedy about a group of friends coming together years later. Opens June 25, 2010

“Despicable Me” – Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) is the World’s #2 Supervillain with dreams of world domination and stealing the moon. His plans are interrupted when he meets three orphaned girls who look up to him to be a potential dad. Also starring the voices of Jason Segel, Will Arnett, Kristen Wiig, and Danny McBride. Opens July 9, 2010

“The Expendables” – Sly Stallone and Company are mercenaries on a mission to overthrow a South American dictator. Also stars Mickey Rourke, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Brittany Murphy, Dolph Lundgren, Steve Austin, and Bruce Willis. I’ve also heard that Ah-nuld is in it… Opens August 20, 2010