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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Review: Prince of Persia (A Fun movie that knows what it's supposed to be)

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

The Premise
"Set in the mystical lands of Persia, a rogue prince and a mysterious princess race against dark forces to safeguard an ancient weapon 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 is based on the popular video game series of the same name, that has been published since 1989. The game series actually has a lot of different storylines spanning across different episodes of the game. This motion picture is loosely adapted from the "Sands of Time" storyline.

The Promise
Movies based on video games, cartoons or comics are something to be wary of. For video games, in particular, the writer is usually after duration. Just filling in as much "plot" as possible to string together the action within the game. No story is too cheesy, no plot direction is too cliche', as long as the action keeps going, the player is happy. Well, luckily, that also seems to be the popular formula now for the summer blockbuster movie! And it doesn't sound too bad. Not everyone is after deep drama or intellectual enlightenment every time they enter the theater. Good mindless fun is also welcome now and then (or a lot, basing on the box office). The problems for these "Action/Fantasy blockbusters"usually occur during the translation to cinema. Either the director, the writers, or the producers forget what they are doing in the first place, and end up with a mishmash of direction. Sometimes you get winners (like the Dark Knight), and more often you get the usual hackneyed work.

The Result
Midway through Prince of Persia, i was able to think of about half a dozen cliche endings that the story could be leading to..but to give credit to the movie, I couldn't pinpoint which one it would end with up until the last few minutes. So yes, it does serve up a cliche' story, but at least it doesn't serve it all up right away, and gives you an entertaining show in the meantime.

Director Mike Newell takes the helm on this one. His last big budget motion picture was "Harry Potter and the Goblet of fire", which I consider to be one of the better ones in the series primarily because of its action-based pacing. He applies that same action-driven style in Prince of Persia. The actors performances were decent, not taking the story too seriously. It looked like they were having fun along the way too. The main stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton take the lead in progressing the movie, with a good mix of urgency and levity. While Ben Kingsley adds some seriousness to the film, Alfred Molina provides the much needed humor breaks in between. 
There is not a lot more to be said about the plot. You will forget about this movie in 1 week, but at least you enjoyed much of the 1 hour & 55 minutes it took you to watch it.

Why Watch it
You're bored, and just want to go out and watch a fun action/fantasy movie. Or you and your friends have nothing better to do, and want to be entertained at the movies. If you like Arabian or Persian fantasy (i.e. Sinbad, 1001 Arabian nights), along with it's locales and culture, this would also interest you.

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