SquareTSR

Hi.

This is Jeff Bayer, and I don't update this site very often. If you'd like to listen to my current movie podcast you can find it at MovieBS.com.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Directed by: Mike Newell Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina Running Time: 1 hr 43 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: May 28, 2010

PLOT: Based on the popular video game, a rogue prince (Gyllenhaal) is set up for a crime, and must reluctantly join forces with a princess (Arterton) to stop an evil force from getting their hands on a mystical dagger that posses the ability to control time.

WHO'S IT FOR? I'd say this is for your basic, run of the mill action/adventure fans with fairly mild expectations. You obviously don't need to have played the video game to understand the story.

EXPECTATIONS: While I did enjoy playing the video game on my GameCube, I didn't expect that to translate to movie magic. After all, Tomb Raider and Resident Evil didn't sparkle on the big screen.

SCORECARD (0-10)

ACTORS:

Jake Gyllenhaal as Dastan: Hmm... while he clearly got into shape for the role, and the hair wasn't a distraction ... I never really felt compelled to follow him on this adventure. Dastan stands for all things good, which is odd that people seem to think he really did kill this other good guy. Simple question to that ... why? Why would he? I just wanted more jumping and running on top of buildings. Score: 5

Gemma Arterton as Tamina: Tamina talks in such a proper, prolonged manner that whenever she gets going, I tune out. Every other character spends the movie telling her how beautiful she is, but there's nothing amusing or fun about that. Worst of all, no spark between Tamina and Dastan until death is on the line, and then it's short lived. Score: 4

Ben Kingsley as Nizam: Sir Ben is boring. Being the brother of the King means picking and choosing when and where you have influence. Once Nizam's plan comes into full view, it seems really, really elaborate. Plus, how does he know about all of these ancient, magical things? Score: 4

Alfred Molina as Sheik Amar: Wow. Talk about comic relief. I wouldn't have been surprised if Amar would have popped on a fake nose and added an exploding cigar to eek out the potential for more laughs. His hatred of taxes, and love of ostriches helps the time go by a little faster. Score: 5

TALKING: There is no spark between Tamina and Dastan, so the basic, flirtation dialogue between the two just doesn't work. As I said above, Amar pushes the limit, but is kind of amusing. The worst part is, supposedly this is one big happy family of brothers, but they barely seem to know or care about each other. Score: 4

SIGHTS: Seeing Dastan try to brainstorm is great, but not really used after the beginning. By the way, that's also borrowed from the video game with good effect. The visuals are a little bit better than The Mummy, but any time a movie makes you think about The Mummy, then it's not doing a good enough job. Score: 7

SOUNDS: It's exactly what you would expect. The sound effects push the limits of volume with the whips cracking and the arrows flying. The film ends with an Alanis Morrisette song. I really don't know what to make of that. The film's score is very similar to Sex in the City 2 when the girls are in Abu Dhabi. I guess when deserts are involved there's really only one choice. Score: 5

PLOT SPOILERS

BEST SCENE: While some of the roof top chases are fun, the best action is the first we see with the adult Dastan. He's got to get up a castle wall, so he has his fellow soldiers create an arrow ladder which he quickly climbs up.

ENDING: For a little while, I thought it was going to go a little dark, and I was excited. But in the most basic, Disney-like fashion, it turned into a very typcial, happy ending.

QUESTIONS: The video game has a good story. Why put so much effort into changing it? This is more of a shout-out than a question, but Nick Allen ... didn't you like the font in this movie? Much better than Avatar, right?

REWATCHABILITY: Some of the action sequences will catch my eye if I come across this movie on cable, but otherwise I won't be going out of my way to see this again. It does have me considering firing up the GameCube game for another adventure.

OVERALL

There's just know "wow" factor with this movie. There's a "cool" factor but it's only few and far between. With that said, it's still one of the best video game adaptations out there. Gyllenhaal and his stunt double do some pretty good parkour on the building tops. Unfortunately, the story is a little too muddled and confusing. There is also nothing between Dastan and Tamina except good looks. The movie starts with Dastan as a young boy who earns his way into the heart of the king, becoming his adopted son. Dastan already has his talents to scale walls and hop on ledges with the greatest of ease. Since that's the most interesting thing going for this movie, why isn't there a focus on this talent? Show us how he learned these skills, how he practices, etc. On the podcast Movie B.S. with Bayer and Snider we play a game called "Fixer and Defender." I have a plot fix that I am working on for this movie. Until then, I really don't plan on spending much time thinking about this film. It's forgettable. So now, allow me to be one of the thousands of critics to say something "clever" about this film. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time should use the mystical knife to travel back and make an interesting movie.

FINAL SCORE: 5/10

Sex and the City 2

The Thorn in the Heart (L'├ępine dans le coeur)