Movie Review: Prince of Persia – The Sands of Time
Jack Gyllenhaal more than makes up for it! Rogue and buff but agile and versatile, he looks and acts the part of the dashing prince and romantic hero, Dastan. As Dastan, he dexterously climbs up castle walls, leaps through rooftops, squeezes into tight spaces, gallops on horses through the desert, bungee-jumps, sword-fights with the best of them, not to mention outwits and outcharms the rest. He is the quintessential “good guy” and a parkour master to boot (for those of you who are not familiar with parkour, I’d suggest watching “District B:13” starring real-life parkour founders).
As a street kid, he was adopted by the King of Persia, who was impressed by his good heart and bravery. After deftly devising a strategy to conquer Alamut, a staggered village-city suspected for harboring a “weapon of mass destruction” (a jab at the previous administration), the king ends up dead and he’s accused for the murder and going after the crown.
In order to save his life, he goes on the run from his royal brothers and the Persian army. Trying to clear his name, he and Princess Tamina (Gemma Arteton), the ruler of the conquered city and protector of the magical dagger, reluctantly end up on the rides of their lives together. (Anybody who possesses the dagger has the potential to rule the world because it could reverse time if the jewel atop the dagger is pressed.)
It was surprising that the movie was an adaptation of a video game. The story works well on the big screen because all the elements are there: fantasy, action, adventure, humor, romance. It’s a “logical” fantasy with a sense of realism in a sublime setting, complemented with spectacular special effects.
A heroic, dashing prince with a beautiful heroine — a spirited princess working together for the greater good. A villain with a familiar face and familial ties to the prince (Ben Kingsley), along with snake-equipped dark forces. A sarcastic, shady sheik (Alfred Molina) in the business of ostrich racing as a sidekick with his knife-thrower sidekick. The chemistry between Gyllenhaal and Arteton is incredible that the romantic bantering is believable. The way they challenge each other, fight with one another, and join forces together come as natural as their mutual attraction.
Exhilaratingly entertaining, PoP earns a fan who will be one of the first in line for (hopefully) the next installments of a trilogy.