PRINCE OF PERSIA: SANDS OF TIME movie review

by Rick Grant
Based on a video game, this film could be called Indiana Jones with Swords. Director, Mike Newell’s overblown interpretation of video game/screenwriter Jordan Lechner’s script assumes that the viewers of this film have the mental capacity of 12 year old boys.
Well kiddies, it’s not about the dialogue, which is sophomoric at best. It’s about buff hero Prince of Persia, Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) running around like crazy, jumping off buildings and engaging in endless sword fights with hordes of bad guys, dragging along a spiritual princess, Tamina (Gemma Arterton) to glory.
The story is right out The Arabian Nights adventure movies. Ben Kingsley portrays the evil scheming court adviser, Nizam. There is a supernatural subplot about a magical dagger he’s after that can turn back time.
As the action goes on continuously, mature viewers will remember the Errol Flynn movies with the dashing pirate swinging his sword, dispatching his enemies and romancing the beautiful wenches at the island watering hole.
Newell’s total lack of subtlety leads to massive FX overkill. If he needed two scenes of action, he quadrupled it and had ten action scenes pieced together with Dastan looking more like Superman with his hairy chest showing.
The cheeky interaction between Tamina and Dastan as they wander out into the vast desert is an old movie cliche, in which the woman played hard to get, pretending to not like her potential lover, which built up the sexual tension. Then, when the Big Kiss happens, it’s orgasmic in scope.
Gemma Arterton, who played Strawberry Fields in the Bond film, Quantum of Solace is a fine actress who seems out of her element in the middle of the sword fighting action. Her everyday woman look is appealing to viewers used to actresses who use their beauty to offset their lack of acting skill.
It’s a fairytale with enough sword clashing and fight scenes to satisfy any 12 year old video game junkie.

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october, 2021

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