The dagger that is being pursued throughout the film has foretold powers of being able to slow down time and reverse the course of actions also has the ability to foretell the current climate of political ideologies in “Prince of Persia: Sands of Time.”
The movie goes back to the past in having the mighty Persian Empire invades Alamut, a holy city, based on faulty intelligence of weapons dealing to the empire’s adversaries. Leading the assault is Persian Prince Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal), a former orphan boy adopted by the streets from King Sharaman (Ronald Pickup).
Today Dastan is a man that shows no recluse in leading assaults on the city to ensure its capture. Where he shows no fear in risking his life for the greater good of the empire, he’s subdued by Princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton). Her eyes are on him, making him feel uncomfortable, because he has come into possession a sacred dagger that the city has been swore to protect as her responsibility as a high priestess.
With the death of the king, his brother Prince Garsiv (Toby Kebbell) is on the hunt for his Dastan who has become the likely suspect, while the other brother, Prince Tus (Richard Coyle), the apparent heir to the crown, remains in Alamut looking for weapons of mass destruction. Dastan escapes with the princess leading the way. From there, they make the journey for Dastan to clear his name, by attempting to convince his Uncle Nizam (Ben Kingsley) that he was setup.
In his journey, he meets future tea party member, Sheik Amar (Alfred Molina), a man who runs a profitable ostrich racetrack who doesn’t want to pay his taxes to support the Persian army’s offensive, roads and building. He devises theatrics and telling of stories to avoid paying his taxes as an entrepreneurial. However he is a man that has a penchant for his beloved ostriches, but money remains in the man’s heart as he agrees to help Dastan and Princess Tamina in their journey to return the dagger.
Along the way, there are action sequences which are sped up and slowed down in which Mr. Gyllenhaal is able to defy the laws of gravity as he leaps bounds from rooftop to rooftop while not bungee jumping off buildings. He does show some signs of being an action star in this video game adaptation as he does combat with the troops and knowing when it’s best to evade his captors.
Ms. Arterton, who previously dealt with the Roman gods in the recent revision of the “Clash of the Titans” deals with the Egyptian gods as the watcher of the dagger. The film show cases her appeals to the audience in the extravagant attires she wears first as a princess and then as a sex symbol desired by all those who gaze upon her. Ms. Arterton does show talent with her voice in narrating the lines used in the film’s trailer, but it becomes a gimmick that is used entirely to show their relationship. Once again, her appeal is to be the damsel in distress screaming for Dastan’s name whenever she’s in danger. When she’s not in danger, their love-hate relationship begins to evolve while making their trek across the Middle Eastern desert.
Despite the film taking place in that region, the main leads converse in English accents and do not look like their Persian characters they are to be portraying. But the film’s title is reflected throughout the film of the importance of Dastan being the prince of Persia and the concept of destiny plays an important role as each character must make their own choices when it comes to their fate. The ending of the film ties into this concept, and comes off as a disappoint after the audience invest time in watching this generic action film period piece only to have relive it once more.
DVD Features: Film & Disney movie, DVD trailers
Classification: New DVD Release
Grade: 2.5 stars out of 5 stars. The tale of a street orphan from the streets of the Middle East who goes on to win the heart of a beautiful princess was told better in the other Disney animated film “Aladdin.” While the action sequences sped up or slowed down does provide some interest of the film with its CGI, the film’s relationship between its leads is somewhat believable but unable to speed up the sands of time as it slowly trickles down in the hourglass.
Rating: PG 13 for intense sequences of violence and action.
Timing: 1 Hour, 56 Minutes Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
• Director: Mike Newell
• Screenplay: Boaz Yakin, Doug Miro, Carol Bernad
• Video Game Series and Screen Story: Jordan Mechner
• Actors: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina, Richard Coyle, Toby Kebbell and Richard Pickup.