Review of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

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Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton star in this action adventure film from Disney. Set in the mystical lands of Persia, an adopted prince named Dastan (Gyllenhaal) is framed for his father’s murder and goes on the lam, taking only a princess (Arterton) and an ancient dagger with him. Eventually he realizes that the dagger has special powers in that it's able to reverse the flow of time. Together the prince and princess must work to clear Dastan's name and reveal the true identity of his father's murderer.
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Movie Review: "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time"

-- Rating: PG-13 (Intense sequences of violence and action)
Length: 116 minutes
Release Date: May 28, 2010
Directed by: Mike Newell
Genre: Action, Adventure, & Fantasy

In the "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time," a princess and a fugitive band together to stop a villain who is determined to destroy the world. The movie was written by a quartet of writers: Boaz Yakin, Carlo Bernad, Doug Miro, and Jordan Mechner. It was directed by Mike Newel and based on a video game of the same name that is part of a trilogy also containing "Prince of Persia: Warrior Within" and "Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones." The movie "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" contains elements from all the video games in the trilogy.

The movie begins with plans to attack the scared city of Alamut. Leading the attack plan is Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal), an orphan who was adopted by King Sharaman (Ronald Pickup) of the Persian Empire. He is assisted by his adoptive brothers Garsiv (Toby Kebbel) and Tus (Richard Coyle), as well as his uncle Nizam (Ben Kingsley). The attack is fueled by the belief that the city is selling arms to the enemies of Persia. When the warriors invade the city, Dastan gets his hands on a magic dagger that can reverse time. It is this dagger that leads the princess of Alamut, Tamina (Gemma Arterton), to marry Tus in order to bring peace between the warring factions.

This attack marks the start of a wicked plot of treachery and conspiracy. The conflict generally revolves around the mystical dagger and the great power it can unleash. The dagger makes time-travel possible and can also destroy the world. The movie plotline revolves around an evil plan to use the dagger while Dastan and the female lead attempt to prevent the destruction of the world.

Hollywood has been experimenting with game-to-film adaptations for some time now, with varied success. Examples of this category of movies include "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider," "Resident Evil," "Super Mario Bros," "Mortal Kombat," and others. What appears to separate good adaptions from bad ones is the time, budget, and dedication involved in the production.

"Prince of Persia: Sands of Time" is certainly an entertaining watch. Sitting back to watch the movie is like reliving the adventures of the characters as they unfold in the historical empire of Persia. The Persian shaman is mysterious, the palace is extremely intriguing, and one gets the feeling that the only thing in the kingdom that is honest and true is the royal romance.

The film has a stellar cast that contributes a lot to its success. Kingsley, for example, could easily have played a shadowy Nizam (the king's brother), but he comes out as very dominant in the movie. Gyllenhaal portrays the Prince of Persia as very acrobatic and playful. Even the lovely Oriental Arterton manages to add substance to her sexy character. All the cast members appear to have given their best efforts to this film.

"Prince of Persia: Sands of Time" is a solid adventure movie with breathtaking visual effects. Most of the backdrops are spectacular, and the environments in which the action takes place were crafted with an Arabic feel that is very convincing.

All the major cast members have appeared in noteworthy films in the past. Gyllenhaal starred in "Zodiac" and "The Day After Tomorrow," Pickup had a role in "Sherlock Holmes," and Coyle starred alongside Johnny Depp in "The Libertine." The talented English actor, Kebbell, also has his "RocknRolla," and Arterton was the dazzling Bond girl in "Quantum of Solace."

The "Prince of Persia: Sands of Time" is certainly a well made movie. The producer, Jerry Bruckheimer, has been involved in the production of some of the most successful movies in Hollywood. His works, which mostly fall in the drama, action, and science fiction genres, include the television series "Without a Trace," "Cold Case," and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation." He also produced the films "Pearl Harbor," "Enemy of the State," "Top Gun," and many other award winning movies.

After watching the movie, it suffices to say that while it has numerous action scenes, the sexual content is limited. Sexuality is only exhibited in the movie in some form of harmless flirting, a few kisses, and occasional touching. Even the violence is not elevated to the gory levels viewers often witness in comparable films. It seems as if honor is elevated above all else in the "Prince of Persia: Sands of Time." So the question is, what kinds of sacrifices will the honorable Dastan be willing to make to save the Persian Empire?

3 out of 5 stars