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Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)

September 7, 2010

3/10 Street Rats

Well, at least the game is awesome.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is about an orphan with a sense for justice who gets adopted by a king and grows up to be a daredevil with the ability to single-handedly ransack and overthrow kingdoms by running over rooftops and doing lots of backflips. For all intents and purposes, life is good, he’s the man, but then someone up and frames him for his father’s murder and screws it all up big time. So he peaces out in no time flat before he finds himself on the wrong end of a scimitar and then makes it his number one priority to clear his name with the help of a princess and a nifty dagger that can turn back time.

It’s based off a video game of the same name, and that right there should probably be enough of a warning as to why this movie blows. Now, there are a lot of problems here, all of which I’ll get to in due time, but the big question I kept asking myself throughout this entire experience was “Why in the hell this was even made in the first place?” The problem isn’t the game, because the game kicks ass, but since there are so many good games out there that actually have stories and aren’t considered to be classics just because it’s fun to solve puzzles by jumping, it’s almost painful as to why this of all things games got the green light. It’s just that there was never really any potential to begin with, it’s all just eye candy and that’s what’s been the problem with these kinds of movies all along.

I mean, come on, that’s why Doom sucked, that’s why Super Mario Bros. sucked, that’s why Mortal Kombat sucked (even though the upcoming reboot could totally change that), and that’s why I cry myself to sleep at night. I said it once and I’ll say it again: someone please, for the love of God, make a movie or HBO mini-series of Metal Gear Solid. Really, what is the holdup?

Alright, angry nerd rant over. Back to everything else.

Well, I guess the first eyebrow-raiser is probably why there are so many white people in this movie. Your guess is as good as mine, but Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton look about as Iranian as my red-haired Irish grandmother and I don’t know who Jerry Bruckheimer thought he was fooling with that one. I don’t know if I’d call it racist, but “stupid” definitely seems to fit the bill, and it’d be one thing if these two were effing amazing as Prince Dastan and Princess Tamina, but that ain’t happenin’ either. Really too bad being that I like Gyllenhaal, but whatever, this one’s beyond me.

But the other big snafu that’s bad from the start and even worse at the finish is this awful fucking script. That it’s even attempting to make a compelling revenge/love story and not trying to make this nothing short of two hours packed to the brim with more parkour than you can shake a stick at is the real dealbreaker, but everything from the insanely weak dialogue to the bizarre inclusion of ostrich racing as a plot development to a twist that you’ll totally see coming as long as you’ve watched a movie before to characters that no one in their right mind could possibly give a shit about truly makes for a perfect storm of horrendous penmanship. All I’m saying is that we as a people who work hard for those 12 bucks – and not just us angry nerds – deserve a hell of a lot better than this. I’m just thankful I saw it on a plane.

I guess the only real reason to see this movie is for the action, which wasn’t bad for a while there, but there’s nowhere near enough of it and it’s hard to find acrobatics cool when the guy doing them is clearly attached to strings or being, you know, computer generated. If this were anything like one minute of what made District B13 so badass, I’m thinking it might have even reached a 5, but as is, you’re probably better off just learning how to backflip into a pool or picking up an XBOX. Actually, I can’t even think of a reason to see this movie. Harsh, but true.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is entertaining to a degree for the first half-hour or so, but as a whole it’s doing absolutely nothing to convince mankind that video games actually have something to offer outside of how they melt your brain and keep your kids from going outdoors. Just really shitty on every front and I have no idea how Ben Kingsley and Aflred Molina got roped into this, too. Such a shame.

Also can’t believe that they actually made Gyllenhaal wear this crap on his head for a while either. Not a good look.

25 Comments leave one →
  1. September 7, 2010 4:32 am

    Good shout on everyone in PERSIA being Engligh/American – same as the last airBENDER I guess. For me this was essentially The Lion King but with people, and far, far, far too much GCI.

    Conclusion Disney films are shit and most computer game films are shit. (Although Hitman was alright, MK film looks good and TEKKEN film looks decent too!)

    • September 7, 2010 8:32 am

      Yeah, I heard about The Last Airbender casting issues as well, very strange. Disney really has lost their touch over the years since The Lion King came and went, but if it weren’t for Disney, Pixar wouldn’t be around, so they’re still alright in my book. And as for Hitman and Tekken, I’ll get back to you, but the new MK does look pretty fucking boss.

    • September 7, 2010 11:19 am

      Out of curiosity, I went to see “The Last Airbender” – I got through the first 10 minutes of it, before leaving and slyly shuffling into “Salt” next door, just before it started. T.L.A. was far worse than Prince of Persia, but was on a par with I Love You, Beth Cooper 🙂
      I’m starting to lose faith in Jackson Rathbone after S. Darko and now this Airbender folderol.

      • September 7, 2010 11:25 am

        I don’t blame you, no way was I gonna get duped into that one. Can’t believe you had to sit through Beth Cooper and S. Darko, too. You’re quite the trooper. And never even heard of Rathbone up until this instant, but then again, Twilight ain’t exactly my bad either.

  2. September 7, 2010 7:45 am

    I don’t know. I thought it was alright! I mean, the action was sweet, in my opinion, and the acting wasn’t atrocious! Compared to other movies based on video games, this one is far and away the best! I had a good time, but, I saw it in theaters! In my view, you can never base a film on the version shown on the plane, no matter how little of it has changed! But, I guess you feel differently!

    Anyway, I thought it was fun! It defied my expectations, and didn’t suck! I could live with that!

    And yeah, the game is fucking amazing! I broke my PS2 playing SANDS OF TIME over and over again! SOOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOODDD!

    • September 7, 2010 8:33 am

      haha, well at least we can agree on the game. only played through it once since I figured it wouldn’t be as fun on subsequent playthroughs knowing the puzzles ahead of time, but what an awesome game all the same. really wish the sequels could come somewhat close to matching it.

      • September 7, 2010 2:09 pm

        Eh, WARRIOR WITHIN’s emo route just wasn’t right, but TWO THRONES was pretty bitchin’! But, the two on the current gen consoles just did not do it for me!

      • September 7, 2010 2:14 pm

        Haven’t played ’em but that’s what I heard. Last one I played was Warrior Within, still waiting for a new take on the series though.

  3. September 7, 2010 9:55 am

    The game was fun, but this just relied too much on story, which on some cases is alright, but it just gets too slow. The action is good, but at times, it just seems too much like a video game. A huge popcorn flick none the less. Nice Review!

    • September 7, 2010 9:58 am

      Thanks, man, and you’re spot on about the story, which was an awfully strange call. Popcorn flick is right.

  4. September 7, 2010 4:22 pm

    Oh dear, oh dear! It sounds to me like a very painful couple of hours.

  5. Claudio Ramos permalink
    September 9, 2010 3:41 pm

    Visualicé para pasar un rato de entretenimiento junto a mi novia la película “Príncipe de Persia: Las arenas del tiempo” de Mike Newell, director de películas como “El amor en los tiempos de Cólera” (2007) , “La sonrisa de Mona Lisa” (2003), “Cuatro Bodas y un funeral” (1993) y “El despertar” (1980) entre otras, y aunque no soy fanático del actual juego en el cual se basó el film observo una película de aventuras vacía y por momentos absurda y rutinaria. En el cual hay situaciones en el transcurso de la película que se resuelven de forma banal. Mientras observaba la película, me preguntaba: “No fue posible haber considerado con anterioridad del rodaje alguna vuelta de tuerca para enriquecer en lo que sea posible esta paupérrima obra cinematográfica y quitar pasajes de la historia que no tienen sentido?. No divierte, no entretiene y lamenté el tiempo que perdí en verla.

  6. September 14, 2010 1:51 pm

    Your tagline for this post sums it up completely! I laughed out loud when I read that! It came out on blu-ray today and I wonder how it’s sales will do! I, though, was glad that at least Alfred Molina was in it as a welcome comic relief.

    • September 14, 2010 3:59 pm

      I’m thinking this’ll do alright for itself, pretty sure it’s the most financially successful video game adaptation to date. Alfred Molina deserves better, he’s dope.

  7. Mark Nuttall permalink
    September 16, 2010 4:24 pm

    To answer your opening question of why was this made, I’m guessing Disney and Bruckheimer thought they saw another Pirates-esque franchise here. Too bad they blew it big time eh?

    The script just ISN’T THERE. Arterton and Gyllenhaal – who I’d say can both certainly act based on previous form – don’t do themselves any favours either though. They delvier lines with zero passion or conviction, it was like watching a school play – a bad one too. Gyllenhaal’s character isn’t remotely likeable (I almost broke my hand punching his smug face on my LCD), there’s zero chemistry…jeez, I’m getting pissed just writing about it.

    And the action just doesn’t work for me. It’s disjointed, there’s no tension, they seem to be fighting over very little sometimes (back to the script here again, sorry!) and it’s poorly paced.

    Sorry, my comments turned in to something nearly as long as your review! You’ve been mighty kind giving this a 3 I’d say, stick another one of those bad boys on to A-Team and knock this down to 2 😉

    ps. Any ideas why the cut-throat knife-throwing murderer decides to become a saintly hero??? Anyone???? Man this movie blows….

    Oh, and the games are ace. Apart from Warrior Within. That was a bit turd…

    • September 17, 2010 9:27 am

      Wholeheartedly agree with all those points about this shitty mess.

      And as for the cut-throat knife-throwing murderer with a heart of gold? Your guess is as good as mine.

      And I’ve actually only played Sands of Time, the original 2D version (which is still great) and Warrior Within (which, you’re right, wasn’t really anything to write home about).

  8. September 22, 2010 2:00 am

    Hey, at least Molina was pretty funny in his five minutes of screen time. That guy classes up every joint he’s in, if only for the time he’s onscreen, but whatever. Wish I could say the same for Kinglsey, but he’s just boring and generic here.

    • September 22, 2010 10:16 am

      Wish I could give Molina the same props here, but as much as I like him, he had nothing to work with and neither did Kingsley. Fuck this movie.

  9. Greystone permalink
    November 15, 2010 4:21 am

    To the creator of this article, people like YOU piss me off THE MOST.


    3. Jerry Bruckheimer = CINEMATIC and TV GENIUS. Look at ALL he’s accomplished, compared to YOU.
    4. This movie MADE ME PLAY THE GAME I had ignored YEARS ago.

    To the creator of this article, honestly SHUT THE FUCK UP. This honestly was better than WELL over HALF the movies I saw put out in the SAME Goddamned YEAR.

    • November 15, 2010 8:42 am

      As much as I’d love to debate whether or not this movie blows with someone who has a Dragon Ball Z reference in their email address, something tells me I should probably take the high road on this one. But alas, I’ll address the bullet points:

      1. Shohreh Aghdashloo – Oscar nominated actress for The House of Sand and Fog. Might not be well known, but the point is that white people don’t look Persian.
      2. Can’t think of a single one. But the point is that white people don’t look Persian.
      4. Sorry it took this movie for you to realize how great the game was. Hope you liked it.

      Love you too, man. Thanks for visiting!

  10. Greystone permalink
    November 15, 2010 4:26 am

    oh and 5. HE DID NOT wear EXACTLY what you depicted in that picture link from the Prince of Persia 360/PS3/PC game, it was a basic Arabian “sandhat”, as I’ve called it since I was a kid.

    • November 15, 2010 8:44 am

      “Sandhat?” Something tells me that’s not what the natives call it. And, unfortunately, that mess of rags from the game is exactly what he wore for a bit in the movie. Come on, how are you possibly denying that?


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