By JENNIFER CHAN
I have never played Prince of Persia. Not on MS-DOS, Sega, Dreamcast or even PS2. However, that didn’t stop me from watching the recently released movie version of it. And that shouldn’t stop the rest of you from doing so either. After all, Disney and Director Mike Newell’s adaptation of the video game is hardly loyal to the original.
Prince of Persia: Sands of Time stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Prince Dastan, the street rat who was adopted by King Sharaman (Ronald Pickup) as a child. He grew up with brothers Tus (Richard Coyle) and Garsiv (Toby Kebbell) and had been quite content with his life and the occasional tussle in the streets when a trip to the Holy City of Alamut changes everything.
There, he meets Princess Tamina (played by Gemma Arterton) and gets a hold of the Dagger of Time which pretty much does as its name suggests. And that’s when the trouble starts, really. Dastan becomes accused of murder and now he must find a way to prove his innocence—an almost impossible mission considering everyone in Persia and beyond is on a manhunt for the young prince. Add tax evaders, Hassansins and a lot of sand to the mix and you’ve got yourself a fantasy adventure.
As to be expected from a Hollywood movie, the whole thing is designed to entertain and to make money. Aside from a couple of kindergarten lessons about right and wrong and a kick from seeing the game come to life, there’s no deeper meaning to Prince of Persia so don’t go looking for it. After all, it’s based on a video game franchise that started in 1989 (with Ubisoft creating Prince of Persia: Sands of Time in 2003) so everyone was more concerned about developing and expanding the original storyline while still keeping the spirit of the game alive than anything else.
Of course, Gyllenhaal is obviously no Persian and many of the actors are British but then again, you don’t always have to hire an actual pilot when the script needs one, do you? Actors are actors for a reason. So enjoy the thrill of the adventure, the fight scenes and the comic reliefs because that is exactly what the movie wanted to achieve.
And c’mon! You’ve got to enjoy Gyllenhaal’s character in the movie. The rogue prince is witty, funny, strong and doesn’t back down from an argument with the opposite sex (gasp!). He’s hardly the type who takes himself seriously (which is why perhaps everyone needs to loosen up as well).
Speaking of seriousness, Prince of Persia is seriously lacking in powerful enemies. The brains behind the whole framing incident fails to match Dastan’s vivacity and the Hassansins could have put on a better game face. They’re quite the efficient workers but I wish they were given more opportunities to show off. Everyone deserves their moment in the spotlight, even snake-faced assassins. Quite frankly, Seso (Steve Toussaint), the knife thrower under Sheik Amar’s employ, went a little too unnoticed as well.
Overall, Prince of Persia did what it set out to do but it could have had more intense and spine-tingling scenes. Whether the story would have another chance at it though still remains to be seen. (Bulatlat.com)