Review: ‘Prince of Persia’

Friday, May 28 by

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
PG-13, 116m., 2010
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley and Alfred Molina
Directed by Mike Newell
Screenplay by Boaz Yakin, Doug Miro and Carlo Bernard based upon the video game created by Jordan Mechner
 
Jake Gyllenhaal and the cast of the Royal Shakespeare company imprison themselves in a horrible sandstorm of a movie in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.
 
Mega-Producer Jerry Bruckheimer brings us another one of his lackluster epic adventures, this time adapted from the popular 1989 video game of the same name, where a young street kid turned warrior named Dastan, (ah-hem “Destiny” get it?) played by Gyllenhaal, in taken into the world of kings, golden robes and military raids, where he is the chosen son of Persia, until his father is killed in a coup-de’ta by his brother Nazim (Ben Kingsley, at his evil-pointed beard worst) for a special sand sword that can turn back time, beheld by Princess Taima (Gemma Arterton).
 
From there the plot, or lack of one, in Prince of Persia makes you wish that the Sand of Time Sword can give you the two hours back. The chemistry between leads Gyllenhaal and Arterton disappears in the wind as the CGI sands and palaces become straining on the eyes.
 
Gyllenhaa,l laced with black eyeliner and straggled hair, join the league of  actors, included Colin Farrell, Brad Pitt, Jared Leto, Eric Bana, who starred in disappointing sword and sandal epics. Gyllenhaal is too good for this kind of movie, where his awkwardly weighted shoulders and deer in the headlights expression cannot surpass the dull adventurous hero character of Dastan.
 
Alfred Molina’s mischievous grin and Arterton’s heaving tanned chest are the only things to clear the sand from your eyes and make this piece of dreck watchable. Molina playing Sheik Amar, a half Jack Sparrow/half desert  bubbling conman, has much humor and character interest to spare. Producer Bruckheimer interjects his current tea partier slant into this character, and Amar spits and howls about the country’s high taxes, which no matter what your personal politics will make you have a good belly laugh or two.
 
As for Arterton’s heaving tanned chest: this is where her talent lies for this movie. With Quantum of Solace and this performance, the model turned actress shows to be good British eye candy for an audience of teenage males, but is yet to be determined as a strong Keira Knightley or Kate Winslet type of a actress.
 
Director Mike Newell of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Donnie Brasco fame, directs this movie as a director for hire job. The action and  scenes of sparse dialogue have no consistency or energy. Newell seems to have let producer Bruckheimer take over the movie and give it his standard wham-bam-thank-you-mama style of shooting, editing and overblown special effects.
 
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
is one of the worst summer going experiences to hit the big screen since Terminator: Salvation.
 
Grade: D-