Saturday, October 2, 2010

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

This was, without question, the best film I've ever seen that was adapted from a videogame. Of course, that doesn't really mean all that much since every other movie that's been adapted from a videogame was terrible. Prince of Persia wasn't all that great, but it certainly wasn't terrible. The highest praise I can give Prince of Persia is that it failed in all of the normal ways that makes a movie mediocre, instead of in all of the ways that made Mario Brothers or Mortal Kombat 2 so god awful. Anyway, I liked it ok.

I honestly don't think I've played a Prince of Persia game since the original came out on the Nintendo Entertainment System. I remember that game for being incredibly frustrating and annoying and completely unfun to plat, but it definitely had some beautiful animation, lots of jumping, and a bit of swordplay. This movie was also beautiful to look at, had lots of jumping, and a bit of swordplay. It's fair to say that this is probably a very faithful adaptation, as far as these things go. Although, had it been released as an Assassin's Quest movie, I wouldn't have noticed any real difference. But at least it didn't have Dennis Hopper as a dinosaur or JEan Claude Van Damme as an American special forces fighter.

That isn't to say the story was perfectly done or all that well told. It was actually way too convoluted, crammed with pointless stuff, and hard to follow. And if anybody understand what actually went down in that big finale, clue me in. That went over my head or I wasn't paying attention or something. It's a big, epic film about rival kingdoms going to war, infighting among a family for power over the throne, the framing of the prince for a murder he didn't commit, then there was some nonsense about a protecting the guardian of some dagger that controls time, but really keeps back the forces of the gods from destroying the entire Earth. Huh? Too much. The dagger that sends people back through time was a neat visual gimmick, and it probably added a level of strategy to the videogames (if, in fact, it was ever even in any of the games), but it added nothing to the film and just made things that much more bloated and confusing. This shouldn't just been Prince of Persia, no Sands of Time.

Also, this movie alternated between looking great and having cool sets, to looking incredibly cheap and just bad. The budget was reportedly $200,000,000, but I can't for the life of me figure out where it all went. Many scenes just look like a few characters standing around in front of a green screen, with really bad cgi backgrounds thrown in later. And most of the CG shots are really, really poor. But the wardrobes were nice and some of the location shooting was quite well done. But where did all that money go?

Maybe the money went to the cast. At least, I hope it did, because even though there aren't any huge stars, they were all really great, charismatic, and fun to watch. Basically, if there's any real reason to watch this movie, it's to see such fun performances by people like Alfred Molina, Ben Kingsley, and Richard Coyle, who was absolutely awesome as the newly crowned king of persia. I also really like Jake Gyllenhaal, who is just a really good actor and a great looking kid. He's always fun and interesting to watch, and he did a good job carrying this movie. And Gemma Arteton is just a very beautiful woman who is well suited to playing ephemeral goddess and persian princesses.

So I liked it. I enjoyed the performances by the actors, thought the action set pieces were exciting and well done, and even mostly liked what little of the story I actually thought made sense. I guess the secret Hollywood has figured out is that you can get a good movie based on a videogame, so long as that videogame wasn't all that fun to play in the first place.


Justin Garrett Blum said...

On a scale of 1 to 10, how gay was this movie?

Donald said...

On a scale where 1 is Terminator 2 and 10 is Long Time Companion, I guess I'd give it about a 5.5.