on August 2, 2010
I don't know what movie one of the other reviewers saw, but it certainly wasn't the same one I saw. I thought it was excellent & no I am not a fangirl or fanboy, I have just been a movie buff my whole life. I thought Gyllenhaal did a great job considering he did most of his own stunts & looked very much like the PoP video game character. Plus he brought a lot of wit & charm to the character & there was quite a bit of chemistry between him & Gemma who was exquisitely beautiful, wonderful, & feisty as Tamina. My only problem with this movie is there won't be a sequel since the US did not embrace this movie like they did overseas. However, it was fun, exciting, had beautiful cinematography with the Moroccan landscapes & deserts. The only CGI special effects were the turn back time sequences, & a few other places with the sand glass. It had quite a few teaching moments too, which makes it a great family film & for kids of all ages to enjoy. Bruckheimer movies are always big budget flicks & it shows in every way. There definitely was no cutting corners here, you could really tell. One more thing I want to add is the Parkour stunts were beautifully choreographed, that was an excellent idea to get David Belle to teach Gyllenhaal the art of Parkour, so they looked real. FYI to you naysayers, there is such a thing as suspension of disbelief & a good imagination that one must have to thoroughly lose yourself in a fantasy type movie as this is so you can enjoy it for what it is, otherwise, you waste the whole movie thinking about the stunts & events in it are impossible & illogical.
on August 10, 2010
Even though this is not on Bluray/DVD yet, I am providing a quick review since it is already given a 3 star rating due to complaints about the original price tag (as seen, the price has dropped into the $20s where a normal Amazon Bluray first settles).
Anyway, if you love movies with an intriguing story, nonsensical action, a splurge of humor and an unyielding message, Prince of Persia is for you. In the mold of Bruckheimer, some things are not meant to be taken seriously, but I must commend him for making the best video game based movie I have ever witnessed.
The title Sands of Time, refers to the power of a magical dagger that can send its bearer a few seconds into the past to "change" the event that just occurred (similar to the weapon the Prince carries in the video game). The one who possesses this power can undo a previous action or even prevent themselves from just being killed. Without giving anything away, the story eventually unfolds to a darker danger to time itself if the dagger falls into the wrong hands.
Jake Gyllenhaal delivers as the happy-go-lucky Prince who comes of age to figure out the mystery of the dagger and attempt to stop those who threaten his family and the legacy of the kingdom. Gemma Arterton contrasts as the witty and beautiful Princess Tamina who stoutly serves as the hero's foil while herself experiencing a personality check as the movie progresses. Ben Kingsley is always a professional and the great Alfred Molina completely steals the show as Sheik Amar in his scenes!
One thing must also be said - DO NOT TAKE THE TRAILERS AND TV SPOTS AS THE MOVIE! As far as I am concerned, the Marketing Dept dropped the ball on this; creating a perception that this is a movie of mindless action and flirtatious banter between the stars ("Why can't you keep your eyes off of me???" nonsense). There are some hysterical moments between the Prince and Tamina, brilliant stunts (the Prince's action scenes are very close to what he would do in the video game), and a story that revolves around trust, hope and not giving up on the love of one's family.
If you loved Pirates of the Carribbean...this one will not dissapoint (In my opinion, it is certainly better than Dead Man's Chest and At Worlds End by a long shot!)
on August 3, 2010
Most of the time, when I read a review, I wonder if the person has any credibility that is writing the review (ie: do they see a lot of movies and have discretion or are they the occasional movie goer). I have been an avid fan of the film industry since I was a kid, and I own over 700 movies. There's my cred.
Do not listen to the crackpot at the bottom of the page. I have not only played every Prince of Persia game, but I was a serious doubter in the video game to film adaption of this (kept replaying the nightmare that was "Doom"). I was extremely surprised. I am not a Jake Gyllenhall fan, but I am a Bruckheimer fan. And, I am, for the most part, a Disney fan. Apparently the reviewer at the bottom cant accurately critique a Disney film, because he doesn't even appreciate what was "Pirates".
Prince of Persia delivers in every way imaginable, and reminded me why I loved going to the movies in the first place. Is Jake Leo DiCapprio in a Scorcese film? Of course not. Is the movie realistic? Of course not, its a DISNEY FANTASY MOVIE. If you think it should be realistic, then you are the reason for the "do not try this at home" warnings on TV that the rest of the known world finds insulting. Is the movie well acted? Absolutely, for the type of movie. Is the action in the movie sufficient? More than. Is the movie enjoyable? Hell yea! I had a blast. I loved the chemistry between Jake and Gemma, and thought Bruckheimer made a convincing and thoroughly thought through story for a game that really didn't have that thorough a plot line to begin with. Excellent score for Disney, and it would make a grand classic for the whole family if added to your collection. I can't wait for it to come out.
Before we begin: DO NOT READ AMAZON'S MOVIE DESCRIPTION! It gives away too much of the plot.
Now then: I don't hold out much hope for movies based on video games (or films involving Sir Ben Kingsley because of the many flops he's been in during the last decade+), but Prince of Persia (PoP) genuinely surprised me with its depth of characters, fantastic costume design, and entertainment value. I found myself totally immersed in the fiction and loved every moment of this film.
For non-gamers, there's no need to know anything about the games this film is based on. I played the first PoP as a middle school student (20 years ago.. yikes!) and barely remember the basic plot. All you need to know is that this is a fantasy action-adventure set in ancient Persia. It is about love (between a father and his sons, the bond between brothers, and the love of a man and a woman), loyalty, courage, friendship, and betrayal. This kind of story has been done many times, but it's done very well here by Disney, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, and director Mike Newell (Donnie Brasco,Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire).
It's a "sword and sandals" epic: fantastic costumes, lots of sword fights, horses, men in armor, a beautiful princess, and a mystical dagger. For the guys, there's the lovely Gemma Arterton, who plays the same kind of character/love interest as in Clash of the Titans. She is never difficult to look at. And for the ladies, a beefy Jake Gyllenhaal plays Prince Dastan, the adopted son of the King of Persia, a noble, wise, and just ruler. Dastan is later framed for the murder of his father and spends most of the movie running from his pursuers while trying to restore a sacred artifact to its rightful resting place. Along the way, he meets an cadre of unlikely friends. Though minor characters, they are very well-written and provide some of the film's best moments. I especially liked the gregarious sheikh, played by Alfred Molina (Dr. Octopus from Spider-Man 2) and his M'baka companion.
The sets, CG, and costume are all lavishly detailed and superbly designed. Everything looks wonderfully ancient and historically appropriate. The main characters all speak with British accents (and are British actors) though they're supposed to be Persian, but it works! Dastan has some really slick combat choreography. Parts of the film look like another video game, the more recent Assassin's Creed games, both because of the ancient Persian setting and the rooftop acrobatics. Add some super-duper bad-a** assassins and you've got good times here.
A light-hearted and fun movie, this is what summer is all about, with absolutely no WTF moments for me to complain about. Highly recommended.
on May 28, 2010
"Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" is an exceedingly simply story told amidst a wealth of complicated stunt work and impressive special effects, which is basically a fancy way of saying that it's thin on premise but an absolute pleasure to look at. That doesn't necessarily make it a bad movie, although it does prevent me from appreciating it as anything more than an action spectacle - exempting a few weak references to recent political events, which I'm sure the intended family audiences will not pick up on. To be fair, it is based on a video game, and video games generally don't go above and beyond the razzle-dazzle of their graphics or the cool maneuvers players use for the characters. And I admit that, as video game adaptations go, it's quite entertaining. A bit derivative perhaps, and certainly slow in gaining momentum, but in the end, it's still entertaining.
The setting is a fantastical representation of the sixth century Persian Empire, where vast stretches of desert separate kingdoms of flat rooftops and ornate palaces towering sky high. The protagonist is Prince Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal), drawn from elements of every Arabian archetype from Abu the Thief to Aladdin to Sinbad to Ali Baba; he was an orphaned street urchin before being adopted by King Sharaman (Ronald Pickup), who was impressed by his display of courage in the face of certain death. After fifteen years of loyalty and bravery, Dastan is framed by his wicked uncle Nizam (Ben Kingsley) for an exceptionally heinous crime, forcing him to make an acrobatic escape from the city. You know the kind of escape I'm talking about; it involves impossible stunts and a generous donation from the special effects department.
Why was Dastan framed? Here enters Princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton), whose peaceful kingdom was invaded by Sharaman's army on the belief that dangerous weapons were being concealed for sinister purposes. (Do I sense a connection to the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the fruitless search for WMDs?) Tamina is the keeper of the film's MacGuffin: The Dagger of Time, an ancient knife with magical sand swirling in its glass hilt. If the jewel atop the dagger is pressed, the person holding it has the power to travel back a full minute in time, which is apparently just long enough for key characters to reverse fateful decisions and change the course of history. Were such a thing real, I'd probably have lots of fun with it.
But for Tamina, it's serious business. The sand in the hilt is linked to a massive underground crystal that, if cracked open, could unleash a destructive force the likes of which no one has ever experienced. It's up to Tamina and Dastan to return the dagger to its rightful place, restore peace between their respective kingdoms, and stop Nizam before he has the chance to alter the past.
Perhaps it's the mystical nature of the dagger that gives me pause, especially in relation to the underground crystal with which it's linked. This dagger, shiny and exotic, manipulates time under rules that seemed straightforward enough until they were obscured by events near the end of the film, events that shock us into believing they were clever when it fact they were merely the result of a narrative copout. Something within me is intrinsically resistant to stories involving time travel, for they can be anything at any time with no regard for structure, sequence, or even basic applications of logic. What we get from the end of "Prince of Persia" is not the tying of loose ends so much as an exercise in trickery, which is to say that, given what had gone on before, it cheats.
Perhaps I have reservations about the characters, who are decent enough within the context of the story but are hardly memorable in the grand scheme of things. That could have more to do with the actors. Gyllenhaal, despite being ripped and in command of a convincing British accent, plays Dastan so generically that the role could have been given to any leading male. Arterton is certainly beautiful, although it takes her too long to develop Tamina into anything worthwhile; for the first forty-five minutes of the film, I found her incredibly annoying, always with the smart aleck dialogue. And then there's Alfred Molina as the obligatory yet distracting comedy relief - a money-grubber who created an isolationist community to avoid paying taxes. Who knew Objectivism stretched all the way back to the sixth century?
Seriously though, what does all this amount to? Like so many summer popcorn flicks that have come before it, it amounts to a superficial but enjoyable experience at the movies. While "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" lacks any real importance, it does hold its own as a showcase of visual delights, so yes, I'm going to recommend it for sheer cinematic escapism. You want CGI? You've got CGI. You want stunts? You've got stunts. You want Jake Gyllenhaal? You've got Jake Gyllenhaal. Perhaps it was too much to hope for a masterpiece, although I do find myself thinking of "Raiders of the Lost Ark," which proved that supernatural artifacts, exotic locations, heroes, villains, and plenty of action all in the same movie can be both preposterous and brilliant. I have reservations, but I can't deny that I liked what I saw.
As a movie based on a popular game, I would have to say that taken strictly at face value, Prince of Persia - Sands of Time is not half-bad as a movie. It's not The Lord of the Rings - The Motion Picture Trilogy (Platinum Series Special Extended Edition) - but neither is it Battlefield Earth; just an agreeable middle of the road fantasy spectacular. This may be the key thing about movies based on games: gripping situation, fairly interesting characters, a very, very well-visualized world . . . and a paint-by-the-numbers plot. Not to say that Prince of Persia is badly or incompetently plotted, just that any plot which would have rung changes on the same set of characters within the world of ancient Persia created for it would have done just as well - and will probably serve equally well in a sequel. Or two, or three, since the whole thing with the glass-handled dagger brings the story around again to the beginning, with nothing changed, just like starting another round of the game. Otherwise, it's lovely eye-candy, on several levels. As a bonus, it offers some agreeably amusing supporting characters, most especially Alfred Molina who now owns the franchise on comic villainy. There is also a rather nice rapport between the hero and the feisty princess-priestess, Jake Gyllanhaal and Gemma Arterton, and supporting acting talent more than equal to the materiel - although seeing Ben Kingsley in what at first appeared to be a minor role was a dead giveaway in the first five minutes that his character was up to something villainous. Location shooting took place in Morocco - which apart from some of the desert vistas, appears to very good effect. Of the extras, the most outstanding is a fairly detailed `making of' featurette. This version came in a three-disc combination package: a DVD and Blu-ray version, plus a digital copy. This may be the most sensible and flexible way to retail feature movies for the near future.
For many of us who grew up playing video games on a PC, one game that captured our attention (no, not Lode Runner) was a game called "Prince of Persia" created by Jordan Mechner.
Since 1989, we have seen the game evolve to the action, graphically impressive video game on the current gen video game consoles and continues to be a popular video game franchise. And in 2010, Walt Disney Pictures, courtesy of producer Jerry Bruckheimer ("Pirates of the Caribbean" films, "Black Hawk Down", "Bad Boys" films, "National Treasure" films, "Armageddon") and director Mike Newell ("Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire", "Donnie Brasco", "Four Weddings and a Funeral") along with screenwriters Boaz Yakin, Doug Miro and Carlo Bernard went to work on the film adaptation, cinematographer John Seale ("Poseidon", "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone", "The Perfect Storm", "The Talented Mr. Ripley) and Harry Gregson-Williams ("Shrek Forever After", "X-Men Origins: Wolverine", "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3') composing the music for the film.
If anything, the filmmakers odds were against them as video game to film have not really had much success. And for "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time", the film received mixed reviews from the critics but at the same time, this CG-driven film budgeted around $150-200 million made around $329 million in the worldwide box office and is expected to make more in home video sales.
"Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" looks absolutely fantastic. Presented in 1080p (2:40:1), the film looks absolutely stunning. You can see the detail on the surface of the clothing, the wood, the stubble on Gylenhaal's chin, skin pigmentation and more. Colors are absolutely vibrant with orange, amber hues that are seen in the film and the wonderful CG work when Dastan uses his dagger. Blacks are nice and deep, detail is just magnificent. There are scenes that uses a weak light source, ala candlelight so there is some black crush present as detail are not as pronounced on scenes with very dark shadows but by no means does this hurt the picture quality of the entire film.
I didn't notice any artifacting, banding, combing, aliasing, anything negative. If anything, this is one of the best PQ live-action films to come from Disney. Very impressive!
As for the accompanying DVD, the film is presented in 480i (Widescreen 2:40:1 - Enhanced for 16×9 televisions).
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
"Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (48 kHz/24-bit). The lossless audio of this film is absolutely fantastic. The dialogue and music is crisp and clear and what is more impressive is the use of sound. From the arrows zipping and panning from right to left and a scene where a man is using a steel whip against Dastan and you hear that whip swirling all over the soundscape. Fantastic use of immersive sound. And because of the many action scenes, great use of LFE for the bigger sounds throughout the film. Also, included is an English 2.0 DVS, French 5.1 DTS and French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack. Fans of the film will enjoy this lossless soundtrack!
As for the accompanying DVD, the DVD comes with an English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack and an English 2.0 DVS.
Subtitles are presented in English SDH, French and Spanish.
"Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" comes with the following special features (in 1080p HD and in English 5.1 Dolby Digital):
* An Unseen World: Making Prince of Persia - (15:52) NOTE: This is stand-alone on the accompanying DVD or the BD single release. The special feature takes a look behind the scenes on the set of the film.
* Deleted Scene - (1:28) A deleted scene from the film titled "The Banquet: Garsiv Presents Heads".
* CineExplore: The Sands of Time - (116 minutes) While watching the film, you will see a dagger which you can click with your remote to unlock secrets behind your favorite scenes! Turn back time and uncover over 40 spellbinding segments - including 'Walking Up Walls, 'Filming in Morocco, and 'Ostrich Jockey Tryouts, with this exclusive interactive feature.
This version of "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" comes with a slipcase cover and also comes with a DVD of the feature film and a digital copy of the feature film.
"Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" had an uphill battle of trying to prove that a video game to film adaptation can be successful and in the end, the film did make a ton of money in the box office. So, I think that given the success of the film, we will more than likely see a "Prince of Persia" sequel.
In some ways, having played and still purchasing many incarnations of the video game, it was one thing to expect the main character to jump on walls and buildings. I wasn't expecting a labyrinth or floors breaking apart and our hero would fall to his death like the video game but I was expecting a more meatier adventure-based story between Dastan and the princess. In some way, almost an exciting adventure story similar to an earlier "Indiana Jones" style of film. To get away from the typical video game film mindset of popcorn action flick but a film with more substance than glitz and beauty.
Afterall, you have a talented director, cinematographer and composer, you expect an action-driven film but a good story. But in many ways, "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" follows the list of debased films in which they look great (and look and sound spectacular on Blu-ray) but if anything, it's not a film that stands out in your mind, nor do you feel inclined in wanting to watch it again (unless you are a Jake Gyllenhaal or Gemma Arterton die-hard fan).
The performances were fine but Ben Kingsley, I've seen him act with a tremendous amount of passion in films before and in "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time", I felt he was a bit subdued as Nizam. Gemma Arterton was very good, sexy, beautiful as the Princess Tamina and definitely a major 180 from the character of her "St. Trinity's" films. She's an actress that can take on any kind of character and it shows And also you have a good number of talents with Alfred Molina, Richard Cole, Ronald Pickup, Toby Kebbell and Steve Toussaint doing a good job as well.
But as for the main actor, Jake Gyllenhaal, there was no doubt we would see the well-known actor taking on an action-based role and showing off his athletic nature (and physique) throughout the film but similar to Ben Kingsley, we have seen these two talents really shine in non-action films, in this case...the character of Dastan had the flair of the action silent star Douglas Fairbanks but at the same time, the storyline of Fairbanks film made you enjoy the film even more, in this case...everything seems like a blur as our protagonist is all over the place. Yes, it's true to the video game...jumping, fighting, climbing, etc. but I would have enjoyed more time focused on character development.
"Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" is definitely a Blu-ray that shines in the video and audio category. The picture quality is fantastic and the lossless audio was very impressive. Special features were OK, but I prefer to watch special features independently, not selecting them while watching a film. So, I'm not the biggest fan of Disney's "CineExplore" but it's all subjective to the viewer.
For those who do not want the DVD and digital copy but only the Blu-ray, a Blu-ray single disc release of "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" will be sold separately as well.
Overall, "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" does show it's faithfulness to the video game franchise. There is plenty of action in this film and for the most part, it is a good popcorn action flick, but for those wanting something deeper, you're not going to find it in this film. But if you want a fun, action-driven film, nothing more and nothing less, "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" is definitely for you.
on August 28, 2010
This movie clearly aims at kids, and teens. It also caters to hard-core video gamers who love Prince of Persia game franchise. There are a lot of jumping just like in the games.
There are many fighting scenes. They look okay. The scenes are colorful and beautiful. The special effects look riveting. For example, the snake scene looks very real.
Jake Gyllenhaal's acting is fun and engaging. Gemma Arterton's acting is stiff. The time-shifting twist keeps the movie interesting till the end. If you're looking for characters' depth here, you'll be disappointed.
The ostrich racing scene looks original to me. I've never seen something like that before.
This movie reminds me of Scorpion King. As a family movie, it's absolutely worth watching once.
on August 10, 2014
I'm a sucker for movies other people seem to not think to highly of. lol I thought this movie was fun and the costumes awesome. I'm sure it could have been better and as far as how it follows the game storyline I wouldn't know. As entertainment I found it did it's job. Not to mention it has a lot of sexy people in it and who doesn't like a good lookin' human being. :P
Video games. Since when did the art of film neglect fine screenplays, theatrical works, novels, and short stories as resources for cinema and settle for making kids' games movie material? It makes a statement about priorities, right? But given the fact that pure video game entertainment is that important (having never played, this viewer is at a disadvantage), PRINCE OF PERSIA is a surprisingly sound film produced with extravagance and vigor and a wealth of CGI effects, and whatever happens with the little machine held gismo for the video game manipulation to make the experience exciting, that experience has been very well transformed by writers Boaz Yakin, Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard, and game inventor/screen story creator Jordan Mechner. Disney joins Jerry Bruckheimer (with the fine help of director Mike Newell) in creating what should have been a resounding success at the box office extravaganza. But alas, this one fizzled. Why that happened is not apparent from the DVD.
Jake Gyllenhaal hits that happy medium as a daredevil Prince Dastan with just the right dose of derring-do stunts, charisma, and finely tuned comedy timing: he makes a great hero on screen, but the costumers should have allowed him to feature his well-developed physique he worked on for this role. But he makes the little orphan boy turned royal family believable and lovable. His adopted father, the king of Persia (Ronald Pickup), his 'brothers' (Toby Kebbell and Richard Coyle), his sidekick Bis (Reece Ritchie - keep an eye on this actor), and his evil uncle (Ben Kingsley) all contribute solid roles with quite a bit of philosophy about family ties and loyalty. The key to the story is the siege of a borderline rival kingdom ruled by the smart and sassy Rachel Weisz-type Tamina (Gemma Arterton) who guards the dagger that has the ability to manipulate time. Throw in a group of evil Hassasins (like that play on terms?) lead by Gísli Örn Garðarsson, some nearly unconquerable situations such as the world becoming a quicksand disaster, some wildly hilarious comedy (on the dark side) by tax evader Sheik Amar (Alfred Molina), and some changes that the time manipulating dagger can effect and the story spins to a conclusion. This viewer would be ready for a sequel, so entertaining is this diversion of a film, but the apparent box office failure of expectations make that an outside possibility.
Though it is always difficult to tell where a Director of Photography and the CGI engineers meet, John Seale does provide some gorgeous desert effects. The music by Henry Gregson-Williams is appropriate if forgettable. Coming away from the DVD experience leaves this viewer even more impressed with the spectrum of acting skills of Jake Gyllenhaal. And that is really enough. The script makes some strange errors - beginning the film with statements as to how Persia was a vast country that covered the entire Middle East, and then throwing in references in the dialogue to Iraq, Turkey and other countries that makes the research sound shaky at best. It is a great popcorn movie - if popcorn at home weren't such a dietary no-no. Grady Harp, September 10