film review: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)


Prince of Persia Jake GyllenhaalI can’t say I was overly excited about a film based on a video game. Uwe Boll has made me wary… If you haven’t had the delight of watching a Uwe Boll video game adaptation I’d recommend Alone in the Dark… it truly is awful. Seriously. It’s terrible.

So, I wasn’t sure if I was up for Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. It has one of those colon separated names… and it stars Gemma Arterton. I don’t like her very much… I don’t know why, she just annoys me when she’s on the screen. Well, to be fair (to me) she was crap in Clash of the Titans, The Boat That Rocked and particularly in Quantum of Solace… that’s probably why I don’t like her.

On the other hand I’d seen the shots from the set, I loved the computer game back in 1989 and I really liked Jerry Bruckheimer’s other big budget films, the Pirates of the Caribbean series so POP:TSoT had a few big things going for it too…

Also I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a ticket to a Walt Disney Ireland preview. That always helps.

Happily, I was not disappointed. First things first though… I really didn’t think the film would bear any resemblance to the games. After all, they’re platformers. How would they turn a platformer into a movie? As a result I had accepted that it was probably going to be Prince of Persia in name only. I was wrong, they did manage to keep the essence of the game… through the magic of parkour. It was pretty cool to see and fans of the game will appreciate it.

Was it a good film though? Personally I thought Prince of Persia was great craic. It was nice to see an action film with a bit more story than usual. I did think it got a little bit long in the middle – it’s just under two hours long – but it’s difficult to see where they could have cut it from. There’s quite a lot going on, which is good, so I guess they could have just shortened some of the scenes. I think it would be fair to say that it’s very similar to the Pirates films in that sense; it’s not just a whole heap of running, fighting and explosions, there’s actually a story and there are real characters in it. Mind you, they’re pretty stereotyped characters, so it’s not as though they had too big a job to do on characterisation.

I didn’t even find Gemma Arterton that annoying. Ok, she was a bit annoying and the chemistry with Gyllenhaal could have been a little better, but it could have been a helluva lot worse too so, small mercies…

Ah, maybe I’m not being fair, there is chemistry there – definitely more than there was with Sam Worthington in Clash of the Titans anyway. I think perhaps this brings us to the crux of Prince of Persia though…

Jake Gyllenhaal is fantastic in it. And I’m not just saying that because he buffed up for it. I ain’t into them muscular types anyway… He’s just really good in it. He was funny, believable in the action shots* and he was convincing in the character as well. I wasn’t expecting that – I wouldn’t have pegged him as a action star – but maybe that’s why he’s so good in it. He’s actually an actor, not just a body who can recite lines.

So anyway, I probably don’t need to say much more than that. I thought this was a really good film. I mean it’s not… taxing on the brain in any way. It’s not without its mis-steps either, like I said, it’s a little long and yeah, it’s pretty clichéd. Time travel can be a difficult and confusing subject for some but they took the option to steer clear of anything too messy and that’s probably to their advantage – it’s a subject that can sometimes (not always) alienate wider audiences. At the end of the day it’s a big budget, big action popcorn flick. Don’t expect anything more than that. Don’t short change it too much either though, this could have gone horribly wrong and it didn’t.

I hope it does get a few sequels. Totally deserves them. I just hope they can keep the story up. And keep Jake Gyllenhaal too, he definitely get the chance to do a few “less serious” roles.

Oh I forgot to mention one thing… just so you aren’t surprised. They all have British accents. I’m not sure why but they do, even Gyllenhaal… and might I mention, he’s good at that too. 😉


* obviously there were stuntmen but looking at the shots he was in


  1. comment-avatar
    sdwillieJune 27, 2010 - 5:09 am

    I’m sorry, but anyone that can single out ANY Uwe Boll movie as particularly bad is either stupid, crazy, or lives the saying “Fool me once, etc.”

    Let’s hope like hell you’re in that third category.

  2. comment-avatar
    ElgartNovember 6, 2010 - 2:28 am

    Great action flick, but it has a little turn downs unlike the original video game.

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