Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

One aspect of video games that has changed even in the last five years is a strict adherence to complex stories. The plots of these video games have turned them into interactive films with intricate storylines and focused cut scenes between levels more than something we view as a game. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is a film based on one of those confusing games that adapted the complexities in a cheesy way.


Orphan, Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal), is adopted by the Persian King. Once an adult, Dastan, along with his brothers Tus (Richard Coyle) and Garsiv (Toby Kebbell), invade a neighboring city supposedly selling arms to the enemies of the Persian Empire – sound familiar? There, Dastan meets the princess, Tamina (Gemma Arterton), and finds dagger with the capabilities of moving through time. After returning home and presenting a gift to his father that is poisoned, Dastan becomes a fugitive, with Tamina, and tries to clear his name and save the world.

As you can see, the story gets a little convoluted as the film progresses. When Tamina attempts to explain the consequences of using the dagger or the eternal hourglass, your mind begins to wander because the details are generally unimportant. The real appeal to Prince of Persia is to see how the producers could replicate the unique action sequences of the game that include slow motion and time travel. This aspect is portrayed, initially, with awful effects and, in some cases, a terrible green screen. Luckily, and also unluckily, the film focuses more on plot building than on action sequences.

With the support from Alfred Molina in a role that seems more modern than ancient Persian, Gyllenhaal plays the role of Dastan as a joke. During the serious moments he still has that “don’t you think I’m approachable and attractive” smirk, which completely undermines anything his character is trying to achieve. Next, he, along with most of the cast, attempts a British accent for no apparent reason at all (some, like Kebbell are in fact British, so I’m not referring to them).

If you’ve read my reviews long enough, you know how confused I am by Ben Kingsley’s choices in roles. This is no different. He plays Dastan’s uncle in a role that I’m beginning to think isn’t beneath him at all. It is simply the norm for Sir Kingsley. Nizam is deceitful and cowardly and a somewhat lame focal point for the antagonistic characters.

Despite all of this – and the fact that Dastan was so easily found in the middle of the desert about four times – Prince of Persia was more entertaining than I had anticipated (note: I had no expectations). Everything seemed to be just good enough to capture my attention and keep the film from being a waste. The ending was an incomprehensible waste, but I won’t get into that. If you’re bored one day and want to watch essentially a live action Aladdin, check it out. If not, you won’t be worse off for skipping it.

  1. I liked the fact that this film at least tried to mimic the video game rather than using it as loose inspiration (like the Resident Evil films) but I agree that what they produced was nothing more than generally average.

  2. Jake Gyllenhaal being the main guy just put me off 😦

    • Agreed. That’s why it took a random, bored night for me to decide to watch this.

  3. I fell asleep during this one and didn’t even bother getting to the end. I had low hopes going into it, though

    • I had similarly low expectations and I don’t blame you for falling asleep. Maybe I was just in a good mood watching it. The end was awful though.

      • I may give it another shot if I wasn’t giving it my full attention but I’ll keep that in mind about the ending.

  4. I believe Metal Gear Solid 3 said it best: in the future, movies will be interactive experiences ( referring to video games).

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