Reviewed May 25, 2012
I must first admit here that I would not be considered a “gamer” by any definition of the word. The structure of a video game containing an extensive storyline and plot, however, seems fairly simple. In a game such as Prince of Persia, the “gamer” must take his character through several obstacles in order to reach the next section of the game. Each section may take several hours to complete, and at the end of each section the player is then treated to a short film involving the next vital plot point. The structure works in a game environment since the time involved in reaching the next stage of the game allows the plot to naturally develop and unfold. If one, however were to take just the video sections of the game and place them on fast forward, it would look something like the Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time film.
Allow me to begin by hitting the positive points in the film. First of all, the movie looks great with exceptional cinematography using the vast Persian landscapes. Secondly, while one would never know it by watching this particular film, Ben Kingsley is usually a great actor.
Now that all of the good aspects of the film have been discussed, we must move on to the things that made this movie nothing short of awful. First, Prince of Persia is a prime example of how not to progress a plot. Every important aspect of the film is explained in detail the instant any kind of question is presented by the storyline. Not only does this make for a boring movie, it is completely unbelievable that the main character is able to first deduce the complicated situations around him instantly with no evidence, except maybe looking ahead in the script, then explain to the audience what is going so that they do not have to think. This last aspect of the film will more than likely lead to high revenues at the box office. The fighting scenes are not terrible in the film, but they are too often accompanied by slapstick comedy that makes no sense whatsoever in the context of the movie. It appears as though Disney was trying to recreate their formula that was successful in the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy by combining action and campy humor so that the film is violent enough to seem realistic but provides enough comedic relief to not take it too seriously. This formula makes for a film that is not funny or believable unfortunately. A lot of this has to do with the fact that Jake Gyllenhaal has no business being in this movie. His role as a Persian prince screams of Robert Downey Jr’s role as an African American in Tropic Thunder. The only difference between the two roles is that Gyllenhaal’s role is the punchline of the joke as opposed to being the joke itself. All in all, I would recommend to save your money and time and simply bypass this film altogether. In fact, instead of watching Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, it would be a better usage of your time to choose, at random, any other Ben Kingsley film and watch that instead.