“Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time”: Could It Be? Could We Finally Have a Decent Video Game Movie?
by Chauncey Telese
To anyone (not likely) who has missed me these last two weeks I apologize for my absence. I wish I had some cool reason like being in charge of making sure Nickelodeon puts out all their old Nicktoons on DVD but in reality I was bogged down with school, going to Game 2 of Lakers-Suns, attending some 21st Birthday parties, and when I couldn’t sleep, got through my box set of “Daria”: The Complete Animated Series.
However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t see any movies, in fact, to get us caught up I will review everything that I missed in five words or less. “Robin Hood”: Terrible “Gladiator” wannabe, “MacGruber”: Funny but better on DVD, and “Shrek the Final Chapter”: Watch the first Shrek four times.
Okay, now that we’re all caught up let’s get to Memorial Day Weekend which traditionally is prime real estate in the summer movie season but like actual real estate it’s value has rescinded greatly. This has been a down summer so far (except for “Iron Man 2” of course) and this weekend is no exception.
I chose to cover “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” because a) I love action movies, b) The bar was low because it’s a video game movie, and c) because the alternative is more vomit-inducing footage of Alvin Gentry vomiting during Game 5 two days ago or watching Ron Artest shoot open threes (by the way Laker fans even though he redeemed himself with that lay up he’s still a poor investment and you know it). Anyway let’s get to it.
In the last 20-plus years Hollywood and video games have gone together like “American Idol” winners and success (Kelly Clarkson being the lone exception). They just don’t mix, in fact the high mark in the genre was the original “Mortal Kombat” and even that had its issues. So, when I heard that they were doing “Prince of Persia,” I expected more of the same, however in this instance I was pleasantly surprised.
The film is about Dastan (played by Jake Gyllenhall); a rouge warrior prince who along with the mysterious Princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton “Clash of the Titans”) must stop the evil Nizam (played with great fun by Sir Ben Kingsley) from gaining possession of a weapon that can reverse time. Also, Dastan is accused of killing his father and while saving the world must clear his name.
That’s really all you need to know because as I’ve said for awhile now, most summer movies don’t require a lot of thought. There is CGI-induced destruction, non-stop action sequences galore and just enough humor and chemistry between Gyllenhall and Arterton to keep you interested. I had fun with this movie and while I’ll admit that it doesn’t contain the intrigue of an episode of “Breaking Bad” or is as poignant and fun as an episode of “Treme” but it serves its purpose especially since pretty much all of TV had their finales last week.
As far as video game movies go, this is a decent step forward as this is really the first time there has been so much backing behind a video game movie. It’s produced by master producer Jerry Bruckheimer who proved, among other things, that you can have Johnny Depp star in a franchise based on a Disneyland ride and people will watch, it has Jake Gyllenhall who is quite an amazing actor (though he’s neither a prince or Persian…discuss. Wait, is that SNL reference too obscure?), and of course, it has Sir Ben Kingsley who, while being an accomplished actor is still willing to do fun action movies (I realize Angelina Jolie had her Oscar during “Tomb Raider” but that was purely about money not fun).
I know I sound like I’m half-heartedly endorsing this movie or that I’m being that friend who convinces you to stray from your diet by mentioning the fact that you need to spoil yourself, but I’m not trying to. I’m just trying not to over-hype what is really just a decent action movie that will entertain you because it would be unfair of me to gush like I did with “Iron Man 2.” If I haven’t effectively convinced you or this doesn’t sound like your type of movie then your other option is “Sex and the City 2.”
Ladies, if you ever question if the man you’re with truly cares, here’s a test. If you end up using this as your payback movie for whatever action movie you got stuck seeing (though he would’ve had to pick the Jesse James or Tiger Woods equivalent because this is a brutal choice for a payback movie), watch his behavior. If he manages to sit through it without a) asking you “What age did Sarah Jessica Parker’s face melt?, b) Checking the scores for either the Stanley Cup finals or whatever else is on, c) mentioning to you that Kim Catrall was in her twenties when she did “Porky’s” so that makes her too old to be a cougar, and d) doesn’t try and swallow sleeping pills, then he cares.
By the way, if you think I’m being a stereotypical guy who hates female-oriented programming consider this: two of my favorite new shows this year are “Glee” and “Parenthood,” plus I’m a huge fan of “True Blood.” Sorry for the rant, KHTS allots me three a year and I’ve been saving this one.
Thank you for reading, and stay tuned as next week I meet up with Aldous Snow and try to “Get Him to the Greek”.
Remember you can see these and other fine films at your local Edwards.