Super Mario Brothers, Street Fighter, Tomb Raider, Uwe Boll’s epic canon – movies have not been kind to video games. In fact, the track record of gaming classics being brought to the screen is downright horrendous. When the Resident Evil films are among the best of the lot, the lack of quality video game adaptations becomes clear. Taking a vibe from The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Mike Newell’s Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time at least looked like it had a hope of overcoming the gaming-movie stigma. Turns out it keeps the track record of crappy adaptations going.
Adopted into Persian royalty, Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) is later framed for murder. Somewhere in there he gets a princess (Gemma Arterton) by his side and a magical dagger with the power to change time in his clutches. Lots of running ensues as nefarious bad guys seek power and said magical dagger. Think Scar and Simba from The Lion King mixed with Aladdin minus the genie.
Prince of Persia might be filled with endless chases, but I was still completely bored throughout. Despite a glitzy facade of stunning desert visuals, the action felt recycled. A lot of this stems from the fact that I didn’t buy Gyllenhaal as the action figure the script had him be. He makes the jumps and throws the punches just fine, but the role was completely lacking in any personality. Despite being the co-starring sidekick/damsel in distress, I thought Arterton’s Tamina to be the more exciting of the two, distracting bad fake tan and all.
Perhaps it’s unfair to compare Gyllenhaal’s performance to that of Johnny Depp in Pirates, however Depp was able to take some equally cheesy material and turn it into a classic turn that I’ll never forget. How? By giving the role an unexpected and original spin. Depp took Jack Sparrow and gave him a rock star mentality. Gyllenhaal took Dastan and occasionally raised his eyebrows. Big difference. One takes something and spins it into something great, the other takes the script at face value and maintains mediocrity.
That being said, Gyllenhaal’s not entirely to blame for the failings of Prince of Persia. Newell tries to jazz up the action with the occasional slow-motion shot or some fancy effects, but it’s all just a mirage. He fails to give the film a soul. Nothing comes together to make it either fun or adventurous, which is what it appears the movie was aiming for. Prince of Persia is a film that has many nice parts but they never come together as an exciting whole. Instead it wanders through the desert, looking for an exciting hook but never finding one.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Blu-ray Review
Disney has released Prince of Persia on Blu-ray as a Combo Pack that also includes the DVD and a Digital Copy of the film. Both the picture and sound are phenomenal. The picture is showcased in a 1080p high definition transfer that really embraces the warm colors of the movie. The CineExplore feature places the bonus content right into the film. When enabled, viewers can go directly from the film to more than 40 mini-featurettes that cumulatively do a great job of breaking down the production. The Blu-ray also includes a deleted scene.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Gallery