Friday, May 28, 2010

Movie Review: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

To listen to the audio version, click here

Memorial Day weekend. Besides a time to reflect back on those people who have given the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country (please make some time during this weekend to do so), it's also the unofficial start to the summer season. The studios gave us two choices this long weekend. Either the estrogen soaked Sex in the City 2 or the testosterone laden Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Funny how both take place in the middle east. I choose the latter. Good choice! It was a fun popcorn movie!

Being a Jerry Bruckheimer production, you know that there will be lots of action to watch. Given the epic backdrop of the movie and the gigantic scope, it needed a director who could handle such a big production. Mike Newel who directed Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the third installment of the Harry Potter franchise was given the job of handling this big budget blockbuster.

Jake Gyllenhaal plays Prince Dastan who wasn't always a prince. As a child young Dastan stopped an injustice and then tried to avoid capture afterward by bouncing around the ancient city using Parkour. He was plucked off the streets to be adopted into the royal family because of a spark that King Sharaman (Ronald Pickup) saw in the boy. Jump ahead 15 years (insert time passing whooshing sound effect here). He and his two brothers Tus and Garsiv (Richard Coyle and Toby Kebbell) and Uncle Nizam (Ben Kingsley) decided to assault a city that the king did not tell them to attack. Why is it kids can never listen to what a good king and their dad tells them to do? It always makes things more difficult in the long run.

Although he didn't plan it, he wasn't after it and had no idea up front about it, Dastan ends up with a special dagger that when the gem on the hilt is pressed allows the holder to go back in time. Like all magical objects there is someone assigned to protect it (think Jacob and the island in LOST). That task falls to the lovely Tamina (Gemma Arterton) who will do just about anything to retrieve the dagger. Well, maybe not everything. With a PG-13 rating for intense sequences of violence and action she doesn't have to revert to the oldest trick in the book doing that with Dastan. She begs him to give the dagger back to her so she can safeguard the precious item. Tamina tells Dastan that the dagger can't fall into the wrong hands or it could mean that the end of their world via sand storm wiping their kingdoms from the face of the earth.

So let's recap shall we. Magical object in danger. The guys get eye candy with Tamina. The ladies get to drool over Dastan's pecs. Blockbuster director with Mike Newell. Big budget courtesy Jerry Bruckheimer. The Acting gravitas of Sir Ben Kingsley. Throw in lots of sword fights and the Parkour chase sequences. What else could you use? Oh yeah, some comic relief. That went to Alfred Molina playing a tricky rogue Sheik Amar who doesn't like the Persians because of their habit of collecting taxes. Ah, a character bringing to the forefront that if they lived today they would be a member of the Tea Party. Funny how that got worked in there. Let's not forget the whole situation about the world ending. That would be via the giant sand blaster, not due to exorbitant tax extraction. You put all these together and you have a fun movie.

While Carrie and her gal pals may be out playing around in the desert in Abu Dhabi they aren't going to give you the fun romp that the Prince of Persia: The Sand of Time will provide. Heck during the Sex in the City 2 trailer I would look at my watch wondering when the preview would end when I didn't once look at my watch during the 116 minutes that was occupied by the Prince of Persia. Enjoy your bucket of popcorn and soda; the summer movie season is about to hit full stride!

The Movie Monkey

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