Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Rating – *

The most surprising and perhaps alarming deficiency of Prince of Persia is that even the cameraman, editor and boom operator should hang their heads in shame. In this modern age of wannabe franchise starters, sequels, prequels, remakes and adaptations of everything from amusement park rides to park benches, the one element we should be able to count on is that the production crew will do their job well. The script may read like it was written by an autistic sparrow, but at least stuff will “look wicked….innit”. Well not anymore, visually and aurally Prince of Persia more frequently resembles an episode of Fort Boyard than a polished jewel in Lord Bruckheimer’s crown. Crown? Why yes, the one he wears while ruling his production empire ….of shit.

Actually that’s unfair, I dig Pirates of the Caribbean quite a bit. Yet that was mainly down to the talent of Gore Verbinski as a director. For the most part he managed to overcome an increasingly hackneyed screenplay, which bogged down much of the third film. Make no mistake, the worst scene in the Pirates trilogy is still ten times better than anything on show here. Prince of Persia wishes it was Michael but deep down knows it’s only Jermaine. I won’t waste the precious skin on the end of my fingers by typing up finer details of the plot. I was mainly just distracted by the sheer shoddiness of the images flickering before my eyes. Had my expressions been filmed, the footage could easily be mistaken for that of a man forced to witness the messy barnyard birth of a two headed cow.

However, upon leaving the cinema I kept thinking about one scene in particular. A memorable set-piece perhaps? A witty or endearing one liner? Alas no. Instead I thought about the scene where a live snake is used as the vessel to conceal a precious (also long and thin) dagger. Ben Kingsley’s henchman picks up the wriggling creature then slices open its belly to retrieve said artefact. Before it’s execution surely that snake should have resembled a sports sock pulled rigid over a broom handle? Not only would this have brought some much needed amusement, but also logic, to this soulless pantomime of a film. Oh, and are we witnessing an unwelcome Papyrus font renaissance? James Cameron inexplicably used it to promote Avatar, now it shows up once again! Send it back to the laminated menus of half the curry houses in London, the only place it belongs!

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~ by thewholebuffalo on May 24, 2010.

6 Responses to “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time”

  1. This is tunring into a marmite film, i thought it was good! watchable for a second viewing even…
    It was just what you want in an disney action film, fast, pacey, silly one lines & relatively true to the source material. After watching the sombre rubbish that was ‘clash’ this was just what a summer action film should be… fun. although i’m not sure if jakes mockney accent was exactly how i thought he should sound 😉

  2. http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/film_reviews/article7131752.ece

    • Words fail me! Oh wait, not they don’t. I might add this to the main review too….

      I despised the pacing and editing. Individual scenes ruined by crappy respeeds and jerky handheld slo-mo. Then a new scene would start but feel like it was halfway through. Most of the CG has a weird late-90’s vibe to it. The video game quality rendering and impossibly smooth camera moves are reminiscent of Blade II. This is not a good film on any level. Even the recording quality of the dialogue was piss poor, at one point I swear I heard the lighting gaffer coughing. The scenes just had an empty, echoing and staged feel to them. Like watching the dress rehearsal of a local village drama group as they fumble around the creaking wooden boards of an empty village hall. In that scenario I’d have probably been treated to a slice or homemade sponge cake, or a Hob Nob at the very least! But no, Persia just meandered on in an aimless and sterile cacophony of unfunny boring drudgery while I scooped up the last remnants of overpriced, and by now lukewarm, Ben & Jerry’s.

      The only decent performance came from Gyllenhaal. Arterton looked the part but mostly phoned in her lines. She’s far more impressive in The Disappearance of Alice Creed + you see her boobies! …wait, is that inappropriate for me to mention about a film centered around a kidnap/rape scenario? Probably.

      Ben Kingsley is wasted as the villain, never posing a serious threat. He just comes across as a deluded old man, one who has wandered off from his care home, possibly during an understaffed day trip to Eastbourne. As a result, the climactic confrontation with him renders Gyllenhaal a bully. At one point his frail body is thrown over a stone wall at the side of the palace steps. It was like watching a burly freerunner tossing a tramp into the fountain at Trafalgar Square, I felt quite sorry for him.

  3. Is it a bit gay ? The trailer looks like a film for gay 14 year old boys, oh and Helen 😉

  4. Nice post! I think POP is an entertaining movie, but definitely not as good as Pirates of the Carribean.

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