Brits and Bruckheimer make ‘Prince of Persia’ epic

Continuing their record for exciting live-action epics, Jerry Bruckheimer and Walt Disney Pictures bring “Prince of Persia: Sands of Time” to the big screen.

Naturally for a Disney feature film, a star studded cast and crew is included featuring director Mike Newell, Jake Gyllenhaal, and the up-and-coming actress Gemma Arterton.


Jake Gyllenhaal returns to the big screen as Dastan in "Prince of Persia: Sands of Time". Photo: Walt Disney Pictures

As with most computer game adaptations, it is only loosely based on the game but “Prince of Persia” manages to keep to the style and concept well. This could mark a turn for the better for videogame films, after the disappointing “Tomb Raider” and “Doom” films of the past.

Set in sixth century Persia, we learn the story of (Gyllenhaal), a slumdog who is adopted into the royal family. However, accused of murdering his father, the king, he escapes with a rival princess, the beautiful Tamina (Arterton), and her mysterious Dagger of Time.

As the pairs’ relationship strengthens, we learn of a complex web of treachery and deceit and see the power of the dagger. If it falls into the wrong hands, all of mankind will suffer and it is up to the prince and princess to stop the potential Armageddon.

Gylenhaal is convincing as Dastan, even if the emotional range on offer was a little low, adding to the variety of films and characters which he can pull off.

Arterton continues to stereotype her acting role, putting in another of her sassy, femme fatale performances, which she admittedly does very well.

Other characters we meet along the way include wheeler-dealer Sheik Amar played by the lovable Alfred Molina. As one of the many British actors in “Prince of Persia”, Molina provides much of the film’s comedy and is cast alongside television actor, Steve Toussaint who acts off his counterpart brilliantly.

The big idea from the game was the vast city-scapes which the prince finds himself in and the gravity defying movement he uses to get around. Both of these are excellently recaptured with state-of-the-art CGI, stylistic camera work, and top class stunting and choreography making “Prince of Persia” a real joy to watch for both the visuals and the action.

The first really impressive scene arrives as the Persians invade a holy city: in the beautiful style of the computer game, the camera sweeps around the rooftops of the epic, medieval city as Dastan jumps between them.

Bruckheimer has taken “some cool elements from the game and used them to craft a new story”, much in the style of game remakes, and has helped create an exciting new story in the “Prince of Persia” universe.

Although it is the fourth Disney Pictures film to receive a 12A certificate, it stills holds onto the Disney ideals of family, love, and fulfilling destiny, getting a little too much at times, but offering a feel-good movie overall.

The plot is suitably epic and complex to stay true to the game but has enough exciting action to compensate for those who might not keep up. Full of British talent, “Prince of Persia” is enjoyable to watch and stays true to the concept and style of the video game, living up to be a decent entry to the summer silly season of Hollywood blockbusters.

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time = 7/10

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