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Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

There should be no surprise Prince of Persia comes from the same people who produced the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.  Full of the spectacle one would expect from those who bought that gaudy trilogy to life, it unfortunately resembles their worst aspects.  This sadly turns a potentially appetizing time-waster into an overloaded and sometimes messy swirl of CGI excess. 

 

The ancient ‘Dagger of Time’ gives its owner the ability to travel back in time and change the past.  Desiring this for his evil purposes is Nizam (Ben Kingsley) who hopes to become ruler of the vast Persian empire.  The only person who can stop him is Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal), one of the King’s sons.  Teaming with the beautiful Princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton), he aims to foil Nizam’s plot and his attempts at creating a powerful sandstorm which could destroy the world. 

 

A rule of any adventure film is to ensure there is always the prospect its heroes may not be victorious.  This element of threat enables the audience to emotionally invest in the story until its conclusion.  Prince of Persia completely ignores this by using its time travel concept as a means of lazily escaping any high peril.  Coupled with one dimensional characters and an out of place adult tone in a film supposedly geared towards a general audience, you receive a very uneven escapade.  Its’ saving graces are its action and scenery which are stunning in their realization although these eventually groan under the weight of a poorly constructed plot and weak direction. 

 

Based on a video game, Persia’s screenplay unwisely adheres a little too closely to its origins.  Almost every sequence is of the standard ‘multi-level maze’ format found in most gaming platforms leading to a story riddled with inconsistencies.  With a ‘make it up as it goes along’ feel evident, the performances aren’t much help as everyone over-plays their roles without embodying the conviction needed to make it work.  Whilst the distinctly hammy acting occasionally amuses, it becomes tiresome as each action scene breathlessly blends into the next. 

 

Prince of Persia is a mindless popcorn flick of the highest order.  Although its’ action and spectacle are as dazzling as hoped, everything else from its’ direction and woeful script are scant compensation.  As an addition to the ‘game to film’ genre it notches up another mark against its’ dubious strike ratio. 

Rating out of 10:  4 

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