Monday, May 31, 2010

Persian Lug

Of all the movies based on video games, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is certainly one of them. I would say it's one of the better movies ever made in that genre but that's a very low threshold to achieve. It's like eating garbage and declaring it to be the finest garbage you ever ate.

I never played the game so I'm sadly denied the pleasure of bitching that the movie ruined it and, by doing so, "destroyed my childhood." I do know enough about it to know that it involved a great deal of jumping on rooftops and falling down holes and I can assure you that rooftop jumping/hole falling fans will have plenty to keep them entertained in this movie. Personally, I put it in the category of, "Not nearly as offensively stupid as I thought it would be and thus, mildly entertaining."

We're told the movie opens at the height of the Persian Empire and that the Persians ruled by the principles of justice and brotherhood. Actually, the Persians ruled by the principles of "Do what I say or I'll chop off your head and put it on a stick as a warning to others" just like every other empire did but what the hell, it's only a movie. We see the day that the Persian King Sharaman, a fellow curiously missing from every history book, is moving through the streets of his kingdom when he witnesses a tussle between his guards and a street orphan named Dustan. Sharaman admires the boy's rooftop jumping and petty larceny skills and thus decides to adopt him.

Dustan grows up to look remarkably like Jake Gyllenhaal. Gyllenhaal's Dustan is a lot like the Jack Twist character he played in Brokeback Mountain only not gay and more muscular plus, instead of a bad Southern accent, he now speaks in a bad British accent. Why do all the Persians speak in British accents? Shut up, that's why. It's only a movie. We know Dustan isn't gay by the way he's instantly bowled over by the beautiful Princess Tamina played here by the beautiful Gemma Arterton. Dustan is going to have to go a long way to win the heart of Tamina since they met the day Dustan helped his brother, Prince Tus, conquer Alumet, Tamina's city. Tus was convinced to invade Alumet by his uncle, Nizam (Ben Kingsley), who claimed that Alumet was supplying weapons to Persia's enemies. There wasn't a lot of evidence offered to support this claim and the fact that Ben Kingsley always plays villains in big budget Hollywood movies should have called his credibility into question but the ancient Persians had never even seen a movie so I suppose we can't blame them for not knowing that.

Anyway, the King finally shows up and takes Tus to task for invading the city but Tus won't really have to face too much of a penalty since Sharaman is promptly murdered. Naturally it is Dustan who, until that point, was the Persia's greatest hero and the one least likely to want to murder a king which, I guess, is why no one doubts his guilt even a little bit and yeah yeah, it's just a movie. I'm getting tired of writing that. Dustan and Tamina escape along with a very fancy looking dagger that Tamina seems to hold in high value. Dustan finds out that this dagger can turn back time one minute and is probably the main reason Alumet was invaded in the first place. Anyway, Dustan and Tamina decide on a strategy that mostly involves jumping on rooftops and falling down holes along with a bit of time travel tossed in just to spice things up and that pretty much takes care of the rest of the movie.

So, like I said, it wasn't bad. It wasn't great but you could sit there for a couple hours and come out not feeling like you've wasted your time. I didn't see it in 3D which is good as I probably would have been really annoyed by the 3D version in the same was I was annoyed when I saw Clash of the Titans in 3D. So, if you enjoy colorful visual spectacles of chunk headed lugs saving pretty girls with time traveling daggers or if you are the kind of douchebag who likes updating his Facebook status with the movie's non-stop historical inaccuracies, Prince of Persia is for you.

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