Sunday, September 26, 2010


PRINCE OF PERSIA: SANDS OF TIME is a movie that is easy to mock. It's based on a video game; features a bunch of Western actors bronzed up to play medieval Persian warlords; is full of hoky CGI and time-travel; and basically is about as credible as Ed Balls candidature for the Labour leadership. Think ALADDIN on steroids. But I have to say that it's not entirely unwatchable.

A newly buff Jake Gyllenhaal plays Dastan, a street urchin (the very need to use such a ridiculous word as urchin should clue you into the basic nonsense-level here) plucked from poverty to become a Prince by the kindly king. Years later and Dastan is framed for the murder of his father, leaving two genuinely princely brothers and uncle rule in his stead. The rest of the film sees him try to find out who was really out to power-grab, although the casting of Ben Kingsley as the moustache-twirling Uncle is a give-away. The task is made easier by the fact that he's found a mysterious Macguffin whose sand can turn back time. Handily, this plot device comes complete with stuck-up but beautiful Princess-guardian, as played by Gemma Arterton.

Essentially, this is all hokum but enlivened by some really odd casting. Toby Kebbell turns up as a royal brother, for instance, and Alfred Molina is hillarious as an ostrich-race-running medieval gangsta. And what on earth is Mike Newell, of FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL fame, doing directing this thing? Anyway, I have nothing to say in my defence. This movie is rubbish, but I enjoyed it, albeit fast forwarding through the action scenes. There's something almost touching about how earnestly Gyllenhaal et al play their scenes, and Alfred Molina is worth the price of the DVD rental alone.

PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME was released in May 2010 and is now available on DVD and on iTunes.

Additional tags: John Seale, Harry Gregson-Williams, Boaz Yaking, Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard, Jordan Mechner, Steve Toussaint, Richard Coyle, Ronald Picckup, Reece Ritchie

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