Prince of Persia Movie Review, Rating and Audience Response

It is based on a video game and it’s Hollywood assembly-line at work. The obvious note of warning: Don’t go in expecting intelligent stuff here. Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time was manufactured to regale as mega adventure for the whole family. It’s the sort of glossy package big studio bosses habitually line up every summer for the big bucks.

In sync with the way such films are made... sorry, assembled... a lot more vision has evidently gone into the film’s look and styling than content. Technically, this is snazzy, high-voltage action fare that blends Oriental exotica with spectacular stunts compatible to the western mindset. The swagger with which a Persian fable is turned to suit American box-office tastes is in your face too (of course with new-age Yankee Doodle Jake Gyllenhaal playing Prince of Persia, what else did you expect?).

Gyllenhaal must have signed this film because he was bored with his tag of respected offbeat actor — one that he built painstakingly with a roster boasting Donnie Darko, Brokeback Mountain and Zodiac among other films.

The actor seems to be in the mood for some fun this time, and this film is quite rightly his perfect shot at some mainstream glitter. Indeed, if Gyllenhaal was itching to have a superhero franchise title for himself, this is it. Prince Of Persia rides on a hype machinery that will guarantee at least a sequel or two. If Gyllenhaal cuts quite the cool dude’s picture as Prince Dastan, director Mike Newell didn’t imagine looking beyond Gemma Arterton for his very Persian princess Tamina.

Quite inexplicably, Hollywood seems to have discovered some sort of an outlandish charm in the very British Gemma.

Just a few weeks ago, she was playing the Greek nymph Lo in Clash Of The Titans. And now, this. May be, the Kent twang in her English is a good enough excuse for American filmmakers to pass Gemma off as ‘exotic’. Uh, well. You don’t expect a Hollywood production of a mythical West Asian hero’s exploits to be culturally honest. As long as the fireworks keep rolling, everyone’s happy.

Sure, there are the fireworks — lots of it as beefed-up Jake steps into the boots of Dastan. He’s a street urchin to begin with, living in Persia — because that’s where he also lives in within the reality of the video game from which the film has been derived. Dastan impresses the king one day, who in turn decides to adopt him.

Since the boy is quite brave the king doesn’t think twice before declaring Dastan as his heir, over his own sons.

Time for action, so enter Ben Kingsley as the king’s vile brother Nizam, who wants to wrest power, of course. Action isn’t enough — you need to serve it a pinch of oomph. So, Dastan finds an ally in Princess Tamina to thwart Nizam’s designs.

Hold on. If it’s an Oriental adventure, where’s the mumbo jumbo? Sure enough, Nizam, it turns out, wants The Dagger of Time, which can render to its owner the power to travel in time for short periods and alter the past. Nizam wants to go into the past, create a sandstorm and destroy the world so that he can create a new order for himself. Which means Prince Dastan and Princess Tamina have enough work at hand (and choreographed action to engage in) for the film to last a runtime of around a couple of hours. THIS is a mammoth project, one that’s taken seven big moneybags to executive- produce it. The name helming the production crew is Jerry Bruckheimer.

If you know him as the man who shelled out the doe for stuff such as Top Gun, Days Of Thunder, Con Air, The Rock, National Treasure, the Bad Boys flicks, and the Pirates Of The Caribbean flicks, you know Jerry’s a guy for whom nothing succeeds like excess. Prince Of Persia merely lives up to the diktat. Quite natural that Big Jerry should sign on Mike Newell as director. Newell qualified as a maker of big-ticket hoopla the day he made a Harry Potter film (Goblet Of Fire was directed by him). He sure has an idea on how to jazz it up for effect. That Newell wasn’t looking beyond video game basics is clear. His film credits its script to Jordan Mechner, game designer who conceptualised the Prince Of Persia game franchise.

Still, the film is a big-screen wonder. Just what you expect when the cinematographer of Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone (John Seale), the production designer of The Last Of The Mohicans (Wolf Kroeger) the film editors of (Raiders Of The Lost Ark (Michael Kahn), Chicago (Martin Walsh) and Mona Lisa Smile (Mick Audsley) join hands with special effects supervisor Trevor Wood (The Golden Compass). Those above-cited are among names that have made new-age commercial Hollywood worth what it is, visually speaking. You may have glossed over their triumphs at sundry Oscar nights amid all the stardust. The truth is films such as this one would have seemed more apologetic than bad historic soaps on apna desi TV had not these guys made it their job to fashion A-rate spectacles out of dead-as-dodo scripts.


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