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Movie Review

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action.

Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Action Adventure Fantasy Romance Drama Adaptation
1 hr. 43 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
May 28, 2010 (wide—3,500+ theaters)
DVD: September 14, 2010
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Relevant Issues
Featuring: Jake Gyllenhaal (Prince Dastan)
Gemma Arterton (Tamina)
Ben Kingsley (Nizam)
Alfred Molina (Sheik Amar)
Reece Ritchie, Toby Kebbell, Ambika Jois (Tamina’s Attendant), Richard Coyle, Gísli Örn Garðarsson (The Vizier), Dave Pope (Giant Scimitar Hassansin), Ronald Pickup, Daud Shah (Asoka), Selva Rasalingam (Persian Captain), Steve Toussaint, Stephen A. Pope (Roham—as Stephen Pope), Thomas DuPont (Whip-Blade Hassansin), more »
Director: Mike Newell
Producer: Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Walt Disney Pictures, John August, Jerry Bruckheimer, Patrick McCormick, Eric McLeod, Jordan Mechner, Chad Oman, Pat Sandston, Mike Stenson
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and IMAX

“Defy the future”

While I’ve never played the Prince of Persia video game series, I can still understand any potential reluctance in seeing one’s favorite game transformed for the big screen. I still feel a certain twinge of childhood betrayal when thinking back of the super duds which somehow emerged from the classic Super Mario Bros. and Street Fighters games so long ago. However, with Jerry Bruckheimer onboard, this film is a relatively entertaining ride.

Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) was an orphaned child living in the slums until King Sharaman took notice of the young boy’s act of courage in a marketplace. Upon seeing this, the king decided to adopt Dastan, making him the third prince of Persia. While still true to his primitive roots, Dastan shares a close bond with his brothers and father.

When led to believe that a holy city is illegally making weapons, the Persian army leads an attack, capturing its princess. During the attack, Dastan obtains a small dagger. Unbeknownst to him, it’s a mystical dagger which is able to turn back the hands of the time.

When the king returns from prayer, Dastan is only able to spend a short amount of time with his father until he’s violently poisoned. Framed for the king’s murder, Dastan has no choice but to run for his life. During the chaos, he’s able to escape with the princess. Dastan soon realizes the connection between his father’s murder and the attack of the holy city which hid the magical dagger. With such a powerful weapon in his hands, Dastan decides that the dagger must be protected at all costs, for if evil hands lay upon it, time will be forever altered.

Though quite short on plot substance, “Prince of Persia” contains plenty of action which help the film maintain a steady pace. Are there plot holes and farfetched jumps? Sure, there’s plenty. However, knowing that the aimed demographics are families and teens, the choppy film editing and fakey CGI can be forgiven, since the film’s ride never stalls.

There’s no doubt that Jake Gyllenhaal is an excellent actor, and this film is no exception. He plays the part well, especially being able to convey unspoken emotions on the prince’s rugged face. This adds a refreshing vulnerability to the prince’s character. While the prince is awesome in battle, he still vocally stumbles when around a beautiful girl. Gemma Arterton, who plays Princess Tamina, shares the screen well with her male co-star, and the two have believable chemistry.

Objectionable Content

The PG-13 rating is primarily due to the heavy amounts of violence. The film is filled with battle scenes, so it’s definitely not appropriate for the younger crowd. Although the battles remain mostly bloodless, there are several scenes of piercing arrows and sword stabbings. There’s also a scene where a snake is slit open. When the king is murdered, he begins to be burned alive. One of the characters commits suicide by stabbing himself in order to prove the power of the dagger.

Refreshingly, I heard no profanity, but there is some mild sexual content. Princess Tamina’s clothing is mostly modest, but there are times where it’s low cut. In one scene, Dastan looks down at her necklace; the camera then zooms in on her cleavage. A group of women wearing revealing clothing is briefly shown as they giggle when setting eyes on the prince. An out of place reference is said, during battle, when a man says to his opponent, “you know what they say about men with big swords.” He then wiggles his pinky. The two leads do share a kiss, but it is brief and not overly passionate.

There are references to polytheistic religions. Several characters say they pray to their gods. There is some sorcery in being able to create sandstorms, seeing through the eyes of snakes, and the supernatural element of the dagger. However, the religious references are kept mild, and we never hear any of the prayers, and the sorcery is used by the villains.

When Princess Tamina explains the background story of the dagger, one can see that whoever created these stories borrowed heavily from Scripture. Dastan came from a poor background to a prince (Moses). It’s stated that the gods grew tired of man’s wickedness and decided to kill them all with a sandstorm (Noah’s ark). However, a girl with a pure heart spoke up on behalf of all humans (Jesus Christ). If one views the film with their teens, this would be an excellent time to discuss these references and what the true story is.

Though not a masterpiece, “Prince of Persia” is entertaining. While the performances were strong, I’d have to say that Alfred Molina is the shining cast member as Sheik Amar. It was fun seeing him in a humorous role. If looking for a popcorn movie, “Prince of Persia” might be a good choice, but just make sure to leave the young kids at home.

Violence: Heavy-to-extreme / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—Objectionable Material: Action/Violence but done in a more lighthearted manner and a few minor off color sexual reference that will go over most younger kids heads. Younger kids might find the snakes a bit too much to handle, so please know that there are a lot scary looking snakes in the movie. Not recommended for 9 and younger.

Recommendation: I think this movie is fine for the entire family over 9 years old. The jokes are relatively harmless considering the trash that is out there now days. If this movie were made 20 years ago, it would have been PG and not PG-13.

Political Agenda: They slam taxes and liberals. Jerry Bruckheimer who made this movie is believed to be a conservative, and I personally have spoken at length and believe him to be one, as well. He has an awesome heart and a great attitude. This movie was not made from some leftist agenda as some are trying to say. People are trying to say that since there was a “Pre-Emptive” attack on an innocent city, that in some way they are correlating that to the Iraqi War, which they are NOT doing.

Personal Thoughts: I loved this movie! This movie did not have perfect writing or acting but it was an absolute pleasure to watch. The story is about a peasant boy who is adopted by a King as his own, and one day believed to be his killer. He must prove his innocence find the bad guy and stop a mad man from trying to turn back time in order to become King himself. All while saving the Princess and falling in love. It’s an absolute blast and a fun ride. If you over analyze this movie then you will probably hate it, but if you leave your brain at home and enjoy the movie for what it is, you will have a blast.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—John Kehrli—Christian Hotspot, age 36 (USA)
Positive—“Prince of Persia” was a blast. Our family is serious about watching what we see and hear. We are Christ’s and should not fill our lives with trash. “Prince of Persia” is a clean movie with lots of fun and a great lesson to learn about loving and being loyal to your family. No language or other questionable content. These people are Persians, but the story is done well and doesn’t glorify pagan deities. I found the actual movie making quality to be quite good.

Great entertainment and a wonderful nod to the video games. I plan on buying the movie and letting my younger kids see it. The violence consists of things like a guy getting shot with arrows and sword fights. Honestly, it could have been rated PG in my opinion. Great flick.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Dallas, age 38 (USA)
Negative—This movie was an “Indiana Jones…“/“Spider Man” wanna be with cheesy/ dumb comedy spots, like in some of the latter Star Wars movies. The hero had about 500 sword fights (unscathed), and his acrobatics were over the top. My wife and I were disappointed; save your $ for something better.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Ray, age 59 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—“Prince of Persia,” essentially a great mix between “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Aladdin,” is an action-packed film that focuses on the theme of Good vs. Evil. As expected for a PG-13 movie, there are plenty of fighting sequences and scenes where people are killed, but this is in no way the focus of the movie. There is little crude language used and little, if any, sexual content. I definitely recommend this movie to men and women of all ages (13 or above, of course).
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Jade, age 16 (USA)
Positive—I went and saw this film on opening day with my dad. As a Christian girl, I definitely like to look into (Christian) movie reviews before actually going to see the movie itself. Before the movie’s release, I thoroughly enjoyed playing the video game Prince Of Persia, so as soon as I heard of the film adaptation, I got pretty excited. I’m happy to report that the film was one of my first PG-13 movies, and didn’t include any inappropriate scenes (although there were about two references which definitely could have been avoided), or bad words—the fact that this is 2010, I figured I probably couldn’t even watch certain G-RATED movies, simply because Hollywood tends to get more and more corrupt and perverse in their moviemaking skills as the years go on.

Now, for the violence in the film, it was pretty intense. Nothing too gruesome, but it flashes so quickly before your eyes that some of it is rather easy to miss. This is just my opinion, so it depends on how much blood and violence you can take, but it really was not as bloody as I thought. Ultimately, you become too wrapped up in the plot to even care about it, but my dad really got into the fighting scenes. Overall, I really liked this movie a lot, but there were many references to false gods and idols and I thought those parts were stupid (and I know my Heavenly Father thought so too).

If you’re into action, sword fighting and of course the Prince Of Persia video games, you will like this movie. If not, I’d still highly recommend it for older teens, as it is a great summer flick!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Rockett, age 15 (USA)
Neutral—…I was very surprised to not hear any swearing! I was not thinking the movie was going to be that good, there is one part though when the camera zooms up on the princess' chest to show a necklace that holds the sands of time, but, other then that, the movie was very clean.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Jamie, age 14 (USA)
Positive—I really enjoyed this movie. I went with my 10 year old brother and I think that the rating should be PG instead of PG-13, because other the arrows shooting and knives, there isn’t anything very gruesome. I think that anyone over 8 or 9 could enjoy it, although you might want to explain that it isn’t real.

I wasn’t expecting to like it, but instead I had a great time. It could be a good movie to bring a family with older kids to. It wasn’t offensive biblically and had thought behind all the characters, making it an enjoyable film.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Christina, age 14 (Canada)
Positive—A really good movie, slightly objectionable in the violence department and the princess' revealing costumes. Daston has a sarcastic mind set, but I enjoyed that as I’m sarcastic {sometimes}, also. The cobra-controlling villains might be scary for younger viewers. There is reference to pagan gods and as Christians we know there are no other gods out there except our one true Savior, and if there are any homeschoolers reading this then you’ll probably be able to understand what I mean when I say that considering our “classical education,” we can get a good laugh out of those “fake” gods. ;)

All in all, a very good movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Elaine Dalton, age 17 (USA)
Positive—This is one of the best movies I have ever seen! The acting was incredible! The fighting scenes (almost bloodless) were some of the best I’ve ever seen(and I’ve seen lots of action movies). There was only one part in a fighting scene where someone makes a crude comment. Overall, this was a fantastic movie and I will be buying it when it comes out.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Brianna, age 13 (USA)
Positive—Amazing! I loved the movie. There were a couple of parts that were objectionable—constant killing, and stuff about gods. There were no bad words that were used. The stunts were amazing! Although I wouldn’t let kids under 8 watch this movie. I loved it!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Bethany, age 12 (USA)
Positive—Compared to all the other movies out this year, Prince if Persia was squeaky clean. There was no sexual scenes, no nudity, and very very little swearing. The only “objectionable” content would be the violence, but it was all very quick and, although there were a lot of deaths, there was no blood.

The whole premise of this movie is basically the Bible. If you compare the plot of the movie (besides the time traveling) to Jesus coming and saving us and his willingness to give his life for us, you basically have a Bible story with differently named characters. In all, the movie was fantastic (except for the few over done Matrix like scenes) and the best film I’ve seen this year.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Gemma, age 16 (USA)
Positive—“Prince of Persia: Sands of Time” is an amazing movie! My favorite thing about this movie is that there are absolutlely no swear words. It also has a lot of good lessons such as: A true king listens to the advice of council, but always follows his heart. And: Have the courage to do what you know in your heart to be right no matter the consequences. And much more. There are a couple somewhat objectionable comments but not very bad. This is my all-time favorite movie, and I own it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Brianna, age 14 (USA)
Positive—I disagree with Ray 59, “Prince of Persia” was not cheesy, had a good moral and was excellent. It did have some scary images, but wasn’t bad. It did not have sex, nudity, or anything like that. The movie was great. It was so good that I have watched six times in one month! It is a great Disney family movie, but might be questionable for children under 6.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Liviya, age 13 (USA)