Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger
|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), See all »
|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.
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.