Prince of Persia! The one movie I can proudly tell you was terrible..... but was so so so awesome!
Okay so the movie is about Dastan, the prince of the Persian empire who comes into possession of a mythical dagger that allows the user to turn back time after leading an invasion into the city of Alamut under false pretenses by his evil uncle, Nizam. But before he can explore the full capabilities of the dagger, he is wrongly accused of murdering his father and goes on the run with the dagger and it's protector, Princess Tamina to clear his name and thwart his uncle who's plans threatens the Persian empire.
Now I know you're kinda confused with me saying that this movie was terrible but also awesome. Let me try to explain. See.... this movie is bullshit. But it's just so much fun to watch. It's one of those movies you watch and go, "Well that was stupid.. but damn that's cool." Prince of Persia is in every way a Bruckheimer popcorn flick that understands the limitations of it's genre but works well within it.
I've got to bring up the whole casting issues in this movie. First of, I am one of those guys who believes that race casting isn't an issue if the actor can pull off the character they are playing. In Prince of Persia, we saw some excellent casting choices of Caucasian actors playing Persian characters such as Alfred Molina as Sheik Amar and Ben Kingsley as Nizam. Alfred Molina, because he brings great comic relief in the same vein as Sallah from Raiders of the Lost Ark and Ben Kingsley for obvious reasons... because he was Ghandhi and he can do whatever the fuck he wants.
But then there is the casting of the two leads, Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton. This is where the movie loses rating points. Because just as it happened on Pirates of the Caribbean, the two main actors who are more attractive than talented were wrongly casted alongside fantastic supporting actors and ends up getting upstaged.
Jake Gyllenhaal was actually a fine choice for the role of Dastan because of the amounts of action, roof-scaling scenes he had to do. And I did like how he didn't try to be an all out manly action hero, Gyllenhall the boyish playfulness we have come to expect from him into his swashbuckling character which I thought was great. But the real problem was that he has absolutely no chemistry with Gemma Arterton who is stunningly gorgeous but has the most irritating high pitched voice, even Kristen Chenoweth would be insulted.
And what about the shitty storyline? OMG.. Nizam's evil plot to take over the throne of Persia is one of the most convoluted plans I have ever seen. His plan is pretty much the entire 6 seasons of Lost actually. It has time travel, purging and killing 12 year old boys. I'm watching this and I'm just thinking to myself.. "Well that don't make no sense." "So like, you kill your brother, to frame your nephew, to free up some time to go look for some magic sand, so you can go back in time... and kill your brother again? Smart"
But with all that being said, there is a reason why Prince of Persia is being considered the best video game adaptation film to date. And while I still think Advent Children will forever hold the number 1 spot, Prince of Persia is a close second. Prince of Persia succeeds because it chooses to focus more on it's characters and storytelling rather than having a slave-ish devotion to the video game and trying to incorporate the entire game into 1 hour 30 minutes.
And another thing that gives Prince of Persia the leg up over other video game adaptations is the budget. The Arabic world they've created in this movie, the costumes, the art direction, the cinematography, even the score is stunningly beautiful. I haven't seen Arabian set pieces look so epic in scale since Arabian Nights.
And damn the CGI was awesome. Prince of Persia was packed to the brim with loads of spectacle, very nicely made CGI action set pieces, mostly involving sand storms and disintegrating sand castles. And I like this film, being a Disney movie because it has slightly more violence in it. For once, we actually see people being pierced by the sword and being hit by the damn arrow. And blood! Cooool!
So anyway, the film is a very good, enjoyable, well made video game to screen adaptation. Prince of Persia is going to be one of those guilty pleasure movies cause it's tonnes and tonnes of fun but ultimately stupid and pointless.