Rabid Movie Review: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley and Alfred Molina (with trailer video)

Set in the mystical lands of Persia, a rogue prince and a mysterious princess race against dark forces to safeguard an ancient dagger capable of releasing the Sands of Time -- a gift from the gods that can reverse time and allow its possessor to rule the world. (Written by Walt Disney Pictures)

He may not look as though he fit’s in to be a ruler in ancient Persia, but Jake Gyllenhaal gives his all to the role of Prince Dastan, adopted son of a king in the middle of a violent, political war. You'll quickly look past the film's faults (of which there are a few) and fall with him into a mystical, complicated tale across the desert and time.


Disney’s Persia lives up to what it promised: lavish sets, death-defying action and magical lore. The progression of the story is fun and will keep you entertained, though the writing is rather lazy. Exposition is delivered hastily, as Dastan figures out thousand-year-old secrets instantly to alert the audience to what’s happening on-screen. And more often than not, when our heroes have to get to or enter an impenetrable location, they just “show up” there without any explanation of how they successfully pulled it off. Fortunately for viewers, the chemistry of the cast, fast pace of the action and the fantastic visuals will cast a spell on your senses.

Prince of Persia is a fun, rocket-race of a film that is getting a perfectly timed May release. Gyllenhaal and the mesmerizing Gemma Arterton carry the picture — their wit and palpable chemistry riding a roller coaster of a story from beginning to end. Notable supporting performances include Sir Ben Kingsley doing his typical movie-villain performance, and Alfred Molina as a wisecracking sidekick who drops topical political humor in the ancient desert.

You could do much worse than Prince of Persia, and I’m certain the tween boys will eat it up. The film deviated from the story of the video game a great deal, but keeps the vital parts intact. Prince of Persia manages to get beyond trying to be a good "video-game-to-film adaptation," and ends up being a good film on its own merits. It's also a lot of fun, as long as you don’t ask too many questions and just let the cast and the action dazzle your senses.

Films based on popular video game franchises often go from foolproof idea to black eye for the filmmakers the second the public gets a look at them. In our age of sophisticated technology, most video games are often themselves playable movies with plots and scenery that rival the most massive Hollywood spectacles. Sadly, thus far in cinema history, few stories have successfully made the jump from motherboard to multiplex. Now Walt Disney Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer bring us Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, based on the acclaimed video game franchise. Will a buff Jake Gyllenhaal and a big budget be able to change the punch line to one of Hollywood’s favorite jokes?

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