Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (PG-13) - 2010 - Runtime: 116 minutes
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley
Director: Mike Newell
Hollywood and video games don't necessarily mix and to my knowledge, there has not been a really good movie that's based on video games (I wouldn't consider Resident Evil good. Decent, but not good). Many people have tried, but there seems to be a curse and the notorious director Uwe Boll has built his reputation off of bad movie adaptations, only adding to this legend. I don't think the curse has been lifted, but Prince of Persia does a very good job at being a movie that invokes the spirit of the video game, rather than adapting it directly.
Gyllenhaal, despite being extremely white, plays Destan, an orphan in Persia who has a lot of street smarts. One day after being chased by some royal guards, the king takes notice of his skills and adopts him as one of his own. Fast forward twenty some years and the kingdom of Persia is about to invade an innocent city that holds an ancient secret - the sands of time, a device that can replay the past. There is a lot going on in the movie, but it's not too hard to follow. There's never a point where I was totally confused as to what's going on. It moves at a brisk pace and there's never a dull moment. I was completely into the world they created. Which is funny, because I was totally expecting this movie to be dead in the eyes and just a bunch of fancy effects.
The movie has a lot of heart, though and Gyllenhaal is charismatic as the lead. Arterton, whom I'm already in love with, plays the princess well, too. Kingsley as the bad guy is good, although he seems kind of shoved to the side as a character. Alfred Molina is the comic relief and fortunately, he's funny for the most part, but more importantly, not annoying like those two "urban" Autobots in the second Transformers movie, or the extremely annoying roommate. And everything just works in the movie, from the action to the reversal of time, to the badassness of the assassins. It's too bad it never really took off at the theaters because I'm clamoring for more of this world. I think Newell (who directed one of the Harry Potter movies) has done a fantastic job of creating this supernatural world.
While I wouldn't say it's an earth-shattering event movie of the summer, it's quite good and delivers the promise of what all good summer action movies have: fun entertainment. I love the Prince of Persia video games and by far, this is the best video game movie I've seen.
Rating: See It!