“Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” Movie Review

     In the “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time”, the hero Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) jumps from building to building, scales walls like a spider, swoops from dizzying heights, and pulls off expert martial arts techniques all in an effort, usually, to get a away from somebody.  The film is a series of elaborate chase sequences, mostly due to the plot which involves Dastan accused of a crime he didn’t commit.  Watching this film is a bit like watching “The Matrix” crossed with the “Bourne” films set back in sword and sandal times.

     Mega Producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s annual entry in the summer foray is being marketed as a film you might like if you enjoyed his three “Pirates of the Carribean” films.  Though many of the actors in this film share the same makeup artists as Jack Sparrow, you won’t find a story here as layered and complex as those in the “Pirates” trilogy.  The film is simple really.

     Dastan is not of royal blood and is taken in off the street by King Sharaman after he shows courage and bravery in a street altercation.  King Sharaman has two additional sons, Garsiv and Tus who lead the King’s army into battle under false pretense, which sets off the events which take place throughout the film.  At the center of it all is a mysterious “Dagger of Time” which when used can allow its owner to go back in time and redo the events which has taken place.  Imagine how useful such a device would be!  It truly comes in handy throughout this film!

     I don’t like giving away plots in my reviews so I’ll stop there and say “Prince of Persia” is a good but typical summer popcorn film.  There is not a whole lot special about it, but there is really nothing bad to say either.  I was not particularly moved by the story or characters, but again, for the most part the film was entertaining.  If I were to give criticism it would be toward the script in that there was really nothing great for any of the characters to say or do.  Take away the special effects and fight scenes and your left with not one word of memorable dialogue.

     A huge bright spot in the film is its incredible special effects.  In the same fashion George Lucas brought worlds to life in the Star Wars Prequels, the effects wizards have done the same here giving us beautiful cityscapes of the sacred city of Alamut and the entire Persian Empire.  These sweeping shots blend flawlessly with the live action elements and bring a certain reality to the setting.  This is awards worthy work here.

     Jake Gyllenhaal as an action hero?  Well, lets say this is a start. I was reading a “Muscle and Fitness” article not long ago that criticized the action heros of today as being too small and “wimpy” looking as compared to the likes of Arnold and Sly.  Physique aside, Gyllenhaal looks great in the action sequences and is believable in his rugged sort of way.  I think with better material in the future, he might have something. GRADE: C+