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Lost in Time

  • Jan 3, 2011
*1/2 out of ****

Disney needs to realize two things. One of those things is that they haven't came out with a good swashbuckling actioner since the "Pirates of the Caribbean" trilogy gave up the gun. The other thing they need to realize is that in 2010, the "Clash of the Titans" remake released, rendering the existence of "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" nearly useless. I'm guessing you know what I mean by all of that: "Clash of the Titans" was a mostly boring action film loaded up with unimpressive CGI and loads of clichéd themes, characters, and whatnot. "Prince of Persia" is all of these things, but there is but one thing that makes it different; it's a VIDEO GAME adaptation instead of a REMAKE. Whoa, Disney. That's really original. Now, I think we all have a rough history with Video Game-to-film adaptations. "Doom", "Resident Evil", "House of the Dead". What's next? Well apparently, "Prince of Persia" is "what's next". And it's as disappointing as I expected it to be. First of all, the casting choices and the director throw away any chance of selling points for me, personally. Jack Gyllenhaal is cast as the Prince, which means he has to carry a sword and rescue princesses and....ah, screw it. He does a lot of stuff, but everything is completely devoid of inspiration. I liked it back in the day when Gyllenhaal was in movies like "Donnie Darko" and "Brokeback Mountain". Those were both great films, not only for Gyllenhaal's career, but for films in general. And who else to randomly helm this adaptation than Mike Newell. What surprises me is how the director of such a great film as "Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire" can make a film as bad as this. I suppose it happens to everyone, but come on. The guy doesn't seem to give a damn about whether his film is good or where it's all going to end up. Instead of providing an interesting plot, he gives us an overdose of the bad genre drugs known as bad editing (on the action scenes particularly), poor performances, and a complete lack of inspiration. Long story short, this film is not the dumb fun that it may think it is. For some people it will have a different impact, but in a world where every action film is this clichéd, nearly everything feels somewhat "bad". On the bright side, "Prince of Persia" is "fun" for the WHOLE family! It's like Disney's "Pirates" trilogy; except in the Desert. The tricky thing is finding out whether we cared that "Prince of Persia" was family-fare and/or took place in the desert. I know that I personally didn't give a hoot, and wanted more out of the experience. But as only Disney can, "Prince of Persia" ends up being a cliché-laden Hollywood disaster that could only come out of misfortune and a genuine lack of intelligence.

Young Dastan was an Orphaned boy living in the slums of the Persian Empire until one day he came across the king himself. The king saw great potential in Dastan, and took him in as his adopted son; making young Dastan but one of three children. From then on, Dastan grows up under the ever-sheltering wing of royalty. Dastan, much like his other two brothers, could be destined for royalty one day. But as of now, he agrees to tag along on the Kingdom's quest(s). One particular exploit he follows his brothers on is the attempt to overthrow the sacred city of Alamut. There, Dastan meets a beautiful princess with a priceless and powerful secret. Soon, Dastan is sucked into a world of magic and time-travel-via-mystical-dagger, and goes on a little adventure of his own. You know, it's nothing more than the typical adventure movie; guy goes on an adventure, has some battles, finds love, and whatnot. It's all so familiar that "Prince of Persia's" dumb factor is actually TAKEN DOWN a couple knots. I say this because "Prince of Persia" WANTS to be dumb, but I will not give it the satisfaction. The plot itself may not be what you went in for to begin with, but come on. This is pathetic to unthinkable ends. Why, there might as well not BE a plot. Yet, the "writers" attempt to do something with this little adventure, but as you can see they simply didn't do enough to impress anybody. Therefore, "Prince of Persia" is rendered a mostly boring, thoughtless, and stupid potboiler. Why is it that films are so devoid of plot, beauty, or even craft? Maybe it's because Money is more important to Bruckheimer than the honor of actually producing a decent film for once. Or maybe it's that all the good filmmakers are dying, and the world of film itself may soon be overthrown by the Dynasty of Suck.

Jake Gyllenhaal provides us with one of his absolute worst performances yet. I'm not saying that it's god-awful, nor is it emotionless, but Gyllenhaal feels more like a pretentious wisecracker than an adventurer with an outlandish sense of humor. The same might as well go for Gemma Arterton's performance, which feels more like a sell-out than an actual act of performance finesse. There's nothing much to these actors than visual appeal; Gyllenhaal a heartthrob for the ladies, and Arterton a majestic mirage for the men. I can't get aside from the fact that the only good actor in the film is Alfred Molina, who is somewhat charming and even amusing to watch. Maybe this is because in order to create a generic film, you need comic relief. And this time around, Molina's comic relief is effective, but it's never enough to save "Prince of Persia" from being a waste of talent. Oh, and maybe I should mention that Ben Kingsley is in this film as well, and yes, he too goes to waste. Shame on you, Hollywood!

As can be expected from a Video Game-based film adaptation, "Prince of Persia" spends more time glorifying visuals than it does intelligence. The whole production feels down-right stupid and pretentious; even in the visuals department. The costume design is genuinely good, but the CGI is just an endless bowl of "meh". Even the cinematography feels kind of muddled, particularly because the action sequences are so poorly edited that it exterminates any potential for them to even look good. Aside from visuals, "Prince of Persia" tries desperately to get a certain "style" going. I'm guessing that part of this is supposed to be due to the silly tone of the action sequences, although the pretentious sense of seriousness in the tone of the film's story-telling happens to interfere greatly with all of this. Overall, I don't think that "Prince of Persia" accomplishes anything that it wanted to. It is a film made for profit, not admiration. It comes to no surprise that the film's big producer is Jerry Bruckheimer. Overall, there's not much to look at. "Prince of Persia" is a generic, stupid action flick that shall be forgotten all-too easily. It might appeal to some who see it as the dumb fun that it is intended to be, but to others such as me; it's just dumb, devoid of the "fun".

Perhaps what went wrong here is the fact that this is a Video Game adaptation. I can't remember the last time that one of those actually worked, although on the bright side, at least it wasn't directed by the infamous likes of Uwe Boll. Still, that doesn't exactly excuse "Prince of Persia" from being the boring thing that it is. Everything about the movie just feels...bland. It attempts to be "cool", fails, and ends up being family entertainment that is sure to bore even the most tolerant of adults. Please, by all means avoid watching it. Of course, the movie itself isn't really "unwatchable", but it's hard as hell to recommend a movie when it is a dangerous combination of intentional but unsuccessful stupidity, bad attempts at lame humor, and even poor stylistic elements. This film is nothing more than a muddled CGI-fest; typical of a Video Game adaptation. I do suppose that Video Games are like this these days, although if that is so, why do they make films based off of them? It just doesn't work. The film lovers don't like it. Hell, even the gamers don't appreciate a franchise such as "Prince of Persia" gets butchered like this. And I'm surprised to say that even the Video Game installments can't do much worse than this. Overall, watch the thing at your own risk. But do you really want to watch a potboiler for two hours instead of spending your time elsewhere? Think about it real hard, and then put this mess back on the shelf for good.

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January 09, 2011
I wonder what a non Disney version would have been?
January 09, 2011
Yeah. Probably better.
January 03, 2011
This was better than most video game adaptations but it was still pretty bad. Nice review!
January 03, 2011
Thanks. It's nothing but a muddled mess of accumulated filth.
More Prince of Persia: The Sands of... reviews
review by . November 24, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
They sure had some nice dentists back in Persia
Prince of Persia could be the start of another genre series of high action, special effect laden romps in the some vein as Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean films.  You got old tales of yore, colorful supporting casts, hissable villains and attractive leads in the heroes.  You also got some light entertainment that isn't too demanding of a story to entertain you, maybe it's too light.      A young boy names Datsun is taken in one day by the King of Persia …
review by . January 22, 2011
We all know the history of videogame-to-movie adaptations, especially those made by the infamous Uwe Boll. Pretty much every single one of them has sucked, except this one. Prince of Persia is definitely the best videogame movie ever made, but that's not saying much, so I tend not to judge it as a videogame movie but instead as a popcorn movie. It definitely succeeded in what it was meant to do also because the few people that were in the theatre looked happy.      In terms …
review by . November 29, 2013
posted in Movie Hype
Before seeing PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME for the first time, I was already somewhat familiar with the general premise of the story because I had played a couple of video games the movie is based upon. The movie follows prince Dastan (Jake Gyllenhall), the adopted son of King Sharaman (Ronald Pickup). In the aftermath of the invasion of an enemy city, Dastan takes a strange dagger filled with sand as spoils of the war and the city's princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton) is captured. Shortly …
review by . May 29, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Action-Adventure In the Sands of CGI Eye Candy!
   Video game to film adaptations. We all know such efforts are always found wanting and video games are hardly ever given the respect they deserve. So why do we still always have high expectations for films that are based on video games? I think it is because of the hope that we may see our favorite video game characters come to life in a credible motion picture. Well, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and his “Pirates of the Caribbean” crew have recruited director Mike Newell to …
review by . May 29, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Nizam, Dastan & Tamina,
Let me be honest. The only real reason I wanted to see Prince of Persia was to see Gemma Arterton in a role with more screen time than her character “Io” in this year’s Clash of the Titans. To my surprise, PoP: The Sands of Time actually had some depth to it… something I wasn’t expecting going into the movie. It should be mentioned that Persia had quite the uphill battle considering its roots in the videogame genre. Historically, videogame movies haven’t exactly …
review by . June 01, 2010
Long ago in the mystical land of Persia there is a story told of a man, a man who is said to be destined to be a hero, a man would save his kingdom from an evil underhanded force that threatens to undone all that is good. This man is destined to become royalty but he is not born of royal blood this man is destined to become a hero. A hero known as The Prince of Persia "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" is a visually stunning and grand special effects extravaganza  that  is …
Quick Tip by . November 24, 2010
Far out fantasy in the Middle East where a Prince and Princess keep an artifact out of hands of the evil that is Ben Kingsley. Decent enough and I've sat through worse.
Quick Tip by . December 04, 2010
A film celebrating Persians but played by actors all with British accents? Don't look for ANY historical accuracy here!
Quick Tip by . November 02, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
its got nothing on the game but hey i liked it anyway. the only bad thing about it is it reminds me a little to much of the pirates movies and the national treasure films...but the CGI omg! worth the watch.
Quick Tip by . September 28, 2010
Again a video game-inspired film proves to be entirely predictable and wholly unsatisfying as a piece of storytelling. This being a Jerry Bruckheimer production, I knew that style would overtake substance, but still I hoped that there would be some form of characterization here. Alas, not so much. The plot is mess and fails to explain itself at times while at other times it allows for the characters to make logical jumps that are ludicrous. There are plotholes big enough for an ostrich and a camel …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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About this movie


Set in medieval Persia, the story of an adventurous prince who teams up with a rival princess to stop an angry ruler from unleashing a sandstorm that could destroy the world. Which is why after the prince was tricked by a dying Vizier to unleash the Sands of Time that turns out to destroy a kingdom and transforms its populace into ferocious demons. In his effort to save his own kingdom and redeem his fatal mistake, it's up to the prince and the princess to return the sands to the hourglass by using the Dagger of Time, which also gives him a limited control over the flow of time.
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Director: Mike Newell
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: May 28th, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: September 14, 2010
Runtime: 116 minutes
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures, Jerry Bruckheimer Films
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