Friday, May 28, 2010

Let's All Go to the Lobby!

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Disney doles out yet another sandals and swords epic on a wearied audience. Jake Gyllenhaal shuffles through two hours of sand in this video game adaptation. That phrase should be enough to stop you: "video game adaptation." Has that ever really worked? I know critics were skeptical of comic book adaptations for being nothing more than fanboy fluff pieces, but some strong work has risen above the genre. When I think of video game movies, nothing great comes to mind. Any suggestions?

The film is set in Persia, where people speak with British accents. Gyllenhaal plays a man, Dastan, who used to be a street urchin until he was adopted by the king of Persia. Dastan finds a mystic knife that can turn back time for whoever bears the knife. He slowly realizes a plot formulated by his uncle to take over the throne and Dastan sets out to stop him.

The special effects in this film seem to be almost second rate when compared to films which have come out in the last year (Avatar, District 9, Iron Man 2). For a Disney production with so much invested into it, one would think the production value would be just a bit more developed. Gemma Arterton does her best to convince American audiences to care about her, but it will be difficult to disregard her sandals and swords fetish.

The film is rather droll and doesn't really engage the viewer. It's the standard 'hero discovering his destiny' plot, with a little parkour mixed in to dazzle the younger crowd. Alfred Molina was welcomed as comic relief and he really gives a great performance no matter what kind of character he's tasked with embodying (An Education, Spider-Man 2, Boogie Nights, Coffee and Cigarettes). Overall, however, there isn't enough to fully enthrall the viewer: the story lacks depth, the actors don't seem to take their roles seriously, the British accents are unforgivable, and the special effects are lacking. Skip it.

a preview of the new film, "Micmacs" directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet

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