Prince of Persia, the Sands of Time

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: Walt Disney Pictures

MPAA Rating: PG 13

Director: Mike Newell

Review Rating: 8.5

Based on the wildly popular video game, Prince of Persia is the story of an adopted Prince who joins forces with a mystical Princess from a rival kingdom, to stop a power-mad ruler from destroying the world!

It’s actually pretty good, and this is from someone who had to endure watching all the Prince of Persia video games being played. Jake Gyllenhaal makes the whole stunt dive off a roof and wall climbing sideways things look very real. Everyone who’s ever played (or watched) the video games knows POP likes to make you get very athletic with the controls. However, and especially you video game geeks, the drawback to making a movie this late means you’re going to get all sorts of unflattering comparisons to things like Assassin’s Creed and Aladdin.

That being said, the plot isn’t bad either. Apparently when the King of Persia was younger, he witnessed an act of bravery and defiance out in the marketplace (Dastan as a child, saves a friend from a potential beat-down at the hands of a Noble) and decided he would adopt that child who he said, may not have the blood, but certainly has the spirit, of a true Prince of Persia. Which, while noble in sentiment, of course breeds resentment from those who consider themselves to be, as they say, of The Blood. Years later, Dastan emerges as a young man with great combat skillz, daring in spades, and a true love for his adopted father. After being misinformed about the whole adventure, Dastan and his brothers invade Al-Amut and take the city, only to have their father by poisoned robe during the victory celebration afterwards. Not uncommon so far, the political rivalry and backstabbing, often literally, was commonplace in the old Persian kingdoms. (As were the hareems and men of means having more than one wife.) The old King dies, Dastan is of course blamed for it by his brothers, and believes that only his arrogant and wicked adopted Uncle can save his honor. We movie buffs do know better, right? Dastan finds himself custodian of a special dagger, hefted from the Princess and Priestess of Al-amut, that magically turns back time for the wielder. And off Dastan goes into adventure, with the reticent Princess and a whole host of other strange friends, enemies, and old-fashioned Persia as a backdrop!

It is a little like a much more adult version of Aladdin, and for those of you purists who’ve seen and prefer Assassin’s Creed, just please remember, Prince of Persia was here first! At least, the video game was. The movie is an enjoyable romp through an already well-beloved story, and deserves to be tried at least once!

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