Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Prince of Persia: But I really am a Persian!

Sands of Time is to be the first in a series of seven movies based on the presumably-soon-to-be legendary (if not already) Prince of Persia (PoP) video games. A quick summary might be helpful for newbies, no?
PoP tells the story of a young street urchin named Dastan whose parents were murdered by a powerful fakir who aimed to overthrow the Persian Empire. However, when the sorcerer turned to kill Dastan, he failed, for some mysterious reason.

Word of the urchin’s ‘victory’ against the once-thought undefeatable fakir spread far and wide, and eventually reached the ears of the King of Persia, who took Dastan into his care and placed him in the renowned Persian Royal Academy of Fakirism…

Oh, alright. Even if you’ve never played the games (neither have I), you would have noticed that I was just trash-talking (an old habit, much too enjoyable to give up), fusing PoP with the story of a certain bespectacled boy wizard.

Anyway, Dastan is a street urchin. No lie there. One day, while riding through the city, the King sees Dastan stand up to a rowdy soldier. Impressed by his bravery, he adopts him as one of his own sons. Fast forward several years later, and Dastan is, well, a Prince.

His thus-far fairy-tale like life gets turned upside down when his father is assassinated and he gets blamed for it. Finding himself on the run with the Princess Tamina, he tries to restore his good name and in the process, gets drawn into a greater conflict involving a struggle to control an ancient artifact, a dagger capable of releasing the mystical ‘Sands of Time’.

That should be enough for the summary, I think. Some critics have panned this movie for not having a, well, real Persian play the Prince of Persia. Personally I don’t care too much for them. What’s important is that he looks and acts the part well, the he in question being Jake Gyllenhaal.

Director (or was it producer?) Jerry Bruckheimer responded by saying that many Persians in that era did actually have blond locks and blue eyes, up until the coming of the Turks. Or Ottomans. Whatever. The only other person I can think of who could have pulled off that role is the chap who plays Sayid from the TV series Lost, and even then I think he’s an Indian.

These critics should really focus their attention on another movie due to hit the silver screen anytime now- Avatar: The Last Airbender, directed by M. Night Shyamalan. If you’ve watched the cartoon series on which the movie is based on, you will notice that Ang (the main character) is very obviously Asian, specifically, of the Oriental breed. Even so, Mr. Night has chosen a very obviously white kid for the role. Unlike Bruckheimer, who came up with historical (if perhaps unattributed) facts in his defense, good old Night just said that ‘we have assembled one of the most international casts for this movie’. Put a sock in it, will ya?

Back to PoP. It’s a fun movie. Watch it for the thrills. If you liked Pirates of the Caribbean, give PoP a go. Jake is no Johnny Depp, but he does his job reasonably well. My only complaint is that there was hardly any breathing time- it was non-stop action all the way. Oh, and watch it for the most delightful women’s fashion since Cleopatra showed up in Julius Caesar’s room in a carpet. The ending resorted to a deus ex machina moment to save the day, but this is a Disney movie, after all- we can’t have the audience come out sobbing, can we?

Edit: Eh? Pretty short post for once, hehe.


  1. @A20-man: Hmm, which reminds me... I should really watch "Pirates of the Caribbean" some time, huh. ^_^

  2. @Jay: Gah. Wouldn't have spotted a typo in this post if not for your comment, trying to figure out how PotC came into the picture. As for your comment though, yup, Jack Sparrow takes precedence over any prince anytime:)