Laura and I drove to Kingman, AZ yesterday for a wedding rehearsal and wedding that I will be officiating this afternoon. Kingman is not a big town, so once the rehearsal was over we were looking for something to do. Thankfully there is a movie theater in town, so along with some friends we decided to see what was showing. After a quick perusal of the offerings (and checking them against my favorite movie review site) we decided that “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” was for us.
You can read the Plugged In review here.
I was interested in this movie because I used to manage a video game store. This movie is based off of a video game of the same name that was one of my favorites. It had a good plot line, lots of acrobatics, and a neat “hook” that let the makers of the game make it very difficult but still playable. I was really hoping that the movie would carry the art style of the game forward and that it wouldn’t be campy.
I was really pleased with the results! I am very sensitive to sexual content, and while the love story between Dastan and Tamina was one of the major plot arcs the presentation was really tasteful. Laura is really sensitive to graphic violence and with the exception of a single scene she thought it was great too. So from those perspectives the movie was very watchable.
I loved the cinematography. The art style and action sequences were amazing. The CGI of the wide shots of Persian cities was fantastic, and the acrobatics of the movie were really top notch. Just like the games of the same name, the movie showcased an acrobatic style reminiscent of parkour or freerunning.
I loved Sheik Amar, who was played by Alfred Molina. He is an unabashed capitalist and entrepreneur, whose goal in life is to avoid paying taxes to Persian bureaucrats. He was consistently hilarious throughout the movie. Jake Gyllenhaal plays a very believable Dastan. Laura and I were both impressed with the casting of Gemma Arterton as Tamina, the princess and love interest. She was feisty and funny in appropriate places; more than that, while she is attractive she breaks the mold of bombshell beauty that leading romantic interests often take.
I also really appreciated the moral message of the movie. (plot spoilers ahead) In the very beginning of the movie, the king adopts Dastan because even though he is a street boy he shows integrity and a willingness to sacrifice himself for others. The movie is a classic good vs. evil play as well, with the good guys overcoming in the end. Dastan is framed for his father’s murder, and through the course of the movie he maintains loyalty to his family at great personal cost. He never tries to take advantage of Tamina and grows as a character.
There is a great scene in the movie where Dastan’s father tells him that he is a good man, but that he has the capability to be a great man and should do the right thing regardless of the personal cost. Dastan follows his dad’s advice at a pivotal moment late in the movie, and it pays off for him in earning him the trust of his brother who has assumed the throne.
The movie is set in ancient Persia, so there is a pantheon of gods. Tamina is a priestess of a god who isn’t named. The whole movie revolves around a dagger that has the ability to turn back time in 1-minute increments which was given to humanity by the gods, who will be angered and destroy the earth if the dagger is misused. Personally this didn’t make the movie difficult to watch for me, because the whole premise of the movie is fantasy. Go in knowing that there will be no authentic worship of the true God!
Tamina is introduced in a fairly clingy outfit and wears a revealing outfit once. I wasn’t bothered by her attire and I am sensitive to sexual imagery.
The title of the movie is biblical…Daniel 10:20 in particular. In that text, the Prince of Persia is likely a reference to Satan! However, I don’t think that the movie picks that up at all and certainly Dastan is an honorable and good man.
I loved this movie. I thought it was well-written and directed. I thought the characters were well played and interesting, and the plot had a nice development and twist in the end. It’s not quite the spiritual training that The Book of Eli or The Blind Side are, but it’s fun. Laura and I liked it enough that we are thinking that our oldest two kids (13 and almost 11) would probably enjoy it and it would be okay for them. If you’re looking for a good action movie with a love interest in it, this is a good one!