If you’re expecting Prince Of Persia: The Sands of Time to be anything like the game it is named after, stop right now. It takes the term “adaptation” seriously and runs with a story that definitely belongs in the Prince of Persia universe, but in no way reflects the games. There are a few cinematic moments that reference the game play, and it made me grin. (There were also a few gorgeous aerial shots that could have been straight out of Assassin’s Creed.) Someone in that production crew really likes video games.
Our Prince has a name, and it is Dastan. Dastan is a street orphan the king saves from dismemberment because the boy displays courage and bravery that really catches his eye. (Or it might have been his amazing free-running/parkour routine across the roof tops of Persia.) Dastan joins the royal family which consists of his new adoptive father, an uncle, two brothers, and a few mothers that we never see.
The three princes and their uncle are planning to invade and conquer the holy city of Alumut. Therein starts Dastan’s problems. Soon after they successfully take over the city, Bad Things happen. He has to run off with the feisty princess Farah Tamina, who is basically the guardian of the shiny dagger Dastan fights a guy for. She doesn’t tell him anything about it until he accidently releases the sand and finds out what it does. (Which is a pretty neat CGI sequence, by the way.) After he (unintentionally) releases all the sand in the dagger and makes her angry he finds out what it does, but not the whole story. As the story proceeds we run into an ostrich race, desert baddies, a political conspiracy theorist (who hates taxes) and some comedic adventures that take a steep turn into the serious by the end of the movie.
It takes an hour and a half, but Tamina finally tells Dastan everything about the dagger and in the end it all comes down to stopping Mr. Baddie from destroying the very awesome looking hour glass and releasing all of the sands, which would mean the end of Alamut and the world! (Gods were so vengeful back then.
I haven’t said much about the action sequences, have I? Well, there’s a lot of them. They’re what make the movie. There’s swordplay, knife throwing, ostrich riding, whips, snakes, agility and acrobatics, archery, explosions, fire! At its core, this was an action flick, and it’s what saved the movie from going the route of a horrible adaption. It was adapted from a game based on action and acrobatics, and that’s what was created.
The visuals and the soundtrack are gorgeous. (They even used some of the songs from the games!) While it probably sucks to actually be in the desert, it was great to look at in an air-conditioned theatre. The costumes were interesting, and the actors were gritty and dirty and I imagine they smelled a lot like the people behind me. Unintentional Smell-O-Vision, right? I spent two hours in the theatre watching the movie and it was an enjoyable two hours. I went in expecting a bad movie about a game, and discovered it was a decent movie that borrowed a story from a great series. That was a good move.
It’s a good addition to the Prince of Persia media franchise, and quite the entertaining two hours. Go see it, especially if you like Pirates of the Caribbean style of films.