An unofficial follow up to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Prince Of Persia tries to start a new blockbuster franchise starring jake Gyllenhaal as the titular prince. Well he’s an unofficial prince as he was a kid from the streets who got a adopted by the king one day. Dastan is his name and compared to his real royal brothers he’s more of a field agent than a commander in chief.
Early on he and his crew breach a holy city that is pretty well guarded. He does this because there are rumors of weapons of mass destruction being there which are meant for countries who are enemies of Persia. Even when they are out of office the Bush administration is the target of the writers of Hollywood. I could just imagine Bush, Cheney or Powell watching this movie with their families. Not even save for criticism on their work while watching a Disney movie.
So after he successfully breaches this city he obtains a special dagger. This dagger has the possibility to let the person holding it go back in time which instantly makes the movie less involving as every tragedy that happens can be undone by going back in time. The original Superman movie cheated with time travel by first letting Lois die and then have Superman spin the earth backwards so hard that time was even going backwards. A cheat that partially ruined that movie but as it is early on established what the power of the dagger is an even bigger cheat on this movie. Everybody that dies can come back in a blink of an eye, two blinks at max. The power of time travel is a tricky one and should be used sparingly. Just look at the Back To The Future trilogy; it incorporated time travel but it was more about getting the machine to work than to actually travel in time.
A lot of hijinx occurs which has our Prince being set up as being responsible for the death of his surrogate father, the king so he must flee to prove his innocence. It’s really The Fugitive set in ancient times with a special dagger. He meets a variety of characters like the feared Sheik Amar, who really has a thing against taxes. Did I mention there is some political commentary in this movie?
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is really a movie that is supposed to be the surprise hit the Pirates of the Caribbean was a couple of years ago. The problem is that when you so obviously want something to be a surprise it fails and Prince of Persia feels too calculated. Jake Gyllenhaal is no Johnny Depp and Dastan the unofficial prince is far less interesting than pirate Jack Sparrow.
It’s all by the numbers. The movie does what it’s supposed to do and nothing more. It is entertaining but when Ben Kingsley (with eye shadow) is one of your main characters it isn’t too hard to guess who is going to turn out to be the villain. That’s just a shame. The makers played it too safe resulting in a movie without the slightest hint of being more than a kid-friendly action fantasy movie. OK, so maybe the political commentary but that is probably lost on the target audience; Kids.