Hello Island Guests! Today we look at another video game movie, like has become a bit of a habit. Yet after I wanted something that I remembered kind of liking. So for once I rewatched a video game movie I had fond-ish memories of? How do these feelings hold up?! Well read all about it.
The Elephant in the Room
Before we start unfortunately this is something I must discuss as it has become this has become a point of debate. This movie starsJake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsly and Alfred Molina among others. This means it casts western actors in the role of what would be another ethnicity. Even though the Prince of Persia always had an ambiguous design in the matter. Because it does this I found it named the worst video game movie of all times a lot. White-washing however I see as a problem of Hollywood, not of this movie so I will not rate the movie on that gripe. Nor will I consider ethnicity as an aspect for casting (in this movie..a modern movie that was made with the current mindset of the world I hold to other standards)
This doesn’t make me a racist because I do not care who plays the role. Just because a character is from a fictional version of Persia doesn’t mean he has to be Persian for me. Just like Tony Stark doesn’t have to be “white” or Sherlock home doesn’t have to be male. I believe everyone can add something to a part and as long as you play something entertaining and as long as you do not stereotype a race you are not.. or heck even your own race. I do not care. We are humans and I see humans trying to act here. Just like how a kid born from two systematically racist parents isn’t automatically a waste of space neither is this movie bad for existing but having nasty minded person in casting.
I get that this hits closer for some others and I do support those people fighting for their cause. I am simply saying I am not a bad person for liking this movie just because I am not bothered by this as much. I would not be bothered by a person of my race being replaced by an arab/melanated/otherwise person either. I get the ratio is skewed and that should be fixed but I see everyone as a part of humanity not it’s sub groups.. if that way of thinking makes me a horrible person I will happily hold that title. I’ll cry… but I’ll stand by my own way. I will never completely get the injustice or experience what some of you might experience. I will not pretend to know and I will continue to see everyone as humans. And unlike most video game movies, competent humans were cast here!
The Pauper in the Palace
It’s a shame that we can’t see movies apart from other stuff anymore because this movie, while not amazing by any means, does show some great moments. Well great might be exaggerating but there are some very good ones. The movie is directed by Mike Newell and produced by the guys behind Pirates of the Carribean and Disney. Mike Newell also directed Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and did some work on Young Indiana Jones. That combination is basically exactly what you are getting. Indiana Jones, mixed with Pirates a bit of Harry Potter like magic with swashbuckling like Pirates of the Caribbean. In fact it feels like the latter so much it could almost be called Pirates of Persia. I am not kidding. From the cinematography, story cues even the way lines are delivered it feels like a Pirates movie in the desert. The main character is a charming scoundrel who lost his crew after being betrayed as all he has left is some magical macguffin. Mostly causing chain reactions with stuff falling by cutting ropes, swinging to other locations and doing the “free running” thing. Dastan isn’t as annoying as Jack Sparrow either.
Jake Gyllenhaal’s Dastan is indeed a Prince of Persia so if you have never seen this movie? How can you be a Scoundrel and a Prince?! Well Dastan was an orphan boy.. very much like Alladin. When a friend of his is about to lose his hands due to stealing Dastan risks his own safety to protect his friends. This is noticed by King Sharaman who picks up the young boy and decides to give him a life in the palace. After we skip ahead a few years Dastan has grown up as the youngest son of the King, his brother Tus is next in line for the throne as Garsiv is the country’s most prominent military man. When it seems a neighbouring country smuggles weapons to their enemies, Garsiv wishes to attack the city head on. Knowing it will be a bloodbath Dastan instead uses his band of thieves and beggars to sneak into the city while jumping and leaping across plenty of obstacles and dangerous pits. This leads to a chain of events where he obtains a mysterious magical dagger and when he gifts his father a poisoned cloak .. because Persian warriors gift their king something when they conquer a city, he realises he has been set up! He flees with Princess Tamina, who is after his dagger. Together they uncover a plot to release the sands of time upon this world and are forced to save the world from inevitable destruction.
Dastan as a character is probably the strongest element of this movie. While he isn’t always that believable he actually LOOKS like the prince in the video game trilogy that it is based on and he quite oftenly acts like it was well. Of course less static and epic than the video game prince.. and he jumps less but Dastan deals with issues his video game counterpart would have to deal with as well. While not feeling as a video game adventure this feels like a somewhat proper real life interpretation of that story and with that it already does something that 90% of video game movies doesn’t do .I got somewhat right vibes. The dagger is there, it does what it does, the prince does what he does, the setting is correct even the outfit Dastan wears sometimes seems like stuff the prince wore seems pretty accurate. His lines are funny in the cliché disney swashbuckling way. A bit of a love child between Alladin and Jack Sparrow.. but it works. Some of the weird gaming logic can be applied because of how cartoony it is and while it also makes it never that investing.. it at least feels like a video game movie and that is really ALL I ask. Finally!
The Princess of Hell
Princess Tamina however… oh boy.. where Dastan is everything that is right about this movie Tamina is everything that is wrong with this movie. She plays the exact same female as that ALL the females are in these Disney adventures. ALL of them. The one Keira Knightly Played, Blackbeard’s Daughter and I completely forgot about the fifth pirates movie but I am sure the figure was there as well. I hated everything about her. While Dastan was a stereo-type as well he furthers the plot. Tamina up until the last quarter exists to stall the plot. With the stupidest ways and ploys. She could have solved everything by being honest ..but no she has to be shallow and see him as a beast even though we know they end up together… but then .. bla bla bla.. she is so bland and so annoying I was like… Dude.. she’s such a pain.. and you have a dagger! Do us a favour and plant that in her neck or heart please.
Her super posh , I think british, accent I did find rather distracting. Now I have no problem with establishing the British accent as the dialect for that country.. but no.. it’s just her. I think.. She and one other character are the only people in her country who speak and they get like two lines or something and those are super generic. So much of her scenes did not make sense. She is written like one of those power women but Gemma doesn’t have that vibe.. nor the delivery. She really sounds like just the most annoying Tsundere woman you can imagine. Dastan’s abilities are more or less consistent, he is very gullible and naive but a strong fighter in enclosed spaces with amazing spacial awareness and jumping abilities.
Tamina however has abilities that phase in and out of existence. From knowledge of ancient passages lost to man, to very fluctuating degrees of swordman ship. It almost feels like she is an afterthought. Which is kind of funny because that is exactly how the female character in any prince of persia game feels like… this one is just a LOT more annoying. Think how Leia treated Han on Echo Base (Hoth) but then CONSTANTLY that same stuff. Ugh!
While Persia has a fairly interesting story of regicide and finding the betrayer and their real intentions, her country Alamud or something.. is boring. It holds a cave that holds the sands of time..but that is really it. It is said to be a super peaceful prosperous place but it never does anything. It has an important cave and a palace with some weird trap that completely washes the foundations of a structure away without it affecting the structure. It’s a cool scene when it does and it feels pretty like Prince of Persia.. but if all you have is a cave and a palace.. and that palace makes no sense it will stand out. Again.. it’s cool but compared to what we know of Persia and it’s stories about trust and brotherhood it feels shallow. What more can you expect though with a princess that is that lame.
The Ostrich of the Camp
Dastan is the good 30% of the movie, Tamina is the bad 30% and the rest… well that is basically what you get when you copy Pirates of the Carribean and put it in a desert setting. Strangely it works better than it should. The secondary characters that get introduced.. the whimsical ones are flavourful and were characters I did care for! There was a charisma there. Even though everyone in this movie places a piece of work that their mothers might not be very proud of, Sheik and Seso, who are a shady dealer/gambler and his loyal knife thrower respectively, are solid characters. They are fun. They aren’t anything special as they are VERY CLICHED but they are fun! It feels like characters that would exist in the same world as the Lone Ranger and Pirates. As if it’s the same cinematic universe. Which gives the movie a bit more “scale”. It’s a silly thing to like since they aren’t connected at all but I really like the style that comes with that in combination with a video game. It allows for a further going suspense of disbelief.
However it also comes with a HUGE flaw…. It looks a lot like pirates. Dastan also talks a lot like Alladin .. and this movie doesn’t hold a candle to either. At least the good Pirate Movies. (again not counting the actors personal lives or goals here) . I’d say it’s about as good as the fifth Pirates movie. It’s not atrocious and well .. that is already something when it comes to video game movies it just isn;t memorable either. I remembered very big lines of this movie but I forgot the Ostrich racing scene, I even kind of forgot the whole character of Sheik.. while he is entertaining.. he isn’t memorable as he is just another character of that universe. The scenes are entertaining but they aren’t memorable.. Did I see that in the Lone Ranger? Did I see it in Pirates? The Good ones? The Bad ones? Or did I see it in that other movie they made.. the one with the PMS-Princess?! In fact it is so similar in style at times that one scene I actually thought was in a Pirates movie and unfortunately one of the lesser ones.
The Aladdin comparisons don’t help either, part of it is the setting but a princess in danger at the final scene at an hourglass, a hero who can swing a sword and is a beggar that turned into a prince that gets a mystical item of world changing properties. A massive spoiler will follow so be warned for that. I mean it’s pretty much spelled out from the get-go but if you want to be surprised skip this paragraph! Really! This is your final line to change your mind.
The Brother and advisor/grand vizier of the king is the traitor who has all sorts of evil schemes. Yet the story isn’t told as clean as in Aladdin.. you can watch this movie just fine.. but you could also watch Curse of the Black Pearl and the animated Aladdin and have a much better viewing experience. So.. yeah.. issue here! It made me miss better stuff. It isn’t bad.. but it’s like someone playing Sonic 1 while you could also play Super Mario World or Sonic 2. It’s fine but there is better stuff out there. Still it has their charm ..partially.. so I am really stuck on where to go with that one! You can decide if this is something you find positive.. or negative.
The Prince of Agrabah
If you want a good life action adaptation of the Aladdin animated movie watch this one, then play the soundtrack afterwards. The movie has a nice sense of adventure, fun sets and while the sets are cliché, A Bazar, A desert, a bandit camp, a palace, a trap filled ruin , an oasis city and a mystical cave they are what you would expect from a setting like this. The almost supernatural Hasansin Killer’s are all over the top but entertaining and they are most of the time taken down in satisfying ways and offer a nice challenge. It feels cliché.. even though it’s not really..but it also feels right. It’s one of those movies that gives you everything you expect and nothing more. Maybe a good chuckle here and there.. but with the producers from Pirates and that same tone so much present that also is kind of a given. It all depends on if you can stomach Tamina for the full length of the movie which is about two hours. The soundtrack like the movie is fitting but forgettable. I would not know if I thought the music was actually good. I know I never minded it. Then again the games also never had a memorable score.
We end up with an odd video game movie, that also feels like an Indiana Jones flick.. that also feels A LOT like Pirates of the Carribean but catered to a slightly younger audience.It’s a nice spectacle that has a few very fake shots but also a lot of clever and captivating shots that keep you entertained throughout. Imagine this was an amazing movie then I would have felt like one of those sultans that is laying on some colourful cushion while being fanned by a palm leaf and being fed grapes by a pretty woman. However instead I am lying on a beanbag chair in front of an electric fan. I have one of those Happy Meal fruit packets instead of the woman feeding me grapes as well. The experience is kind of there.. it hits almost all the right notes but the experience is a lot less epic than the real deal. If this experience is for you really depends. For me it’s a bit of a mixed bag! In that analogy I just described there is that one she-cow in the room! “Pinkie.. .are you playing Sultan again! Stop it you Baka! It’s not like I like you or anything” .. and she repeats this as if she is the boss battle with voice lines in a platformer game!.. While I could enjoy this movie, the blatant ripoffs of other movies really can take you out of it’s flow! It’s okay! I got my vitamins and my coolness! I feel refreshed! I can take on another shitty video game movie next week! Thanks Prince of Persia that is all you need.
A little more direction of it’s own could have pushed this movie into something great. It has some cool ideas and does some fun things with the Prince of Persia IP that makes makes me want to give it the grade of Fine-Apple. Some great action scenes, a Prince that looks like the video game one.. and even kind of acts like it. An adequate story! Unfortunately the glue that holds it together is something I really hate about Disney products, that unoriginality. On my first viewing I would have given it a Fine Apple..now that I’ve rewatched it I will have to drop it one grade! It’s still perfectly watchable.. but it’s not fine.. it’s just okay. Which still is a pretty big deal for a video game movie!
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