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Movie Review: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

May 28, 2010

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time – A Walt Disney Pictures’ Release

Release Date: May 28th

Rated PG for violence and gory scenes

Running time: 116 minutes


Mike Newell (dir.)


Boaz Yakin (screenplay)

Doug Miro (screenplay)

Carlo Bernard (screenplay)

Jordan Mechner (screen story)

Jordan Mechner (video game series “Prince of Persia”)


Harry Gregson-Williams (music)


Jake Gyllenhaal as Dastan

Gemma Arterton as Tamina

Ben Kingsley as Nizam

Alfred Molina as Sheik Amar

Toby Kebbell as Garsiv

Richard Coyle as Tus

Ronald Pickup as King Sharaman


Photo credit: Andrew Cooper, SMPSP © Disney Enterprises, Inc. and Jerry Bruckheimer, Inc. All rights reserved.

(L-R) Alfred Molina, Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.


Our reviews below:


Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

A good time is what you expect, and a good time is what you get from Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time – a video game adaptation from Walt Disney Pictures and producer Jerry Bruckheimer.


Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) was a courageous orphan rescued by the king of Persia, and raised as a prince.  15 years later, his two brothers and their uncle Nizam (Ben Kingsley), lead an attack on the sacred city of Alamut.  When the king is murdered, and Dastan framed, he comes under ownership of a dagger that can turn back the sands of time.  The dagger belongs to the princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton), who teams up with Dastan in a quest to return the all-powerful dagger to the Gods.


It’s not quite Indiana Jones for a new generation, but it certainly has it’s sense of fun in the right place.  You can’t deny that it is wildly successful in achieving what it sets out to do, and is also just a genuinely good time at the movies.  The suspense is actually suspenseful, and the humour is actually funny.


Jake Gyllenhaal is quite good in the lead role, but it is Alfred Molina who hilariously steals every scene he’s in.  It will likely draw comparisons to the recent Clash of the Titans, Gemma Arterton has a central role in both, but for my money this is a far better movie, and one that didn’t leave me with a headache.


It’s surprisingly moral, too, with messages of self-sacrifice, family trust and doing  what is ultimately right.  The sands allow Dastan to take a journey of self-discovery, where he can see the consequences of each action and better make future decisions.  With impressive choreography, the action scenes are also greatly entertaining to watch.


Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is a fun popcorn film for the summer.  It will immensely please it’s target audience, as well as those just looking for a good time.


Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Review by Erin V.

*** (out of 4)

Based on the video games ‘Prince of Persia’, this new adaptation produced by Jerry Bruckheimer under the Disney label, is a good enough Summer action flick.


In Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time – after a flashback opening – Prince Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) helps his brothers break into the nearby city of Alamut, only to later realize that he has put them all in danger by exposing the dagger that can release the ‘sands of time’ from it’s hiding place.  A story of twists and double-crossing, and an ending that may leave some annoyed, this is actually a fun film with a real sense of action-suspense.


An interesting premise, the more I think about it, the more I realize how much I liked PoP: TSoT.  The events of the film to me, profiled a character journey for Dastan that allows him to figure out what he needs to do in the end to put things right.  The cinematography was good, as was the costuming and editing.  I liked the (almost) matching shots to open/close the film.  And unlike Clash of the Titans earlier this year, the action scenes were shot sans shakycam and from enough of a distance that they weren’t dizzying and could be followed.  It also didn’t leave me with a headache like CotT.


All of the acting here was good.  In particular, I liked Jake Gyllenhaal as Dastan – he captured the right personality for the character it seemed – and Alfred Molina easily steals every scene he’s in as the tax evasionist, Sheik Amar.  The special effects were also well done, and I found the score by Harry Gregson-Williams fit the mood of the film.


Look at it this way, of the two movies filmed in Morocco opening this weekend (SatC2 was also filmed there), personally, I liked Prince of Persia better.  I’d say if you liked the trailer, the film won’t disappoint – go see it.


Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Review By Nicole

*** (out of 4)

Based on a video game, Prince of Persia is a fast paced action fantasy.  Taking place in ancient Persia, the film follows Prince Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal), an orphan who was adopted by the king.  When Dastan and his brother impulsively invade the sacred city of Alamut, Dastan finds a magical dagger that can turn back time.  When the king is murdered, Dastan and his brother are blamed.  Dastan then runs away with Princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton), in a quest to protect the dagger from those who would use it for evil.  Along the wat, they meet the eccentric Sheik Amar (hilariously played by Alfred Molina), as well as battle the snake charming Hassansins.  The ending is a clever surprise.


Despite the Disney label, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is not for small children,  The movie contains both frightening scenes, as well as some action violence with minimal bloodshed.  However, this movie will appeal to teenagers and adults, in particular the young male crowd.  If you are a fan of either the video game, or action adventure films in general, then you will enjoy this film.


Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is a tale of mystery, romance, time-travel, historical fantasy, and plenty of exciting action sequences.  Though based on the video game this movie has a strong plot-line with some interesting twists and surprises right through to the end.


The storyline revolves around Persian Prince Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) who was adopted by the king of Persia (Ronald Pickup) and raised as a prince along with the king’s other two sons.  The story begins when the sons are convinced by their uncle Nazim (Ben Kingsley) that they must invade the sacred city of Alamut to search for hidden weapons.  Alamut Princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton) is the guardian of a magical dagger that contains the sands of time.  This gift from the gods allows the one possessing the dagger to reverse time and change the course of events.  Dastan and Tamina both race against time to pursue the dagger.  Their pursuit brings them through all sorts of danger including encounters with the mystical Hassansins.


The action sequences and stunts are really well done in this film.  Prince Dastan leaps from buildings, climbs arrows and generally acts like an ancient superhero.  Jake Gyllenhaal pulls it off wonderfully giving Prince Dastan a slightly cocky but endearing character.  The budding romance between the prince and princess is fun to watch.  The highlight of the movie for me is the incredibly fun performance by Alfred Molina as Sheik Amar, the ostrich racing, tax dodging entrepreneur.  Ben Kingsley is also great to watch as Uncle Nazim.


Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time has the feel of the Indiana Jones movies, but a character of its own.  This movie is lots of fun and is worth checking out at theatres.


Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

In an opening flashback scene reminiscent of Aladdin or The Thief of Baghdad, we see the orphan boy Dastan rescuing another boy from ill treatment by the palace guard. Impressed by his courage, the king adopts him as a brother to his other two sons, i.e. the title character.  On a patrol of border lands, the three grown-up princes and the king’s brother Nizam vote to attack the sacred city of Alamut against the king’s wishes, after seeing a shipment of weapons allegedly from Alamut to Persia’s enemies.  The Alamut princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton) notices that Dastan has the sacred dagger that she had tried to hide, so when the king arrives and is killed with Dastan framed for the murder, she helps him escape.  Dastan discovers that the dagger contains sand that when released can set time back by up to a minute, and Tamina explains to him that the sand comes from an hourglass buried in Alamut by the gods.  Only the dagger can pierce the hourglass but releasing all the sand could bring on the gods’ wrath.  In their quest to clear Dastan’s name by finding the true killer and return the dagger to a safe location, they run into a shady businessman (Alfred Molina) who would sell them out if they can’t offer him more than the price on their heads, and a gang of Hassansins hired to kill Dastan. I won’t spoil the fun with more detail, since there is a lot of action to enjoy along the way.


Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer for Disney and directed by Mike Newell, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time has the loud special effects and stunts that we would expect, which serve this type of film well.  Also, at just under two hours, it is not too long.   The script is well written for this type of film, and the cast is all fine. Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton are good together, Ben Kingsley is in his element as the heavy, and Alfred Molina steals every scene he is in.  Not the greatest film of its genre, it is definitely worth seeing, a lot better than Clash of the Titans, for example.

___________________________________________________________________________Consensus: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is a genuinely good and very entertaining action-fantasy.  As far as summer popcorn films go, this serves for a fun time at the movies. *** (Out of 4)

One Comment leave one →
  1. Seanjay permalink
    June 6, 2010 3:51 am

    “Prince of Persia, The Sands of Time” was probably one of the movies which turned my disappointment other way around. To be honest when I entered the cinema I was expecting crappy story and not a lot of action. Those expectations were destroyed when the movie started to with back story to prince and then a battle scene. The battle scene was made in really awesome way and I was left pleased. Through out the whole story it was just ups and downs, they didn’t leave the watcher waiting for action or any other events for long, since the action scene just kept on coming on and on. The ending was pretty interesting and it wasn’t another misleading and disappointing story. I just loved it.


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