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From the creators of Pirates of the Caribbean comes the first of another action film franchise. Set in 6th century Persia, the story follows Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton) teaming up to prevent a mystical dagger from falling into the wrong hands. Showing bravery as a child, orphan Dastan is adopted into royalty by King Sharman, though retains of his unrefined ways. Despite the King having two sons by blood, Garsiv (Toby Kebbell) and Tus (Richard Coyle), younger Dastan remains a favourite.
When evidence is found by Nizam, the King’s brother, that the sacred city of Alamut has been selling weapons to an enemy of the Persian Empire, an attack ensues. Defying his brothers’ orders, Dastan leads his own small army into battle, preventing mass slaughter by penetrating Alamut quickly and efficiently. When defeating one of Princess Tamina’s guards he acquires the dagger, though is unaware of its ability to rewind time. During the celebrations, King Sharman is poisoned and Dastan is accused of his murder. Fleeing the city with guardian of the dagger, Princes Tamina, as his guide, Dastan discovers the weapon’s magical powers. This is later discovered to be the motive for attacking Alamut and Dastan must juggle trying to clear his name with helping Princess Tamina protect the dagger.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
* * *
Although the storyline is generally predictable, there are some unexpected parts. Whenever the constant fighting becomes in danger of boring the audience, comic moments appear, including an ostrich race and some comments a little too rude for a Disney film. Loosely tied to the video game it was based on, the film has drawn criticism for not sticking closely enough to the original story. It has also however been criticized for the use of English accents, despite this being a trait of the game, because they make the characters unrealistic.
Major highlights include the special effects, the fight scenes involving the ninja-like Hassansins and Gyllenhaal’s attempt at parkour, all stunts being carried out by the actors themselves. Thought to be a critique of the Bush Administration’s motivations for the Iraq war, the film repeatedly implies the immorality in attacking an innocent city without objective evidence. Overall, this film is enjoyable provided you don’t have particularly high expectations.