[Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina]
Finally over illness and various personal and business trips... I was able to get back on my normal schedule of movie-going. With the official start of the summer movie season revolving around the Memorial Day holiday weekend, we can look forward to plenty of pickings during the hot months when the lure of the ocean breezes and sandy beaches cannot compare to the siren song of a cool movie theater.
SYNOPSIS: A street orphan catches the eye of the King of Persia and is adopted. Growing up, Dastan becomes a worthy prince and warrior. He aids his brothers as they storm the Holy City of Alamut in search of the forgers who have been secretly supplying Persia's enemies with weapons. After being accused of killing his father during the victory banquet, Dastan teams up with Alamut's Princess Tamina to clear his name and unravel the mysteries of the dagger that holds the powerful Sands of Time.
Jake Gyllenhaal comes off a strong performance in "Brothers" to bulk up for the lead, Dastan, in "Price of Persia. Known to plunge into battle and combat without thought, Dastan has grown into an accomplished warrior of Persia. But faced with the beauty of Princess Tamina, played by Gemma Arterton coming off her "Clash of the Titans" performance, Dastan flounders. Both Dastan and Tamina are strong duty-driven characters, but both also show a softer side once one can find a crack in the proverbial armor of the other.
The story runs down two paths, one of Dastan being accused of murdering his father and trying to find the true killer, the other of Princess Tamina trying to reclaim the Dagger of Time that Dastan had picked up as a spoil of war in order of fulfilling her sacred, entrusted duty. Of course, there are adventures along the way which allow Dastan to show his swordplay and acrobatic skills, as well as situations that allow us to catch glimpses of Princess Tamina in different flowing garb.
The story is not going to be the next "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise, regardless of the period date of the film, the ensemble of the cast, or the likeability of the characters. Jake Gyllenhaal is ripped and endearing, if not memorable. Gemma is gorgeous and talented, even though her character is not pushed to far. Alfred Molina takes an almost unrecognizable turn as Sheik Amar, a entrepreneur trying to ilk out a desert ostrich gaming living without having to pay taxes to the Persian "Man". Ben Kingsley turns in an always solid performance as the king's brother and counsel and trusted Dastan's uncle.
One of the problems of the film is that in order to make such a grandiose film, much CGI had to be done for the action sequences. Where the effects work is when Dastan uses the Sand of Time triggered from the dagger. Where it succeeds less is where it is used for added battle sequences, adding more soldiers to a scene, or adding real soldiers to a CGI environment. I would rather have more practical action sequence that really let you be a part of the action, instead of being distracted by it.
"Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" is good enough a film for a Summer distraction and popcorn movie, but the hourglass of its success as a franchise is probably already running out.