This movie is from the team that made the Pirates of the Caribbean and National Treasure movies. ¬†It's based on a video game, which is just like the other two since they were based on a theme park ride and the other is a cheap rip-off of Dan Brown books. ¬†They also have more than that in common; they each sound horrible on paper and are shockingly better than expected. ¬†I never played the video game Prince of Persia but I've been told by some gamer friends that it's really good. ¬†There are several elements that are taken directly from the game, but don't let that worry you because you don't need to know anything about it to enjoy the movie. ¬†Oscar nominee, Jake Gyllenhaal stars as the titular character also known as Dastan and managed to look even gayer than he did in Brokeback Mountain. ¬†Besides sporting an inexplicable faux British accent for an Arabian character, he's very charming and funny as the courageous warrior who must protect a sacred dagger from the clutches of evil with the help of several characters including the ever-so-fun-to-watch, Alred Molina (Spiderman 2, The DaVinci Code) and exotic Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace, Clash of the Titans). ¬†He's also pursued by Oscar winner, Ben Kingsley who sporting his "Ghandi" look again but not that attitude. ¬†I wonder if another attribute to making this a good film is the unexpectedness of it actually being a good film. ¬†I'll be honest, I thought this movie was going to be crap. ¬†Nothing about it looked entertaining from the ridiculous look of its star, to the weird CG character made of sand, to the fact that it's based on a video game! ¬†But all of it was! ¬†The production value and CG give the film a great, warm, exciting period look of ancient Iran. ¬†The action sequences, which are as bountiful as the dinner table of a Sultan, are fast, fun and thrilling. ¬†The script is easy to follow, funny and not too stupid...it has to be a little stupid considering it's about a dagger that can turn back time. ¬†To round it all out, director Mike Newell (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Donnie Brasco) brings the whole thing to life with a great pace and exhilarating action scenes. ¬†I guess to sum it up, Prince of Persia is the perfect summer movie. ¬†I don't need a brain to enjoy it, it's flashy, full of attractive people and it goes great with popcorn. ¬†It doesn't have the clever script of National Treasure or lovable characters flawlessly played like Pirates of the Caribbean, but Prince of Persia is worth the price of admission (which I also admire Disney for not coating it in a gross 3D conversion to squeeze more money from us like Clash of the Titans). ¬†In a summer of what looks like some boring-ass films coming out, it's good to see surprises like this and I can only hope for more like it.
Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (Rated PG-13)
Gavin Grade: A-