‘The Sands of Time’ Move Slowly in ‘Persia’

Sarkis Adajian

The expectations were high. The anticipation for the release was building. And all “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” did was deliver an absolute letdown.

A movie with a decent cast (Jake Gyllenhaal, “Brothers” 2009; Gemma Arterton, “Clash of the Titans” 2010; and Ben Kingsley, “Shutter Island” 2010) a great producer (Jerry Bruckheimer) and an above average director (Mike Newell) would all add up to a pretty good film in a perfect world, but this world isn’t perfect, and this film is a complete dud.

The action is all over the place, the fight scenes are annoyingly confusing and the scenery looks like it was shot on a set built by elementary school children. The story goes back and forth so much that losing interest becomes inevitable.

The only thing that kept me from leaving the theater halfway through the movie was the acting by Gyllenhaal and Arterton.
The story takes place in the Persian Empire. The character of the king’s adopted son Dastan, played by Gyllenhaal, is traveling with his uncle Nizam (Kingsley) and his two older brothers to the sacred city of Alamut to confront the leaders of the city about selling weapons to their Persian enemies.

The movie starts off with Dastan and his brothers taking complete control of the city, including Princess Tamina (Arterton) and the focal point in the movie: the dagger with the glass handle.

The action takes a major turn when the king is killed and his adopted son Dastan is accused of the murder. Dastan flees the city with the princess and the dagger, which Dastan learns can briefly turn back time; and just like most other Hollywood movies they build strong chemistry and fall for each other.

During their love affair they attempt to prove Dastan is not the murderer, reveal the name of the person who really killed his father, bring their father back to life with the time-traveling capabilities of the dagger and save the Persian Empire all in less than two hours!

The story has all the makings for a great adaptation of a video game, but fails miserably. The action scenes are short and everything happens too quickly. It goes from one battle scene to another before you realize what took place in the previous battle.

Fans of the “Prince of Persia” video game will be disappointed after watching this and realizing that it has joined the list of “video games turned into bad movies.”

The budget was there, the plot of the story was doable and the cast was as good as it gets, but the movie could not have been any worse than it was.

“Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” opened nationwide Friday. It runs for 1 hour and 55 minutes.

1 out of 5 stars.