Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time appeared to be a genuine honest attempt at adapting a video game into a film. Jerry Bruckheimer was brought in to produce what would be the “next Pirates of the Carribbean” and the game’s designer, Jordan Mechner, was hired to write the first draft of the screenplay. I was even brought in to watch the movie and give my full opinion.
The story’s fine for the most part. The acting’s fine for the most part. The action sequences are fine for the most part. The directing… well, the directing is borderline dismal. Mike Newell is certainly more skilled at directing movies than I am, seeing as I have directed none to date, but he seems to be in love with setting up terrific action sequences only to cut away every half second. With the talent involved with this movie I figured that at worst I’d be able to see some cool “parkour” (as the kids call it) by the Prince, but you really don’t see much. Oh, you know the Prince is jumping all over the place, but it feels more like you are realizing this after the fact because the action was fed to you subliminally. I don’t know if this is because they cast Jake Gyllenhaal instead of a talented acrobat and thus had to cut things awkwardly to make it look like he was jumping all over the place, but the action shots are incredibly sloppy.
In the end, everything about the movie that showed potential is brought down by the direction’s lack of polish. These same ingredients could have been something special, but instead we’re left with a movie that is more fun than it is actually good. I enjoyed myself, because I love adventure films where the protagonists exchange biting banter with each other, but that’s not going to be enough for everybody.
Those adamant that video game movies can’t be any good might find themselves surprised by the fact this is actually a movie (unlike 2005’s Doom, which is more like a powerpoint presentation). Everyone else will see a forgettable movie. They might even scoff at it for trying to hard, as if trying is a bad thing.