Synopsis – A young fugitive prince and princess must stop a villain who unknowingly threatens to destroy the world with a special dagger that enables the magic sand inside to reverse time – Prince of Persia: Sands of Time
Director – Mike Newell
Released – 2010
Charity – Scope
For most of his career. Gyllenhal has tended to avoid commercial productions in favour of riskier ones such as Donnie Darko, Brokeback Mountain and Nightcrawler, which is why Disney’s Prince of Persia seems a strange film for Gyllenhaal to take on, after all, you can’t get much more commercial than a big-budget video game adaptation, a subgenre of films that’s notorious for bad scrips, underperforming at the box office and receiving mixed/unfavourable reviews. And all these years later, this film remains somewhat of an outlier in his otherwise solid career, especially as Prince of Persia fails to break any of the previously mentioned issues that affect adaptations from popular video game franchises.
With his skilled hand adapting the 5th Harry Potter novel into one of the best-reviewed and most commercially successful in the franchise, Mike Newell looked a good bet to make this a success but even a director as talented as he can do little with a dodgy script and little chemistry between your leading man and love interest (Gemma Arterton), with the story seeming to have them constantly in conflict with each other, rather than forming anything close to a bond that would explain their attraction.
That’s not to say the film doesn’t hold any entertainment value, the action sequences are filled with fast-paced acrobatics that both fans of the games and the general audience will find thrilling and action, while the scope of the production, sets, CGI and costumes remain a delight to behold, it’s clear that this wasn’t a production shot of cash, but after the first 50 minutes, the spectacle wears off and the needlessly convoluted plot points are awkwardly squeezed in between the multiple action sequences that dominate the films’ second act.
In the end, Prince of Persia has a lot of amusing and ‘exciting’ things going on, but the story fails to hook the viewer, relegating it to just another game adaptation that missed its chance to transcend and just like the franchise it was based off, not many have through about Prince of Persia since 2010.