Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time [1/2*]
Prince of Persia directed by Mike Newell and costing a couple hundred million dollars threatens for a couple of minutes not to be as bad as I was expecting. To be fair it gets down to business pretty quickly, but it ebbs and flows pretty often. Exciting for about two minutes then boring for about five or so. It stretches just under two hours to the point where it feels about four hours. The film's length and the dearth of excitement are just where the problems begin.
I like swords and I like looking at Gemma Arterton, but if there's two things in this world that don't work in the same movie it's her and swords (see also: Clash of the Titans). Arterton also serves the same purpose here that she did in Titans to infuriate me with her prettiness and to be a gift bestowed on humanity by the gods. In Titans she was an immortal, here she's just been spared by the Gods to be the protector of a magical dagger that allows its holder to travel back in time. I'll expound more on the dagger thing momentarily, but I guess what I'm trying to say is if you can see Gemma Arterton in The Disappearance of Alice Creed you should. She can hold her own as an actress, she's given stuff to do and you finally have a reason to look at her that doesn't require you to sit through the interminable for a change.
Speaking of interminable, the plot of Sands of Time involves Young Dasdan (Jake Gyllenhall) being plucked from the streets as a resourceful young beggar by the king and growing up to be loved and a great warrior. Dasdan grows up to lead the attack on an ancient peaceful neighboring Persian city called Alamut (also resided over by Arterton's Tamina). Alamut is alleged to be providing weapons to enemies of Persia and are set to be overtaken by the Persians. Dasdan comes to realize after a lengthy battle, the bestowing of Tamina to his person and the subsequent assassination of his father that the reason he was sent to Alamut was for a dagger (a dagger that holds magical sand in the hourglass on its handle and allows the possessor to travel back in time thirty seconds whenever they push a button) and the ruse to get him there was a lie. Dasdan teams up with Tamina to get rid of the dagger before his power mad uncle (Ben Kingsley) can get a hold of it and change the course of his life as the less favored son. Also, Dasdan is on the run for "killing" his father (spoiler: not him). Lots of bloodless battles are fought, times is traveled back in so that our hero can erase his own surprising ineptitude (near death by snakes, girl, brother).
I'll give you a moment to pick your jaw up from the floor while you process that Dasdan has been manipulated by someone he trusts, sent on a wild goose chase for weapons that don't exist and essentially Matt Damon-ed all to hell in this movie. That's right people, Green Zone has been re-imagined as a swashbuckling summer fantasy no one will think twice about going to see. They literally didn't think twice as the film only made ninety million dollars in America.
Fear not, Prince of Persia still manages to be as bracingly irrelevant as Green Zone but with a few added bonuses: Arterton as stated before does a rehash of her Clash of the Titans schtick, there's time travel in it and Ben Kingsley as the treacherous brother. Also, none of these are good things and at least two of them are things from movies that came out earlier this year that no one gives a shit about and they've been crammed into another that no one gives a shit about. And when I say "no one" I mean me, but I'll gladly have anyone who feels the same as my company.
I'm glad that I don't have a family I'd have had to take to see this piffle. Its an extravagant waste of money that's safe, bloodless, boobless and almost certainly a predator that stalks your family for easy prey with its attendant Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer logos. I'm saying that families looking to be entertained are an infinitely stupider unit than the individual looking to be entertained and as such Bruckheimer and Disney continue the trend of forsaking them every step of the way. Perhaps, I'm just so mad because no one else will be and they should. You paid to see specific elements of it at least once this year and now you're just paying to be insulted and duped.
As they say in the soaps, like sands through the hourglass, these are the wastes of our lives.