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The Warsaw Voice » World of Movies » July 2, 2010
Film review
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Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
July 2, 2010   
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Most moviegoers are aware that Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time from director Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Donnie Brasco, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) is a big-screen adaptation of a series of popular video games and so few would expect the movie to abound in plot intricacies, profound character studies or subtle philosophical reflection. Instead, the point of flicks like this is to deliver lightweight yet involving entertainment, an overdose of special effects, colorful characters, spectacular battle scenes and choreographed duels. Newell’s movie has all this, coupled with some good acting, which is to be expected given that the cast includes actors do not necessarily specialize in lightweight entertainment.

The plot is set in the Kingdom of Persia in the 6th century A.D. Fifteen years after the King of Persia adopted him, a young man by the name of Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal—Brokeback Mountain, Zodiac, Rendition) embarks on a military campaign to seize the holy city of Alamut and incorporate it into the Persian empire. That turns out to be an excuse, as apparently, Alamut hides the legendary Sands of Time, a divine tool that allow its holder to control time and, consequently, the world.

Things do not go smoothly and after what seems to be a victory, Dastan is framed for regicide, no less. The death of the monarch and the resulting death sentence on the king’s favorite was orchestrated by Nizam (Ben Kingsley—Gandhi, Schindler’s List, Death and the Maiden), the brother and confidant of the late king. Nizam has always wanted to single-handedly rule the empire, if not the whole world, and so he has no qualms as he removes anything and anybody that stands in his way. He is aided by a professional group of assassins who make a living out of hunting down and eliminating even the best guarded targets.

The wrongly accused Dastan escapes the assassins and in the process teams up with Princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton—Quantum of Solace, Clash of the Titans), a mysterious priestess from Alamut. The two get hold of a magical dagger that can turn back time for a few minutes, which comes in handy when danger looms.

Dastan’s other ally in his struggle against evil forces is Sheik Amar (Alfred Molina—Frida, Chocolat, The Da Vinci Code), the head of a vagabond group whose activities range from robbing travelers to organizing ostrich races. Dastan and company now need to defeat the assassins, find the Sands of Time, unmask Nizam for the villain he is and restore peace to the kingdom.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is a colorful, ingenious and fast-paced spectacle. The filmmakers seem to have unlimited imagination as they come up with countless villains who excel in different types of weapons and killing methods. The whole is completed by appropriately bombastic but catchy score written by adventure cinema veteran Harry Gregson-Williams (Spy Game, Kingdom of Heaven, the Shrek series).
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