Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Name Your Persian

I never played the game, but as soon as the trailer started playing, I recognized it as Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. The game goes way back, to the early days of the Mac, and the jumping, leaping, running style is pretty recognizable. The movie delivers that style in spades, plus beautiful art direction and some very appealing actors. So why does it ring so hollow?

Jake Gyllenhall is the titular Prince, a street beggar adopted by the king. He has a lovable mutt-like look -- not like a mixed breed or a shaggy dog, but a mug, a lug, a dope. He is fearless and goes in for streetfighting and commando tactics. But he runs afoul the evil vizier, Ben Kingsley, and is soon on the run with beautiful Princess Leia - is that right? Gemma Arterton. Kingsley makes a nice Persian villain - he reminds me of his role as the Rabbi in Luck Number Slevin. There is some Disney-style comedy relief, and a lot of derring-do. David Bell choreographs the parkour stuff.

I guess I enjoyed it, and I can't say any part of it didn't live up to expectations. But I never really bought into the whole experience. It seemed like a movie spectacle, a corporate enterprise. I realize that this would disqualify pretty much every ever made, so maybe that's not the problem. Maybe it was the hype, maybe I'm reacting to the bad reviews. It just didn't grab me.

In conclusion, watch it without expectations. You might like it better than I did.

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