Director: Mike Newell Screenplay: Jordan Mechner, Boaz Yakin, Doug Miro and Carlo Bernard Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina Time: 114min Age Restriction: 10V
Prince of Persia is a mystical epic telling the same old story in a more exotic location with better effects.
Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a street orphan adopted by the King of Persia when the king sees him display boldness and integrity in the marketplace one day.
Fifteen years later, Dastan and his two brothers, the king's sons by birth, are on their way home from war crusade, when they come across a city, which they attack and capture.
Tragedy strikes, however, when Dastan is accused of the murder of his father, the king. Dastan must prove his innocence with the help of the mysterious Princess Tamina and a beautiful dagger, in the process uncovering a much larger conspiracy and an ancient magic.
With its fine cast of accomplished actors, who revel in their roles effortlessly, Prince of Persia is an enjoyable romp, with lush, opulent costumes and rich Asian scenery, despite a few inconsistencies in the editing.
Dastan is a hollow character, with little personality, but Jake Gyllenhaal's charms turn him into an endearing hero, with his rags-to-riches story and unaffected character, flying across rooftops and swinging around the marketplace like a real-life Aladdin. Gemma Arterton, although ravishing, is a bit dry as Princess Tamina, with a sphinx-like demeanour that fails to engage.
We've seen films like this many times before; only the settings, the props and the actors are different. But Prince of Persia holds its own in the colosseum of epic films, with its mythology, mysticism, Arabian music, breathtaking special effects and empty substance.