[TBT] Prince of Persia — The Sands of Time: A Movie Review

Most people think time, is like a river that flows swift and sure in one direction. But I have seen the face of time and I can tell you, they are wrong. Time is like an ocean in a storm. You may wonder who I really am, and why I say this. Come and I will tell you a tale like none you have ever heard.

Warning: I will be posting spoilers so if you want to watch it first, you might want to stop reading now.

That is the famous line uttered by the famous Prince of Persia in the 1st part of the trilogy in the PS2 game. I had reviewed the trilogy of games before and I was excited to watch the live-action movie of one of my favorite games. I even played the game again just to properly criticize the movie.

After I finished the game again, I expected the movie to at least bring these things into life:

  1. The Princess should be sarcastic and independent that will try to fight the prince. I mean let’s face it, Farah lost her father to the Persians and blame Dastan for releasing the sand. She and the prince have a love-hate relationship that really is amusing.
  2. The Prince should do his tricks as he tried to ran away from the enemies… and also cocky to annoy the Princess while they try to solve the problems they face.
  3. Traps? Spikes? Need I say more?
  4. A monologue… by the prince, just once. 🙂 It was memorable as the prince tries to talk to himself about his feelings for Farah, may it be annoyance or the blossoming love between them, and then gets frustrated about it.
  5. Preview of the next step they need to take. I don’t know how they will do it, but who knows?

I know for a fact that if the Sands of Time became a movie, they need to add a lot of things since the length of the game is based on how much the player is efficient in solving puzzles.

So now, on to the movie.

The movie starts with a narrative of how the young orphan Dastan became the Prince of Persia. The king saw something in him while he was fighting several soldiers to save another innocent boy. Dastan was adopted and became the third Prince of Persia.

The story continues with fifteen (15) years later, with the three brothers and Nazam, the king’s brother and adviser went out to attack the holy city of Alamut under assumption that the city is selling weapons to their enemies. The city is ruled by a Princess named Tamina, rumored to be one of the most beautiful woman of their time. She is also is a guardian of the Dagger of the Time, which she entrusted one of her personal guards to take it away to safety. Unfortunately, Dastan battled with the guard and took possession of the dagger instead. Upon seeing the dagger secured in Dastan’s belt, Tamina agreed to become Garsiv’s (oldest brother) wife in exchange of treating her people kindly.

Then tragedy strikes as the king dies and the suspect is Dastan. He escaped to the hot dessert with Tamina and discovered the power of the dagger. Together they explore Persia and try to clear Dastan’s name as the killer of the king.

The plot reminds me of Aladdin but instead of having a lamp, he gets a dagger that turns back time. Jasmine is a feisty female named Tamina and Jafar became Nizam, the king’s adviser — how fitting. Then cross it over with the Pirates of the Carribean where they travel places in search of something.

When I based it with the game, Tamina became Farah and Kaileena combined, who are both the love interest of the prince. Farah is the Princess of the other kingdom and Kaileena is the Empress of Time. Nazam became the Vizier in the Sands of Time, and his motivation is focused more on power rather than immortality. In the game, the vizier wanted to become immortal not only because it can get him more power but also it will solve his sickness.

What I dislike about the whole entire storyline is that they try to make it a feel-good movie that focuses on writing your own destiny, where Sands of Time is really not. Prince of Persia: Sands of Time is a depressing story of a Prince who wants to be redeemed because he is too rash, too young and too proud.

Another thing is that the storyline became predictable. Since everyone wants the dagger, a game of finder’s keepers commences. I laugh every time the prince has the dagger and then it will be stolen again by someone and then he will get it again. Rinse and then repeat.

And it’s supposed to be an hourglass that holds the sand right? So why does it look like a frickin’ stalactite?

I applaud the writers for paying a homage on the game with some scenes like foreseeing the prince’s next move, and climbing walls using arrows being shot by a comrade. Although, the scene where he ran from one rooftop to another reminds me of Assassin’s Creed rather than Prince of Persia.

The music is the only factor in the movie that I didn’t have qualms about. It really presented the movie like it should be. It might not be as “rock ‘n roll” as the game but it did its purpose: give the audience a feel of the movie and its surroundings.

The special effects are also good but one scene really reminded me of one of those Tomb Raider games that starts with  Lara sliding downwards as she tries to explore a cave. The snakes are scary and deadly adversary as they are being controlled by the antagonist.

Overall, IF you are an avid fan of the game I strongly suggest that you watch it with very low expectations, as only a little semblance of the game is really shown throughout the movie. While the characteristics of the Princess is really captured by the dialogues, the interaction between her and prince is only so-so. The real essence of the movie is not really captured and warped into something that the masses would enjoy. Honestly, if the writers/producers just dropped the “Sands of Time” in the title, fans like myself would’ve appreciated it better.

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