With the second half of the film's title, it's obvious that Walt Disney Pictures would love for Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time to kick off a new action-packed franchise. Reteaming again with producer Jerry Bruckheimer, they're clearly positioning this as the next Pirates of the Caribbean. And since it's inspired by a popular video game series dating back to 1989, the hope is that Prince of Persia has a strong built-in audience.
But that's all marketing rhetoric. I'd love to say POP:SOT is the first truly successful movie adaptation of a video game (at least it's better than most attempts) or that it's true to the source material (though faithful in spirit, the plot details are different), but who cares? Does any of that ultimately matter if the results yield another mediocre and forgettable summer blockbuster?
Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Dastan, the prince in the title, and there lies one key problem. With all-American boy-next-door good looks and a put-on British accent, Gyllenhall looks about as Persian as Canadian teen-pop star Justin Bieber (or as Siamese as Yul Brynner in The King and I, or as Mongolian as John Wayne in The Conqueror). The story takes place within the heart of The Persian Empire during the height of its reign hundreds of years before Christ's birth—not exactly an ideal time for Persian-European relations. Gyllenhaal isn't the only casting oddity, though at least some of the other British actors are passably Middle Eastern.
Still, the main problem isn't whitewashing, but believability. Everything seems staged rather than recreated; it feels more like another sword-clanging fantasy in Middle Earth than an adventure in the Middle East.
Dastan, a street urchin, is adopted by King Sharaman because he ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
This slideshow is only available for subscribers.
Please log in or subscribe to view the slideshow.