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Prince of Persia

My biggest question going into Mike Newell’s Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (in theaters everywhere today) was whether or not Newell and Jerry Bruckheimer had successfully transcended the oft-disparaged genre of “video game movies” and managed to cobble together a satisfying cinematic adventure. The answer? Kind of, but not really. Hit the jump for some of my brief thoughts, and feel free to share what you thought of the film in the comments.

If I could sum up Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time into one word, it would be “acceptable.” The film is a completely inoffensive, paint-by-numbers fantasy adventure. I mildly enjoyed it but found myself bored towards the end, as the film really stretches a paper thin plot about 20 minutes too long. Gyllenhaal was convincing enough as the prince and his relationship with Gemma Atherton is charming but mind-numbingly predictable. The action scenes are competent, yet lack any significant thrill, or the sense that any of the major characters are in danger.

The good news is that as far as video game movies go, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is not a disaster; it’s just rather mediocre. But there were a few elements of the film I found inexcusable. For instance, Atherton’s character of Tamina essentially exists to provide clunky, cringe-worthy exposition throughout the course of the film. Less forgivable: the dagger that “unlocks” the sands of time, which I find to be an inherently cool concept, isn’t used creatively at all and is thus completely wasted. Add to this an abundance of hokey CGI, a lack of character development for the central family members in the film, and an anticlimactic final battle, and you have a recipe for an underwhelming time at the movie theater this weekend.

But what did you guys think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and feel free to check out my interview with Newell as well.

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