Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010) – 3/5

Not terrible. Not great by any means, but entertaining at times, and better than you’d probably expect. And that Gemma Arterton is damn fine; what a good actress. And that voice is so sexy. The rest of the cast is good too.

This film often feels like it’s just on the cusp of being creative and interesting, but pulls back at the last possible moment in favor of more predictable moments and stupid, CGI laced action scenes. And the “dagger of time,” which is arguably the only element that separates this film from every other horse and sandal action film, is hardly even used or put to creative effect. Come on people, it’s time travel! The possibilities for fun are nearly endless!

And the editing is just terrible. Scenes that are necessary to explain how characters go from one area to another seemed to have been cut in favor of, what, CGI ostriches? Not every portion of the film does this, though. The first third is actually pretty good continuity-wise, but the second half, the one involving lots of travel from one similar looking sand covered place to another, you know, the one needing continuity the most, is just a mess.

It also seems like many significant character moments, most importantly the ones establishing the relationship between our main character and his female love interest, were cut. There’s just something missing there that really ought not be. What the hell happened?

I did enjoy the rather nontraditional ending, though. It’s sort of not what I was expecting, and much better than it could have been. I also really enjoyed the acting in this film, with the exception of Ben Kingsley who, as the main villain, seems to just come off bored whenever he’s on-screen.

But the actor who plays Gyllenhaal’s kind, kingly, long brown-haired brother is really freaking good. I think the director realized this as the character seems to become the central focus of the film for a few minutes here and there, something I don’t think I’ve ever seen in an action film before. When was the last time a huge celebrity headlining a major motion picture was pushed aside on-screen in favor of a virtually unknown secondary character, even for a few minutes? And the guy really steals the show. I hope he’s given more roles in the future.

Overall, a decent film, nothing great, a bit boring here and there but only because it’s the same crap we’ve seen a million times. But it is creative at times, and manages to remain entertaining throughout, though it really could have used a better editor. Oh, and more Gemma Arterton! The woman should have her own movie. With skimpier outfits, if possible.

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