So, I've been mildly excited for this movie. I haven't played the video games, but I'm a fan of the concept. And anything that involves Parkour is cool. And then I started hearing the relatively positive reviews and got a bit more excited. Though despite the reviews being positive, they were only mildly so, with ratings around the 3-3.5 out of 5 range. But hey, that's at least entertaining, right? Right.
The movie follows the story of Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal), who started out as an orphan but is adopted by the Persian king, thus becoming a prince of Persia. But with his street-based childhood, he has some street cred and knows how to move about (Aladdin-ish). Well, after getting some news that a major city might be selling weapons to Persia's enemies, Dastan, his brothers, and his uncle (Ben Kingsley) are forced to invade them. In the process, Dastan discovers a mystical dagger that has the ability to turn back time, which is guarded by the city's princess, Tamina (Gemma Arterton). But after Dastan is accused of murdering his father, he is forced to leave with Tamina on a quest to figure out who was really behind his father's death, as well as discovering the secrets of the dagger. The movie also features Alfred Molina as a shifty entrepreneur who dabbles with... ostrich racing.
Overall, some parts of this movie are better than others. This movie was pimped out to be the next big "Pirates of the Caribbean." What I loved most about the PotC films, besides the quirky Captain Jack, were the imaginative fight sequences. And this movie had a lot of potential for imaginative fight sequences, what with the video game's basis in parkour and instant time travel. And I felt, for the most part, this potential was wasted. There's maybe one or two scenes that utilized these things well (primarily the parkour), but that's about it. But the scenes that do utilize these things are pretty cool.
The acting is decent, with the witty banter of Dastan and Tamina stealing the scenes. Dastan was a pretty fun character, and Gemma Arterton is absolutely gorgeous. Oh, and her character is decent, too, playing a strong female lead. Alfred Molina really hammed it up, and his character walked the line between funny and bizarrely annoying. There were some moments where he was funny, but the character overall was just strange, and the whole ostrich thing felt out of place. As for the other characters, the smaller roles (like the brothers) were a bit rough. They were flatly written and--sometimes--poorly acted. And Ben Kingsley was just kinda in it for the paycheck, I think.
Which leads me into the script itself. You can tell there are some very video game moments (puzzles, etc.). And those are pretty cool. But there is some pretty rough dialogue that is so forced, so stilted, so bad... I wonder how it even stayed past the rough draft of the script. Luckily, these moments are few and far between, but when they show up (especially around the beginning), they really stick out.
I know this review seems negative, but I didn't dislike the movie. It was actually pretty entertaining, and I can agree with all those other reviews that put it in that middle ground. It's not great, but it's fun, and it's a decent way to spend about 2 hours. Sure, you pretty much see everything coming a mile away, but the journey is still an entertaining one. And isn't that what summer blockbusters are all about?
Stop Saying Okay! Okay.
(P.S. And that's a strong rating... it was a tough choice between this and the next highest rating, but overall I thought this one was more suitable.)