The Alexandrian

Prince of Persia

Dear Prince of Persia,

You have one gimmick: A dagger that lets you rewind time.

You might want to try using it to some meaningful effect at some point during your movie.


Justin Alexander

In all seriousness, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is a fairly entertaining action-adventure flick. But it’s not particularly clever, and that’s disappointing because a dagger that lets you rewind time should give you plenty of opportunities for cleverness.

I think the film’s real source of struggle is that they turn the Prince into the infallible star of an action movie: For example, one sequence has him effortlessly surf his way down an avalanche of sand, parkour-leap perfectly onto a narrow ledge, and somersault his way into the next chamber. And he’s doing that sort of thing pretty consistently throughout the entire movie.

But the essential nature of the dagger of time is that it lets you erase your mistakes. So if you never let your prototypical action hero make any mistakes, then you’re knee-capping your premise. The disappointing thing here is that the dagger of time gives you the opportunity to create a prototypical action hero who is still a fallible human being (because he achieves that action hero perfection through the use of the dagger) — thus re-creating cinematically the same basic appeal that the game had.

The film also chickens out of using the incredibly funny-yet-bittersweet ending from the original game, opting instead for a paint-by-numbers Hollywood Romance ending. Which I, personally, find disappointing.

Final analysis: Fun to see, but nothing you’re going to remember six months from now.

Prince of Persia
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3 Responses to “Movie Week – Prince of Persia”

  1. Justin Alexander says:


    Maybe he is making mistakes and fixing them via dagger all the time, and that’s why he’s able to pull off amazing stunts consistently?
    Tuesday, June 29, 2010, 1:05:21 PM

    A Paladin In Citadel
    I never played the game. Is the movie an approximate recreation of the game, and how did they end it that time?
    Monday, June 28, 2010, 12:06:29 PM

    Major spoilers, obviously.

    The vizer of the princess’ city let the prince’s armies in, then betrayed the prince to get the sandglass. You then fight to the sandglass, through the palace and numerous traps and sand monsters with the aid of the princess, and go back in time. He then sneaks into the city, pre invasion, kills the vizer (easiest end boss ever), and uses his dagger of time to have a not too bad meeting with the princess. She no longer loves him.

    Yeah. They could have had more time reversals. I thought the hassansins were using time sand initially, with their visions of the future that allowed them to track him, and he could have stolen some from them, or had his dagger recharged when he killed one of them. The time reversal scenes were pretty cool too.

    Maybe they ran out of time, or budget? It looked real complex to do the time reversal scenes.
    Monday, June 28, 2010, 3:08:24 PM

  2. Mengmoshu says:

    Have you seen Edge of Tomorrow (the Tom Cruise movie)?

    I think that movie uses the Groundhog Day loop mechanic pretty well to show Cruise’s character becoming the classic infallible action hero. I think it also does a nice job on the romantic resolution.

    I watched it expecting just an action spectacle, and motivated by my love of time travel movies. I walked away looking forward to the next time I would watch the movie.

  3. Justin Alexander says:

    Re: Edge of Tomorrow. Fantastic movie. I think it’s fascinating that “Groundhog Dag” has become an entire little sub-genre of movies.

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