The video game has got to be more fun than this ‘Prince of Persia
Inspired by a video game (that’s your first clue), and heavily influenced by a countless number of similarly themed, and much better executed offerings, Disney’s “Prince of Persia” is pretty and pointless. Is it wrong to have higher expectations for a company that is capable of excellence, especially when it is spending upwards of $150 million to make a movie?
Take the original “Pirates of the Caribbean” film and excise its original, captivating story, the charisma of Johnny Depp’s character, and an occasionally witty screenplay and you have a sandals-and-swords extravaganza that will likely be enjoyed only by pre-teens and those willing to check their brain at the concessions stand.
“The Mummy,” Disney’s own “Aladdin,” even “Raiders of the Lost Ark” seem to be the inspiration, but “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” is the more apt comparison with a good actor-Jake Glyllenhaal-not displaying nearly enough charm despite his newly chiseled physique.
As Dastan the street urchin, he’s plucked from the sandy streets to become the adopted third son of King Sharaman of Persia (Ronald Pickup). Under false pretenses, the Persian army invades the resplendent, sacred city of Alamut. As the city is being conquered, the King is murdered and Dastan is accused, but not before he escapes with its beautiful queen Tamina (Gemma Arterton, adorned with the same wardrobe she had in “Clash of the Titans” and showing she hasn’t taken any acting lessons since that film), and a mysterious dagger that contains time-travel powers. (Uh-oh, you know how some of us feel about time-travel movies…)
All this deja-vu plotting would be fine if there were a little more fun and fewer quasi- British accents involved. Indeed, Alfred Molina is quite lively in a small role as a tax-hating entrepreneur who races ostriches (okay, score ONE novel idea).
Ben Kingsley also stars, and it’s easy to spot him as the villain early on since he is wearing the heaviest black eyeliner, always a tipoff as to whom not to trust. Not sure why Disney entrusted Mike Newell-director of “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “Mona Lisa Smile” and the only average “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” but also one of the best made-for-TV movies ever, 1977’s “The Man in the Iron Mask”-for such an adventure, but the very ordinary script would be difficult for anyone to overcome.
Rated PG-13 (Violence, Sexual Content).