+++ Opinion +++
The huge success of Pirates of the Caribbean was both a blessing and a curse for Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Blessing, because the Maushaus, known today as a hit machine, urgently needed a massive hit in 2003. And “Armageddon” creator Bruckheimer will hardly have complained about being back in the fast lane after a few commercial disappointments.
Curse in that Disney and Bruckheimer misinterpreted the audience’s enthusiasm. They let other mixtures of action, adventure and (sub)genres believed to be dead follow, all in the (mis)believe that they could repeat the pirate magic with it. This resulted in costly flops like Prince Of Persia: The Sands of Time. The video game adaptation was intended to launch an entire theatrical franchise, but since the blockbuster grossed less than $337 million worldwide, those plans were immediately buried under the desert sands.
» “Prince Of Persia” on subscription to Disney+*
That made the $200 million production a quickly forgotten Disney/Bruckheimer throwback – as well as a LEGO curiosity, given that it was given a whole range of LEGO sets that are now selling very cheaply despite their rarity value. “Prince Of Persia” is not flawless, but it is enjoyable adventure cinema that deserves more success. If you want to convince yourself: Today, September 20, 2022, “Prince of Persia” will be shown on Disney Channel from 8:15 p.m.
The Persian prince Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) and his brothers lead a war of aggression against the city of Alamut – believing that it supplies weapons to the enemies of Persia. Dastan discovers a mysterious dagger that can be used to turn back time for a few seconds. When Persia’s king Sharaman is assassinated during the victory celebrations and Dastan becomes the prime suspect, he sets out to prove his innocence. The dagger is just as convenient for him as the initially reluctant help of Princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton). Together they uncover a conspiracy…
To get the elephant out of the room: Casting Jake Gyllenhaal as a Persian prince and Gemma Arterton as an oriental princess is a slap in the face for those who don’t get leading roles in Hollywood simply because of their origins. An avoidable one at that, for example Iranian-born, later Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales supporting actress Golshifteh Farahani was originally slated to play Tamina!
As inaccurate and unfair as the casting is, Gyllenhaal and Arterton are fun in their roles! Gyllenhaal is rarely seen in confident, friendly hero roles, but as Dastan he proves he could score in them anytime he wanted to: He is haughty but well-meaning, a bit clumsy and quick-witted – Gyllenhaals would probably have become Peter Parker/Spider-Man like this or something similar if he had actually inherited Tobey Maguire in “Spider-Man 2”, as planned in the meantime.
Casting Arterton, on the other hand, is an attempt to reiterate the genius casting of Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Swann: the Brit casts the heroine who finds adventure appealing but is now reluctantly dragged into one as well-read, bold, gallant and charmingly flippant. This isn’t an original piece, but Arterton gives her character her own twist, especially with regard to the humorous component.
The focus, however, is on the classic sense of adventure that sets “Prince Of Persia” apart from “Pirates of the Caribbean”: While Gore Verbinski approached his pirate spectacle with a rocker attitude, “Donnie Brasco” director Mike Newell carefully updates the enchanted one Orient swashbucklers from old Hollywood. The magnificent sets and backdrops, which are staged in a reveling manner, carry “Prince Of Persia” just as much as the romantic adventure that shimmers through the airwhile Dastan and Tamina bicker in the hot sand, grow together and fight for their lives.
The score by Harry Gregson-Williams also sounds much more old-fashioned than the music from “Pirates of the Caribbean”. Unfortunately, it doesn’t hide the one or two dry spells of this excursion through a beautiful, spacious world full of dangers. Or about the finale, which throws the “old school, rethought” approach overboard for a horrific firework display.
this one Despite the drawbacks, “Prince Of Persia” is respectable adventure cinema, which pleases not only because of its figures and its equipment. But also because of its fast action scenes, which are peppered with daring course jumps and bizarre sights like an ostrich race…
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