A bronzed Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Prince Dastan in 'Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,' the latest feature film adapted from a popular video game.

This Jerry Bruckheimer-produced swashbuckling adventure, written by Boaz Yakin and Doug Miro & Carlo Bernard and directed by 'Four Weddings and a Funeral's Mike Newell, revolves around noble and scrappy Dastan, feisty Princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton) and a coveted magic dagger that has the power to reverse time when filled with special sand. Acting support is provided by Ben Kingsley (in guyliner) as Dastan's dastardly uncle Nazim, and Alfred Molina as a cunning sheik who runs ostrich races.

Does 'Prince' have the goods to put up a worthy fight against the 'Sex and the City' girls this weekend, or is it game over for this sixth-century Persian epic? Read what the critics had to say. A bronzed Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Prince Dastan in 'Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,' the latest feature film adapted from a popular video game.

This Jerry Bruckheimer-produced swashbuckling adventure, written by Boaz Yakin and Doug Miro & Carlo Bernard and directed by 'Four Weddings and a Funeral's Mike Newell, revolves around noble and scrappy Dastan, feisty Princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton) and a coveted magic dagger that has the power to reverse time when filled with special sand. Acting support is provided by Ben Kingsley (in guyliner) as Dastan's dastardly uncle Nazim, and Alfred Molina as a cunning sheik who runs ostrich races.

Does 'Prince' have the goods to put up a worthy fight against the 'Sex and the City' girls this weekend, or is it game over for this sixth-century Persian epic? Here's what the critics had to say:

Entertainment Weekly: "As sword-and-sandal fantasy movies based on videogames and starring a buffed-up Jake Gyllenhaal go, 'Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time' goes pretty well. ... To the credit of director Mike Newell (drawing on his 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire' wrangling skills), a conclave of screenwriters who keep the dialogue on the sharp side, and the life's-a-game instincts of producer Jerry Bruckheimer, all that 'Arabian Nights'-like stuff unfolds at a brisk, well-paced clip."

The Hollywood Reporter: "Aimed squarely at youngsters and families, 'Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time' ... is a handsome, fast-paced and innocuous adventure that's easy to take but lacks epic scale. Based on a 2003 Ubisoft video game, the film has dash and flourish with adequate performances and expert effects that keep a far-fetched tale buoyant without leaving any lasting impression."

The New Yorker: " 'Prince of Persia' is meant purely as light entertainment, but the way it draws on layers of junk is depressing. It's based on clichés not only from old paintings but from some of the fruitiest and most swollen nineteen-fifties period spectacles; all this material, after passing through video games, now gets loaded back into a production requiring the wealth of corporate kings."

'Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time' trailer


Orlando Sentinel: "'Prince of Persia' has a high body count and graphic violence (beheadings, impalings). But as it borrows gags from 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' and other sandy action epics, the tone tends to be light, the dialog comically arch."

Associated Press: "It looks cheesy in the kind of monster-budget way you can only achieve through copious amounts of computer-generated imagery. There's nothing terribly memorable about 'Prince of Persia;' recalling the plot a half-hour afterward might require some effort."

Rogert Ebert: "The two leads are not inspired. Jake Gyllenhaal could make the cover of a muscle mag, but he plays Dastan as if harboring Spider-Man's doubts and insecurities. I recall Gemma Arterton as resembling a gorgeous still photo in a cosmetics ad."

Los Angeles Times: "In a world where action trumps, well, everything, there should be more of those white-knuckle, gut-wrenching feelings churning around somewhere, and there aren't, even with the death-defying, street-style gymnastics of parkour in nearly every scene. I think it's because the movie's most special prince of Persia, Jake Gyllenhaal's Dastan, is just too pretty -- you know even with betrayal in the air and barbarians at the gate, no one is going to mess with that face."

The Arizona Republic: "The audience should be given game controllers upon entering the theater. It wouldn't mean the film would make any more sense, but at least you'd feel like you had some say in the matter. Alas, we simply sit and watch as a bulked-up Jake Gyllenhaal bounds from one scene to another, dispatching evil and treachery along the way, each episode falling after the next like another level of, well, a video game."
CATEGORIES Reviews