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What happened to the ostrich?

You ever get that feeling where you don’t really wake up from a holiday? Like you’re so used to being a complete lazy bastard that you forget your regular life has its occasional periods of productivity every once in a while? Yeah, that’s what I’m having lately. I don’t think it helped that before I went away I was in the midst of a bad cold, so going from dying horribly to procrastinating terrifically probably wasn’t the best of combinations for my work ethic. Looks like it might be another couple of works before I get preparing something for the site. Doesn’t sound like fun.

In an attempt to wake myself up from the start of a very lazy week, padre and I went out to see Prince of Persia: Sands of Times last night. He’s been nagging me to see it since he saw the first trailer (which I never saw) and I’ve been relatively apathetic. If there was nothing else to watch then I would watch it, and it looked like this was precisely the week for such an occasion – aren’t Summer line-ups meant to be giant blockbusters or something? If so, there was an astounding lack of them outside of stuff that had come out weeks ago. Why is The Tooth Fairy still showing, for that matter? You’d think Vin Diesel would want that buried pretty quickly, but large placards for it are lingering around the theatre like bad omens.

So, Prince of Persia. In six words, it’s a nice piece of fluff.

I think that’s about right.

My only familiarity with the games is through playing the first game on… what, the Game Boy, I think? My grandma’s PC? I’m not even sure where I played it, but it was years and years ago. I know of the new games, but regarding the finer details I only know of what’s been stated in the strips parodying it in VG Cats. I know there’s something that turns back time, and I’m aware the sequels became exaggeratedly grimdark, but, yeah, don’t quiz about it, folks. The story’s basically about that time travel knife thing being what the bald evil uncle dude is after, and I’ve just spoiled the whole movie with that one sentence, haven’t I. Christ. Sorry folks. I’m tired!

The story’s hardly anything major, and quite frankly, I had a bit of difficulty getting immersed. It’s set in Persia, has a Persian-themed soundtrack and is host to a positively beautiful Persian landscape and architecture, but the characters are more like bronzed Brits instead. The princess in her more obnoxious moments has that particular hard-to-define tone of voice that comes with young British women when they’re being obnoxious (a sad truth!), and the main guy had a rather frightening habit of suddenly sounding like Russell Brand on rare occasions. I don’t know, maybe I’m just going mad, but I swear it was a frightening resemblance in voice at times. Personally, I found a lot of the characters to be rather dull, and early on it was almost painful the blatant exposition they dropped casually into dialogue; combined with the fact that at the beginning everyone seemed to think that shouting = acting, it wasn’t the best first impression. It picks up after a while when things get a little more serious and it relies more on action than people throwing words at each other.

Alfred Molina (Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2, and now I’ve just discovered he voiced the bad guy in Steam Boy!) totally steals the show as the shifty entrepreneur Sheik Amar, a dude who runs an ostrich racing track and has a hate-on for taxes. The guy just comes out of nowhere like a breath of fresh air – when early on everyone is fumbling their way through awkward dialogue, he just storms in accompanied by the mandatory cool black guy and starts busting out hilarious dialogue in such a hammy manner that must come naturally to the man. He tags along but effectively vanishes once the characters reach the temple and isn’t seen again, obviously because that’s when the time travel really kicks in, but it’s a shame – he’s easily my favourite part of the film. They should’ve made the movie all about him.

I’m probably actually ragging on more about the acting than I should be, as it’s not too bad, but I won’t deny within the first twenty minutes it does come across as a bit subpar. Like I said, it’s a nice piece of fluff, but I really do think the special effects and the terrific visuals are what makes it pay off – it’s one thing to have some pretty sparkles and crap, but to have such vivid cities and landscapes to play in, coupled with the prince’s acrobatic antics, it’s quite beautiful to watch; I’m only disappointed you just don’t get more chances to admire the scenery. If there’s one movie truly worth of meandering long shots along the lines of Beastmaster, I’d say this would happen to be one of them.

One Comment

  1. MightyKombat wrote:

    Its mainly thanks to Sands of Time that I played the original PoP. Even now its quite daunting to be made ot try to beat the game in less than an our or THE PRINCESS DIES.

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Permalink