This movie, if you’re somehow unaware, is based on a video game. A long-running series of games actually, most of them with the same title. There was one game with the same subtitle too, although I haven’t played that one so I can’t do a lot of comparison in this post. Anyway, since it is based on a video game, then the general expectation is that it will be a pile of horse-dung, as that’s been the precedent so far.
The story is basically about a Persian street-rat who becomes a prince and gets the girl using magic things (sound familiar?) to save the world. Jake Gyllenhaal plays prince Dastan, the highly acrobatic protagonist with the kind eyes, alongside Gemma Arterton as the princess and the legendary Sir Ben Kingsley (aka Gandhi) as Dastan’s adoptive uncle. Dastan’s two brothers of actual kingly descent become his enemies through some familiar Disney betrayal and he goes all fugitive-like and falls for the crazy-hot Gemma. The MacGuffin of course is the Dagger (of Time?) which allows the user to turn back time for a little bit and correct a crucial mistake. Apparently differing from the game, this dagger can only be used if you have enough sand in the hilt, which runs out rather quickly and is really hard to replace. Thusly it isn’t used much in the movie, but looks pretty awesome when it is. There’s a bigger thing related to the Dagger but that’s kind of important to the conclusion so I’ll leave it alone.
The trailers made this movie look like a lot of fun with a few dopey bits, and for once I think they did a good job of describing it well. It is a lot of fun. The action is really entertaining, Gemma is one hot piece of woman, the dialog is often funny (particularly one guy who is obsessed with avoiding taxes), and the characters as a whole are not all that unlikable. There are definitely dopey bits. The betrayal was a bit obvious and shouldn’t have made Dastan a fugitive so quickly. Dastan’s character seems a bit too awkward around Gemma than a Persian prince should be, and of course there doesn’t seem to be a single middle-eastern actor in the bunch, all of whom speak with English accents. I can overlook all that though since I honestly enjoyed the movie as a whole. There were times where I though I just wanted it to end, but eventually I just got very drawn into it and let it take its time.
I’d say go see it, but don’t expect anything revelatory. It’s just a pretty solid video game movie.