————THAT ONE MOVIE REVIEW———— —-Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time—-

4 06 2010

EDIT: After months of inactivity, I came back and realized this particular article was pretty much crap. You can still read the whole thing by clicking the link below, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

I saw Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time the other day. Being a fan of the video game series who’s played and loved the big three (The Sands of Time, Warrior Within, and The Two Thrones) I came to the theater with some measure of anticipation, but also having heard some less than favorable reviews of the film beforehand, I didn’t go in with too much optimism. This review does contain SPOILERS for both the film and the games, so if you’ve not seen/played them but you plan to, be forewarned.

THE FILM: Plot The movie follows Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal), an orphan who is adopted by King Sharaman of Persia as a child. As an adult, Prince Dastan leads a moderate group of soldiers, though his older brothers, Tus and Garsiv, head the Persian army. When the king’s brother and adviser, Nizam (Ben Kingsley), reveals that the city of Alamut has been forging weapons for Persia’s enemies, the family leads an attack on the holy city. While his brothers lead a direct attack, Dastan and his men defy orders, scaling the walls and greatly helping to secure the city. Dastan retrieves a valuable-looking dagger from one of the city’s guards, to whom the weapon had been given for safekeeping earlier by Princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton). Tus gives Dastan a prayer robe he had found in the city to present to their father as a gift. Meanwhile, Tamina, Alamut’s religious leader, is captured and offered to Tus as a wife, so as to officially make the city a part of the Persian empire. It is then suggested instead that Dastan should marry her, as he was the one responsible for Persia’s victory. Caught by surprise by the offer, Dastan stalls, presenting the robe to his father. However, it is laced with some sort of acid and burns the king to death.

Hmm, wonder if they have a return policy.

Obviously, Dastan is presumed to be behind the murder, and he is forced to escape Castle Alamut with Tamina’s help. While wandering the desert, Tamina tries to kill Dastan in order to retrieve the dagger he’s been carrying. It  is revealed that this is the Dagger of Time, which allows the user to reverse time up to one minute, just enough time to correct a fatal mistake. After using the dagger twice to save himself from Tamina, he exhausts the dagger’s “fuel” source, the Sands of Time. Realizing that Tus, who had previously expressed interest in the dagger, must have framed him for the murder to seize both the dagger and the throne, Dastan sets out to clear his name, while Tamina wishes to take the dagger back to Alamut. After traveling a while, Tamina gets the upper hand on the prince and manages to knock him out, abandoning him and taking the dagger with her. When he wakes up, he is surrounded by Sheik Amar (Alfred Molina), his friend Seso who is indebted to the Sheik for saving his life, and several other members of Seso’s tribe, the Ngbaka, experts with throwing knives. Dastan strikes up a deal with Amar and, after tracking down Tamina, the two agree that, in return for his hospitality, Amar may keep Tamina. It turns out that Amar is a wisecracking, small-businessman who’s had enough of the government’s taxing of his business, which happens to be ostrich racing.

Because "fuck you, big business," that's why.

Before long, the bandits try to take the Dagger of Time away from Dastan and, realizing who the prince is, decide to take him to Tus so as to collect the sizable reward on his head. Of course, Dastan and Tamina make yet another daring escape. The two make their way back to Persia for Sharaman’s  funeral, and Dastan is able to talk to his uncle, Nizam, alone. Dastan explains that he was not involved in his father’s murder, and hopes to show Nizam the magical dagger that Tus has sought, proving the older brother’s true intentions. However, the prince discovers that Tamina has taken the dagger from him, and furthermore, that Nizam’s hands are burned, despite never having tried to remove the poisoned robe from Sharaman. Dastan realizes that Nizam had previously handled the robe, and must be the true culprit behind the murder. Having walked into an ambush, Dastan escapes Nizam’s men and has a brief encounter with Garsiv, who still believes his younger brother to be responsible for their father’s death. The prince catches back up with the princess and tells her what’s up, and she reveals the backstory we haven’t heard yet: The Sands of Time were created by the Gods to punish humanity for its sins, but a pure-hearted little girl offered them her life in exchange for salvation for mankind. The Gods decided to contain the Sands in a massive “Sandglass,” which lies beneath the city of Alamut, sparing the little girl and all of humanity as well. The Sandglass can be used to refill the Dagger, but if the weapon were to be activated at the same time, the Sands would be released and cause devastation on a level rivaling that of Katrina.

Like this, but with sand.

Since whoever might do this with the dagger would be given a big heaping dose of make-time-go-backwards-ness, Dastan surmises that Nizam probably wants to go back in time and keep his brother from becoming the king, probably with murder. Probably. The prince, finally seeing what’s at stake, decides to help Tamina return the dagger from whence it came, so that Nizam will be unable to harness its power.

Since Dastan now knows the truth about his father’s murder, Nizam tries to convince Tus, who has been crowned king, and Garsiv that Dastan is trying to usurp the throne and that he should be killed without even being put to trial, or else they might have to deal with a full-scale rebellion. Tus refuses to condemn his brother to such a fate, and Nizam goes behind his back to hire the Hassansins, a group of highly skilled warriors whom Sharaman had had disbanded.

Dastan and Tamina are found once again by Sheik Amar and the Ngbaka, who still plan to turn the two in for a reward, this time to rebuild Amar’s business, as Dastan’s previous escape left the sheik with only ostrich. That night, the Hassansin leader releases several snakes into their camp which kill many of the people there. However, Dastan uses the Dagger, which has been “refueled” by a small amount of the Sands that Tamina had on her, to reverse time and save everyone. As such, Seso is now loyal to Dastan, and Amar has no choice but to ally with them. The group makes its way to a fabled sanctuary where the Dagger can be returned and sealed off forever. This would come at the cost of the life that the Gods had originally spared — Tamina’s. Before they can do so, Garsiv and his men show up, but this time, Dastan manages to convince his brother that Nizam is the true murderer. Then, in a twist than nobody could ever possibly see coming, Garsiv is mortally wounded in another attack by the Hassansins. Many of Garsiv’s men and the Ngbaka are killed, and the only surviving Hassansin is their leader, who retrieves the Dagger and escapes. Dastan, Tamina, Amar, and Seso make their way back to Alamut to expose Nizam for the baddy he is. They find out that the Dagger, which they need to prove Dastan’s innocence to Tus, is being guarded in the sacred temple by a “demon covered in spikes.” Is this “demon” some otherworldly creature that cannot be killed by mortal weapons? Nope, just one of the Hassansin who has a bunch of ‘throwing spikes.’ Seso faces off against him, and both are killed in the ensuing fight, but not before Seso manages to throw the Dagger outside to the exact spot where Dastan is waiting. While Amar causes a distraction, Dastan confronts Tus, telling his brother how to use the Dagger before killing himself with it. Tus rewinds time, and Dastan is saved. Whoo! So now that Dastan has convinced his brother of his innocence, the brother is promptly killed (sound familiar?), this time by Nizam. Dastan is kept busy by another Hassansin while Uncle Nizzy escapes, but with Tamina’s help, Dastan defeats him.

No, Google Image Results, you're an idiot.

Tamina leads Dastan under Alamut, towards the Sandglass, but they run into the Hassansin leader. Unsurprisingly, Dastan comes out the victor, and he and Tamina finally share a kiss. When they reach the Sandglass, Nizam is already piercing it with the Dagger, and in their confrontation, Tamina is knocked over the edge of the chasm. Dastan catches her hand, but Tamina knows he doesn’t have enough time to save her and stop Nizam, so she lets go. Dastan fights his uncle, eventually activating the Dagger and releasing the Sands. The Sandglass cracks and a devastating sandstorm is released, destroying Alamut. Dastan uses the Dagger’s power, however, and goes back to the first time he’d held the Dagger, during the siege of Alamut. He reveals Nizam’s plan before it can even be executed, and when Nizam tries to kill him, Tus defends his brother and kills the traitorous uncle. The Persians apologize for the ill-conceived attack on Alamut, and it is once again suggested that Dastan and Tamina be wed. The prince, the only person aware of the alternate series of events, returns the Dagger to Tamina. The two of them take a walk, with Dastan saying something about everyone being able to control their own destiny. THE END.

THE FILM: Review

The video game series this movie was based on was awesome because it combined the two coolest things in the world: time travel and parkour. Unfortunately, the movie didn’t really capitalize on this much, only featuring a few scenes of each. And although the plot often must be padded when a video game is turned into a movie, this is usually because the video game had little to no plot, whatsoever. The Prince of Persia games had great plots! Granted, it would be hard to turn just the first game into a full-length feature film, but it probably would have been possible using the first and third (the second was a little different, and might be pushing it too far). However, I think the movie might have been better off just leaving the game’s plot as is, and filling the remaining time with mindless violence. I’m pretty sure Jake Gyllenhaal could pull off “mindless.”

Above: Academy Award nominee.

Overall, the movie was alright. As far as video game-based-films go, Uwe Boll has already set the bar about as low as possible, so this isn’t really saying much. If you’re not much for video games, you could watch it without much reservation, and probably get a kick out of it, but I wouldn’t say it’s worth the $10 you’d have to pay to see it, since you’ve already seen the ending in Back to the Future II and heard Dastan’s final speech from Edward Furlong in Terminator 2. I’d recommend just playing the games instead. That’ll only set you back $30-40.


Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time seems to draw mostly from the video game of the same name, with not much influence from the sequels, though a lot was lost in translation. As far as I can tell, the movie had little, if anything, to do with the video game. For example, in the game…


– The eponymous Prince doesn’t actually have a name. Or, at least, you never know what it is. Can’t blame the filmmakers for giving him one, though, since you can’t possibly make a good movie with a nameless main character.

– The Prince wasn’t adopted; he was born a prince. And an only prince, at that. He doesn’t have any siblings.

– The female lead is Farah, daughter of a conquered Maharajah.

– The main antagonist is an evil Vizier, not even related to The Prince.

– The king’s name is spelled Shahraman, not Sharaman. Just had to change a bit of everything, didn’t they?


– Everything.

– There was no attack on a holy city. The Persian army was merely conquering an Indian Maharajah’s city on its way to Azad, with the help of that city’s Vizier.

– Both the Dagger of Time and the Hourglass (Sandglass in the movie) are treasures of the Maharajah’s. The Prince finds the Dagger in the Maharajah’s treasure vault, and the Hourglass is brought as a gift for the sultan of Azad.

– The Sands of Time are released right from the start. In fact, that’s what the whole game is about. The Vizier tricks The Prince into releasing the Sands, which sweep out and turn everyone in the kingdom (possibly in the world) into a horrible sand monster. The only people unaffected by the Sands are The Prince, The Vizier, and Farah, the conquered Maharajah’s daughter. They are saved by special artifacts that each possesses (the Dagger of Time, in the Prince’s case). Other than the Vizier, not a single enemy in the game is a normal human. The opposite is true of the movie.

– The Prince has no qualms with killing. In the movie, Dastan seems averse to even spilling another man’s blood, let alone killing him, whereas The Prince in the game tries to kill damn near everything that moves. The makers of the video game got around the violence by making all the enemies sand monsters who only bleed sand, but still though…

– The Sands of Time were created with the death of the Empress of Time, not by the Gods. Interestingly, the Prince himself was responsible for their creation. (This is all covered in the sequel, Warrior Within)

– There was no comic relief in the form of a wisecracking ostrich racer played by Doctor Octopus, and there is no excuse for putting one in the film!

"Call me.... Doctor Ostrichpus." No! Fuck you, Alfred Molina.

Being another Bruckheimer/Disney venture, there’s a possibility that Prince of Persia will go the way of Pirates of the Caribbean and produce a couple sequels. PoP hasn’t had as strong of a start though, which is a bit sad, considering the fact that Pirates was based on a few animatronic hooligans that ran around in circles. Really, as long as they don’t give some 60-year-old cokehead rockstar a cameo, I’ll probably be happy.




6 responses

5 06 2010
Steve Perry

The Prince killed a bunch of people with no remorse in the movie.
You a bad mail man.

5 06 2010

Maybe my memory fails me. Could’ve sworn he usually just knocked ’em unconscious or let ’em kill each other. Granted, this was a Disney movie and, as with Pirates of the Caribbean, I don’t think they like giving kids heroes that do a lot of killing, even when they’re set upon by dozens of swordsmen. Of course, if the bad guys were Jewish, I’m sure Walt would say otherwise……

5 06 2010

Bubble Boy killed that one Assassin (I don’t care how to spell it like they did in the movie. Fuck you, history). And I’m pretty sure he slit a couple guys’ throats, but it was fast cuts, so you just kind of heard the noise and the guys fell down. And shit.

6 06 2010

Hmm, can’t confirm the throat-slittings but yes, he did kill that one Hassansin, I’ll give you that. I didn’t say he never killed anyone. It just seemed like he tried to avoid it.

6 06 2010


6 06 2010

Nope my ass.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Do not nope his ass.

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