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Friday, May 28 3:00 AM ET

Trailer Review: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

By Brian Briggs follow me on Twitter or Google Buzz

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Prince of Persia: The Sands of TimeThis week I take a look at the trailer for the latest video game-to-movie attempt: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Does this trailer have any chance overcoming the dismal performance of video game movies? Read on to find out.

If there was any question that this was a Jerry Bruckheimer production, just take a look at the 360 degree shot of Jake Gyllenhaal standing atop the city, and you'll be reminded of CSI: Miami. As CSI: Miami is one of the worst shows on TV, that's not a great first impression.

The trailer opens with some action clips, then explains the power of the Dagger of Time. If you press the convenient red button in the hilt, you can rewind time while you watch and replay the scene. A do over definitely reduces the probability of death for the holder, unless he's got slow reflexes.

Some more action clips fly across the screen. We learn that the dagger can be used to unlock the Sands of Time and destroy the world. An evil king glowers with evilness. I wonder who will want to use the dagger for evil?

Quit You
I wish I could quit you

More action clips and more exposition. The only way to prevent this from happening is to take the dagger to the Guardian Temple and throw it into the Cracks of Doom. Narrating this exposition is the only female character in the room. (This means that unsurprisingly this movie will not pass the Bechdel test).

Now enter the Hassansins, who are the generic black-clothed desert dwellers who are the bad guys in these types of movies. The trailer then devolves into action montage mode with the pounding chorale soundtrack. A couple of "witty" exchanges between hero and heroine take place, and I put witty in quotes for the reason you suspect (especially if the reason you suspect is that it's not witty at all).

This trailer is filled with expensive-looking special effects, especially the performance by Gyllenhaal. I hadn't realized that they could generate an actor so realistically, but you can still tell he's CGI because of his lack of different expressions. It'll be great when they can actually generate characters that can act.

The trailer ends with a scene of the prince escaping from a collapsing pile of sand using some video game moves (I believe it's right-a-b-ab-up, but I could be wrong). I'm not quite sure the physics work out on this scene, but that's probably only a concern for the smart readers of BBspot and not the general populace.


Trailer Quicktime
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal
Gemma Arterton
Director Mike Newell
Official Site Link
US Opening May 28, 2010
Rated PG-13 (Video game violence)
Genre Video Game-to-Movie
Explosions 3
Weapons Dagger of Time, sword, teeth, whip, bow and arrow, arm launcher, axe, razors on a string, feet, snake, gravity
Man Quotient


Déjà Vu
The Mummy 2
Geek Factor 70%
See Trailer? No
See Movie? No
Follow Up No

Ending Prognostication: The Prince of Persia defeats the evil king and his minions. He saves the beautiful woman, and lives happily ever after (unless the movie makes enough money to generate a sequel, but I doubt that will happen).

Fun with IMDb: From the director of Big Breadwinner Hog comes a film with the stars of CSI: Miami and RRRrrrr!!!

Conclusion on Trailer: The trailer did nothing to make me want to see the movie. Gyllenhaal does not have a charismatic presence on the screen, and neither does the heroine. The special effects look like standard fare, and the story seems straight out of a video game (which unless it's Half-Life isn't a compliment). Not much worth seeing in this trailer.

Conclusion on Movie: This movie won't be Delta Farce bad, but it's not going to be winning any awards (unless it's like "Hottest Actor" on MTV). The curse of video games-to-movies will not be broken, and we'll just have to keep waiting for that one breakthrough movie that convinces Roger Ebert that video games are indeed art.

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