Have you played any game from the Prince of Persia series? I have. It belonged to a friend, it was the SNES port of the very first game, which was originally made for the Apple IIe in 1989. That was before I had much gaming experience, so I sucked in every possible way, and was unable to even get past the first level. Well, in my defense, this game did have a pretty innovative attack-block-attack-block system for the time, which I never mastered… The franchise itself saw a reboot on PC, starting with Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, followed by Warrior Within and The Two Thrones, with an interquel in 2010 titled The Forgotten Sands. And that interquel came out around te same time as this movie, which is based on the first game of this reboot trilogy/quadrilogy, and it was a way to capitalize on the release of the film – gotta have tie-in merchandise, am I right? This disregards the second reboot that happened in 2008, and… Just give me a second, I need to get my story straight.
Anyway, before I get lost again in a desert of years, dates and titles, I’m gonna talk about today’s movie. It was released in theaters on May 28th, 2010. While it bears the name of the first title in that reboot trilogy, it actually incorporates elements from all three games. It features Jake Gyllenhaal in the role of Prince Dastan. You might remember him as a teenager dying in a plane crash in the comfort of his own home. Or perhaps, as an older teenager in that time Roland Emmerich froze New York City solid. Or maybe you remember him from that confusing and nonsensical but nonetheless awesome film Source Code (It’s right there, on my giant list of guilty pleasures!). Or maybe you know him from Brokeback Mountain? Either way, you probably know him from somewhere, and that’s all that counts.
Unfortunately, with my lack of knowledge on the series, I cannot properly judge this movie as an adaptation – but hey, it’s an adaptation, I can still cover it on my site. I mean, I wanted to do Ender’s Game, but then I remembered my copy of the DVD wasn’t working right ever since my mom put it silver face down on the table (some time later, she did the same to my copy of Just Dance 2015, unlucky me). So Prince of Persia it is.
Okay, enough time wasted. Let’s jump right into this!
|You better run from those guards, young Dastan. You'll|
be doing that a lot in 15 years.
|Wow. I need to keep a souvenir of this. Where's my camera?|
...What do you mean, it hasn't been invented yet? INVENT IT!
|Left to right: Tus, Nizam and Garsiv. Dastan had more|
important matters to take care of at the moment...
namely, fanservice for the ladies.
Choosing not to follow his brothers’ plan, Dastan and his own group launch an attack and manage to climb the castle walls, get in, and open not only the east gate, but also the gate after that, which could only be opened with a mechanism located higher. Well gee, this Prince of Persia has got to be one of the best climbers I’ve seen! He was doing Parkour centuries before Parkour was a thing! The Persian army hurries to the east gate while the Alamutian armed forces run there to defend their city, but Dastan again uses his wits and his incredible climbing talents to rain an inflammable liquid set ablaze on them. The Persian army gets in, and war ensues. Dastan himself combats multiple enemies. Meanwhile, Princess Tamina orders one of her loyal servants to take a sacred item and hide it where the invaders will never find it… Well, that could have been a good plan, but while on his way to hide that treasure, said servant encounters Prince Freaking Dastan. Although their fight is pretty impressive, the prince wins and takes the treasure: A dagger with some sort of recipient as its handle. And it’s all engraved in symbols. Hm, I wonder if it says “He who dares profane the Holy City will pay with his life”, or something more mundane like “Hands off, you twat!”?
|"This old blade looks cheap, it can barely cut and I'd be afraid|
to break the glass handle if I used it in battle. That's junk.
A nearby merchant might just give me two coins for it.
...Nah, it can wait until after our victory is complete."
The Persian army wins the battle and charge into the Princess’s quarters, When Prince Tus makes the offer to marry Tamina as a political solution to this turmoil, she replies she’d rather be dead. Then she sees Dastan and, well, I hate to say that it’s like love at first sight, but it checks out many of the trope’s boxes. However, she notices the dagger on him… The Persian army celebrates its victory, and Prince Tus sees that his adopted brother, who allowed this amazing victory, is to be properly rewarded. Then Advisor Nizam comes in and explains that King Sharaman is coming to Alamut. Contrary to what you’d think, the King is not exactly in a happy mood. As it turns out, Tus led the army into this battle over the spy’s words, which mostly consisted of clues and hearsay, and this “victory” may cost them greatly on a political level due to the sacred status of Alamut. Tus, to get in his father’s good graces again, promises to search for the supposed weapons himself in the newly-conquered city.
|"Son, whatever happens nex, you'll stay in my and|
everyone's good graces." Just wait 3 minutes...
|Like I said. All it took was three minutes.|
In the ensuing fight, Dastan’s unnamed friend gets killed (ah, Bis, we hardly knew ye – I even had to look up your character’s name to know who you were), and Dastan manages to flee on a horse with the Princess, who knows the way out of the city. So everyone at Alamut believes Dastan did it; yet a moment later we see him telling Princess Tamina that the tunic was given to him by his brother Tus, Sharaman’s successor. Yeah, I’m not one to make bets on who’s the real villain in a story, but my money’s on the Advisor. I’ve seen enough stories of chancellors or viziers trying to “become Caliph in the place of the Caliph” to know where this is going.
|Either this is magic, or I've done too much opium.|
Dastan plans to go to his father’s funeral to stop his brother, which he still believes to be responsible, and of course he brings Tamina along with him, despite her very cold attitude towards him. Well, it’s kind of understandable: Her city taken over, her enemy discovered her most valuable artifact, she’s on the run with a man accused of murder… yeah, I wouldn’t be in the best of moods either. Hell hath no fury as a woman scorned, especially a woman who actually knows how to use a sword! On their following journey, Dastan explains to Tamina that unlike his brothers, he was born in poverty and only later he was adopted by the royal family (up to that point, the princess treated him like he had always been a prince).
|Yeah, even Persian princes tend to get cooperative when|
a single command can make them not alive anymore.
|Incoming stream of ridiculous birds! And that's not the only|
stream of ridiculous birds we see these days!
|"I would like to stick around, but I don't want a blade|
The two then reach Avrat, where King Sharaman’s funeral is being held. They disguise as a Caliph’s slaves in order to get into the city. Using his skills, the Persian prince writes on a piece of paper what he believes the situation to be, and hides that paper in his uncle Nizam’s pocket, arranging for them to meet in secret. When they’re away from indiscreet ears, Dastan explains to his uncle about Tus giving him the tunic, then him finding the dagger, and Nizam demands to see the magical item; however, Tamina took it from him before the meeting. As he wonders how she could have done that, Dastan notices his uncle’s hands are burnt, possibly from when he tried to get the poisoned tunic – my mind still wants to have these two words make sense next to each other – off the King. But wait, Nizam didn’t actually join in the people’s attempt at taking off the King’s tunic while it was burning him… Dastan is then assaulted by guards with arrows, and realizes he’s been tricked. Once again, he uses his mad acrobatic skills to escape from the guards…
|I enjoy a fast-paced swordfight with shaky cam and|
quick editing like everyone else, but it's such a pain
to pick images from fights like that!
This is the best I could get!
|The one at the bottom is Zolm, the leader of the|
Hassansins. His thing is snakes. Because snakes are
the go-to symbolism for villains, since the dawn of time!
|"Crap, we didn't build this tent fast enough to protect|
ourselves from the sandstorm! I have sand in my hair!
|Storytelling time with Princess Tamina.|
Well, this has been long enough, I say we take a break until Monday. See you in three days for Part 2.