Prince of Persia

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Posted May 27, 2010 in Film

Bring a joystick to this big budget adventure. It’ll give your hands something to do when you’re restless. Inspired by a video game and directed (by Mike Newell) like a video game, Prince of Persia is a study in synthetic synergy. Jake Gyllenhaal—broad and broody like a muscle-bound Jordan Catalano—scrambles and leaps like his legs are made of pixels. Gemma Arterton—a brave, beautiful actress—is here just a pretty face with the blankness of a ’bot. Like the villagers in Link, she’s designed to parrot plot points. Hollywood used her well as the brassy, doomed Strawberry Fields in Quantum of Solace, but has routed her to the blockbuster ghetto where in Clash of the Titans and here, she struggles in vain to make an impression. The stars of this story about a prince falsely accused of murdering his father are Gyllenhaal, Arterton and Ben Kingsley as the brother of the fallen king. But the only talents I remembered in the light of the lobby were the racing ostriches raised by Sheik Alfred Molina. Mighty of limb, long of eyelash and utterly undazzled by the spectacle around them, these big birds stalk around the screen like Jerry Bruckheimer ain’t nothing but a sucka. Maybe if everyone else behind in the film had also not given a hiss about ticket sales and sequel potential, they could have made a movie interesting enough to watch. But this is safe and handsome and utterly dull, a conduit for sales of video games and popcorn, a gateway drug to summer’s (hopefully) better pleasures.

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