Jake Gyllenhaal is a great actor but his talent is completely wasted on Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. If I could describe the film in one word it would be “boring.” This is supposed to be a blockbuster summer action flick and even though it’s being released at the right time, has the right producer (Jerry Bruckheimer), and the right studio backing it (Disney), it gets it all wrong!

The Players:

  • Director: Mike Newell
  • Screenwriters: Boaz Yakin, Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard, Jordan Mechner (video game story)
  • Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Ben Kingsley, Gemma Arterton, Richard Coyle, Alfred Molina, Toby Kebbell
  • Cinematography: Harry Gregson-Williams
  • Original Music: John Seale

The Plot:

The film centers on Prince Dastan, who reluctantly joins forces with the mysterious Tamina (Arterton) to race against dark forces and safeguard an ancient dagger capable of releasing the Sands of Time—a gift from the gods that can reverse time and allow its possessor to rule the world.

The Good:

  • Alfred Molina: As one exception to the questionable cast, Molina added a lively comedic element to this stiff story. Even though he didn’t get to stretch his acting range, he was enjoyable to watch and is the only reason to stay awake during the film.
  • Cinematography: There are some beautiful location shots of the desert and the palaces that show the grand scope of the Middle East, which was visually interesting.

The Bad:

  • The Story: The premise is cut and dry and from the very beginning you already know what changes will occur over the course of the film. There’s no eagerness to see what will happen next.
  • The Casting: The miscasting in this film goes beyond the title character. Everyone with the exception of Ben Kingsley looks like they were dipped in bronze so they could pull off a more “ethnic” look. Early on it’s explained that Dastan’s adopted but that doesn’t tell us why his father and brothers, who are supposed to be of Persian decent, look so European.
  • The Action: Were there fights to the death, flips, and complicated sword choreography? Yes, and they were all boring and standard. There was no excitement whatsoever, which is strange coming from a Bruckheimer film.
  • The Special Effects: The CGI used to illustrate the effect of time travel is pretty cartoonish. When the holder of the dagger is shown floating through time and space it looks animated and it’s very distracting.
  • The Romance: Gyllenhaal and Arterton didn’t have one drop of chemistry between them. Both actors are good looking but they’re love/hate relationship was more contrived than romantic. It didn’t work. There was nothing there.


Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time should be an entertaining popcorn flick but its poor execution keeps it from reaching its full potential. The story is bland and predictable, the characters aren’t interesting, and the action is lackluster. Once again, if I could describe this film in one word it would be, “boring.”

Rating: 5/10

Prince of Persia debuts in theaters on May 28th!



Are you interested in seeing Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time this weekend?