Movie Rebuttal: Why The Prince Of Persia Movie Is Worthy Of Your Eight Bucks.
Dear Summer Movie Goer,
The reason that I have to love thee doth much excuse the appertaining rage to such a review, therefore I will try to keep the venom in check and give you a perspective not tainted by art house trivialities. I’m probably gonna get flak for this, but my fanboyism will not be left unheard.
First of all, the original videogame Prince of Persia, actually pre-dates the Disney movie of Aladdin by three years. For all intents and purposes, due to this videogames’ monumental success on such fledgling technology, it no doubt inspired the animators of that blockbuster. Anyone with the ability to wiki the plot of the original game already knows full well that Disney copypasta’d the entire script of the game for the animated movie. Ol’ Prince here was sliding underneath spiked door frames and jumping over falling planks before Aladdin was even a thought. Hell, just look at the Broderbund box art if you don’t believe me.
Secondly, the actual Prince of Persia, a demon mentioned in the bible Book of Daniel predates the story of Aladdin by a few thousand years. Therefore, all scenes relegated to Jake Gyllenhaal performing parkour, is inherently grandfathered in, despite anyone whining about who lifted what from what movie. I mean really, if you want to have that argument, then we haven’t witnessed a truly original fight, chase, or battle scene since, Enter The Dragon, Bullitt, or Glory. If this cat slid down a mountain of gold on a giant diamond, he’d still make Aladdin look like a goofy surfer lost in Abu Dhabi, burn down Agrabah, impregnate Jasmine and turn Rajah into a tigerskin rug.
Here’s another thing to keep in mind. Videogame adaptations are the new books of this generation. I feel slightly dumber for even acknowledging it, but it’s true. Instead of saying “the book was better than the movie,” now it’s the games’ turn to be better than the movie. With videogames beginning to blur what quantifies or qualifies something as an interactive movie, the notion that a movie and a videogame can be one in the same is becoming lost in Hollywood; specifically with studios trying to “double-dip” as it were, into the target demographic that plays these games. Example: Does “Uncharted 2” really need to be turned into a live action movie?
I am a huge fan of the POP series and when I heard there was going to be a film, unlike most of the Internet, I welcomed it. Because it’s not a retelling of the videogame. It’s a reboot with aspects of the videogame in it. If you view it as such, you’ll spend a lot less time complaining how the story changed or why there’s no character development. If you went into a Disney movie thinking someone was gunning for an Academy Award, or any semblence of cohesive narrative, you sir, are the reason we don’t cure cancer. The answer is as Ann as the nose on plain’s face.
But I digress.
Jake Gyllenhaal’s British accent isn’t any different than Ohio-born Yuri Lowenthal’s British accent, who just happened to voice The Prince in the 2003 videogame of the same name. The point is, no one questions it, because of the simple fact that it’s a fucking videogame. So when the uproar started over Gyllenhaal’s casting to be the result of Hollywood white-washing roles meant for minorities, take a good look at the source material beforehand. I’d also like to point out that no one cared that pre-batshit insane Tom Cruise was the white savior of a bunch of Japanese in a movie entitled “The Last Samurai.” I mean, his giant head was the movie poster. Footnote to the incomprehensibly naïve and offended: Pick the battles you know you can win.
Here’s where I believe the review takes a slightly misguided turn. The Dagger of Time did the same thing in the video game as it does in the movie. It helped you to undo a serious screw up or a deadly surprise. Nowhere in the videogame, in any way, shape, or form, did it further the plot or help you solve a puzzle. You pressed the button to rewind from falling off of something, getting cut in half, missing a jump, or falling into a pit of spikes. The entire game was pulling levers, running up walls, pushing blocks, killing sand creatures and using the dagger for the aformentioned reversal of misfortune. Sorry to disappoint anyone who thought otherwise.
The true heart of the matter is that no one wants to see Jake Gyllenhaal in a movie unless he’s a dreary cartoonist, being a moonfaced marine, or taking it from behind by the Joker. Sure, it’s summer movie popcorn fluff. But it’s entertaining summer movie popcorn fluff. Who sits in the audience and questions why the dagger works as it does? Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay like to produce scripts where the writer has to write around meaningless explosions, whereas the rest of the world gives such destruction context and meaning. I can’t fault the movie for trying to recreate the magic of the game, which in my opinion, did well enough.
The one thing to remember out of this whole experience, isn’t that this story or characters are wholly original, but that even as cliched and as pieced together they are, it’s entertaining for those who aren’t looking to put a bullet through the head of the cinematographer or the writer. It was written by the man who made the videogame and if he’s satisfied with the product, then everyone else should be to. It’s time people learned how to turn off the critical thinking side of the brain for 116 minutes and just watch a hideous, raging inferno for the pointlessness it’s meant to be.
Dante Villanova is an avid freelance fiction writer, movie reviewer, and video game enthusiast. He dual wields sarcasm and cynicism like twin katanas and enjoys filleting pop culture for sport.