Soundtrack Central The best of VGM and other great soundtracks

Please sign up or log in for the best forum experience!

    Pages: 1

Angela May 29, 2010

Came back from seeing Prince of Persia.  Categorize this as the first guilty pleasure movie of the year.  It does little to hide what it is: a big Bruckheimer summer blockbuster, superbly shot with modest action and ambitious stunts. 

Of course, the question for us gamers is, how successful is the adaptation from video game to movie?  I'd say there's just enough of the original Sands of Time flavor to deem the association apt.  It's as Jordan Mechner himself says: "Rather than do a straight beat-for-beat adaptation of the new videogame, we're taking some cool elements from the game and using them to craft a new story."  The kingdom of Alamut stands in for Azad, and Arterton's Tamina for Princess Farah.  The uneasy alliance between she and Gyllenhaal's Dastan borrows from the same page as the game's, as well as the Dagger of Time, which is very much the MacGuffin of the entire movie. (I'm happy to report that they don't go especially overboard with the use of the Dagger.  Excepting its outlandish application for the finale, its power is wisely only exploited for a few pivotal scenes.)  What's new for the story is the Prince's royal lineage and his family ties, which is very much the driving force of the underlying plot.  There's a keen level of deception and betrayal amongst the key players, keeping the audience guessing as to who's on the side of good or bad.

The writing isn't sharp, but it's not exactly wooden either.  The actors do okay with the script they've got, and Mike Newell's direction gives the film that slight British wit. (This is, of course, in light of the "cultural misrepresentation" of the movie.)  The better pieces of dialogue belong to the verbal banter between Tamina and Dastan, as well as Alfonso Molina's shady character Sheik Amar.  They are, however, saddled with more exposition than one might expect.... or want.  Due credit should be given, though; for every drawn out speech, a huge set piece action sequence isn't far behind.  And when the action does kick in, it fires on all cylinders; parkour chases, daring acrobatics, zinging arrows from bows, deadly knife hurling, close quarter sword duels..... it's a gigantic smorgasbord of adventurous, swashbuckling material.

Gregson-Williams' score is standard action fare, but a far more interesting outing, at least, than his recent work in Shrek Forever After.  There's a very Lawrence of Arabia feel to one of the main themes, heard best in "So, You're Going To Help Me?"  The score's other main theme, prominently featured in This Is No Ordinary Dagger, is a melodically pleasing piece that I wished were used more often.  The Alanis Morissette end theme I Remain, based on the first main theme, failed to make an impression on me at first blush -- yet the more I listen to it, the more I like it.  As a pop song, it doesn't feel as tacked on as Avatar's I See You.

Persia is popcorn fare of the highest order.  I had a better time with it than Iron Man 2, though not nearly as much as Kick-Ass.  It also works fine as a standalone film, so it's certainly accessible to the non-gamer.

Adam Corn May 30, 2010

This is a really dumb movie.  No big surprise there (it's summer, it's Bruckheimer).  What is disappointing in these big summer action movies is when they can't get the action right.  The parkour and swordplay are so poorly shot (with meaningless closeups, cheap camera cuts and poor framing) that there's no sense of danger or athleticism for the former nor of excitement for the latter.  It's no wonder Gyllenhaal did most of his own stunts when it mainly involves hopping a few feet between camera cuts or swinging a prop around with no technique required.

Did I mention this is a dumb movie?  Either it moves slowly enough that you can tell how irrelevant every other plot point is or at such a blisteringly fast pace that you have no idea what was supposed to have just happened.  The other speed setting would be the series' trademark rewind effect, an effects-laden job that gets the point across but doesn't quite impress.  (Another visual homage to the games that I won't mention gets repeated relentlessly in the movie's early moments then completely forgotten for the rest of the film.)

The bulk of the character interplay is the banter between the prince and the princess, which is essentially the Han and Leia routine from the first two Star Wars films dumbed down for the 21st century.  (Star Wars dialog isn't always exactly poetry but it truly is elegant in comparison.)  The familial relationships could have carried some weight but don't, and the remaining characters (including, sadly, Alfred Molina's role) are mostly ripped from Gladiator, too sloppily for the depth from that movie to have survived the transition.

Harry Gregson-Williams' score suffices but aside from the opening cues I didn't notice it much, aside from some annoying electric guitars used to accompany those bad guys in black.

If the movie were somewhat shorter (you could easily remove a third of the film with no consequence whatsoever) it could have been mildly enjoyable for the desert vistas, fantasy cityscapes and rapid (if poorly shot) action, but at two hours it grows tiresome well before the climax, which true to form takes the nonsensical plot and juvenile theatrics to their pinnacle.

It's a relief to hear that at least the opening box office for the movie has been tepid, and the Disney-Bruckheimer grip on summer moviegoers isn't completely unbreakable.

Ashley Winchester May 30, 2010

I take back that whole "Angie never throws any, entire product under the bus" comment from before. Seeing this is totally refeshing.

Angela May 31, 2010

Ashley Winchester wrote:

I take back that whole "Angie never throws any, entire product under the bus" comment from before. Seeing this is totally refeshing.

Yeah, either I'm casting a more critical eye on the movies I've been watching, or there really are a lot more glaring flaws to point out nowadays.  Or maybe How To Train Your Dragon just about spoiled everything else for me this year. wink

Adam, sorry to hear you didn't like Persia.  I thought the action was easy enough to follow, the quick-cuts and camera work nowhere near as frustrating or incompetent as, say, Quantum of Solace or Batman Begins.  The only thing that bugged me about the filming, now that I think back on it, was the use of slow-motion.  Not the regular slow-mo that's utilized in most action movies (and there's plenty of that here as well) -- I'm talking about the scenes where they knock down a few frames per second more to give it that 'choppy' style.  As sparsely used as it was, they always made those particular sequences look like shit-filled cheese.

And I do agree with your sentiment on the length.  Kind of goes back to what I was saying about the outlandish (and overly prolonged) finale; I almost got a feeling of déjà vu from when I was sitting through the Egypt battle in Transformers 2.  Almost.

I'm looking forward to hearing what you think about Iron Man 2, Adam.  If you haven't yet read my post in the respective thread, be forewarned: I wasn't particularly taken by it.

Adam Corn May 31, 2010

Angela wrote:

Adam, sorry to hear you didn't like Persia.  I thought the action was easy enough to follow, the quick-cuts and camera work nowhere near as frustrating or incompetent as, say, Quantum of Solace or Batman Begins.

That's funny, the action filming (particularly for the rooftop chases) reminded me particularly of Quantum of Solace, which I saw fairly recently and was similarly unimpressed with.

Angela wrote:

And I do agree with your sentiment on the length.  Kind of goes back to what I was saying about the outlandish (and overly prolonged) finale; I almost got a feeling of déjà vu from when I was sitting through the Egypt battle in Transformers 2.  Almost.

I don't mind a long movie if there's meaning behind it but in general action movies are too long nowadays.  I really don't know what they're thinking - a shorter run time allows for more screenings (and more money), while they could always use the extra (unessential) footage for the subsequent "special edition" home video releases that they love to make consumers double-dip on.  Most directors nowadays just don't have the discipline to cut out the filler.

Generally I would consider two hours an ideal length but in the case of PoP even that felt excessive.

Angela wrote:

I'm looking forward to hearing what you think about Iron Man 2, Adam.  If you haven't yet read my post in the respective thread, be forewarned: I wasn't particularly taken by it.

I've been avoiding reviews and commentary so far but the few comments I have stumbled across have me expecting it to not be as good as the first.  It opens here this weekend so I'm sure I'll be commenting in its thread soon. smile

Razakin Jun 29, 2010

Adam Corn wrote:

This is a really dumb movie.

<snip>

It's a relief to hear that at least the opening box office for the movie has been tepid, and the Disney-Bruckheimer grip on summer moviegoers isn't completely unbreakable.

Thanks for posting my impressions of the movie already. tongue

From the lack of charisma from Gyllenhaal and non-existing chemistry between Gyllenhaal and Arterton to the damn annoying dialogue I almost felt like wasting 5 euro. But the action bits in the beginning of the movie (young Dastan escaping in the rooftops, which reminded me of Assassin's Creed and Dastan's 'attack' on the holy city) were nice.

Though, thankfully some of the places did look damn nice and Molina's char was somewhat funny with his tax-averse entrepreneur antics. But they should have gotten someone else to play Ben Kingley's part, somehow I think he just followed the paycheck and nothing else.

Oh well, hopefully next month will be better when Predators, Knight and Day, Inception and The Sorcerer's Apprentice will be out in here.

Latest Updates

Board footer

Forums powered by FluxBB