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Prince of Persia

February 11, 2011

I'm pretty sure this guy is white...

So for some reason today I had the urge to watch the movie Prince of Persia. You may be asking yourself why I felt like watching that, and I would have say because I’m an idiot. The movie is an adaptation of the popular video game of the same name. I should have known what I was getting into based on the quality of almost all other movies based on video games. Resident Evil, not bad; Max Payne, total garbage; Doom, I can’t even believe someone put that on film. In general video games do not translate well to film because in a video game the characters are created by the player, and for writers I think it’s pretty hard to base a script on indistinct characters.

The movie centers around the story of young peasant boy who is picked out of the crowd by the king of Persia to be his son. I think the king explains later that he “saw a good man in him,” which doesn’t make much sense because he was just getting chansed around the city for messing with the Persian guard. As another side note, in the real Persia, the king would probably have ridden over that kid with his horse and not thought twice about him, but this is a Disney movie and these things happen in the wonderful world of Disney.

Obviously this boy grows up to be a brave but defiant prince. Prince Dastan is played by Jake Gyllenhaal. Wait, what? Isn’t he that the guy from Donnie Darko? Isn’t he white? Isn’t he supposed to be Persian?! To the casting directors of Hollywood, why can’t you actually cast someone who is the correct ethnical background of the character they are supposed to play?! Its beyond logic to comprehend who thought that it was a good call casting a movie that is set in ancient Persia with all white American or British actors. Are there so few talented Indian or Middle Eastern actors that Jerry Bruckheimer had to resort to the whitest of the white Jake Gyllenhaal? The best explanation I could get for this was from my good friend, who happens to be Indian, sitting next to me in the Student Union while I was watching this. As I was incessantly complaining about Hollywood’s total inane sense of casting other races or ethnicities, she looks at the screen and as Whitey McWhitester is flying through the air with a dagger in one hand and the look in his eyes like he about rip some people apart she says, “But he’s really hot.” I guess I got my answer.

Not that I’m not subject to accepting casting because of hotness. In the movie, Dastan helps his brother overtake a friendly city because they are thought to have been secretly dealing arms to Persia’s enemies. The princess of the city is played by semi-newcomer Gemma Arterton (you think thats her real name?). And even though she is British, and definitely white, and was in Clash of  the Titans, which is 2 hours of my life that I wish had spent doing anything but watching that movie, I can accept her casting in this movie… because she’s really hot.

Jake is pissed she's not carrying his walnuts...

So the rest of the movie centers around a dagger that can turn back time, and the king’s evil brother that wants to use the dagger to go back in time and let a lion eat his brother when they were kids or something like that. Oh by the way, the back-stabbing brother is played by an obvious Sir Ben Kingsley, who is also British, and is also knighted. Weren’t the English knights those guys that killed massive amount of Persians during that little thing called the Crusades? Thats ironic. Kingsley kind of seems like he just showed up for the pay check the whole movie, as did the writers apparently. They pretty much just had the prince and the princess say snarky comments to each other the whole movie, and use obvious tools to get around plot holes (like the fact that Ghandi, I mean Kingsley’s plan to go back in time will actually just make the Gods really pissed and release their fury Bible-style on all of mankind and kill everyone. So thats why anyone can’t just go back in time and stop this movie from ever being made).


Too bad Ben Kingsley didn't have the DeLorean

Throw in Alfred Molina not really doing that much as a wandering businessman-type who helps out Dastan by not really doing anything except loving ostriches (seriously, he kisses one), plus some creepy Persian government secret super-assassin types, and you have the recipe for another failed video game adaptation. I’ll admit that some of the action was pretty exciting, especially the acrobatic impossible parkour moves that Gyllenhaal pulls out of no where. And I kind of wish I had a dagger that turned back time, coolest time machine ever. But all in all this was another bad movie that I have no idea why I watched. That’s how much I procrastinate, and will literally commit a lot of time to watch any piece of cinema. My girlfriend put it perfectly when I told her that I had watched Prince of Persia. She looked at me like I had 5 heads and just asked, “Why?” So instead of watching Prince of Persia and wasting your life away, watch this video of awesome parkour and save an hour and a half…

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