Sunday, May 30, 2010

Jake Gyllenhaal Simmers as the Prince of Persia

Prince Dastan

I admit not expecting much from Mike Newell's "Prince of Persia". Another video game turns into another Hollywood blockbuster. Don't we just know the intelligence quotient of such films?
But I didn't wanna miss it for several reasons: foremost of which is Jake Gyllenhaal who plays Dastan - our Prince of Persia.

When orphan boy Dastan valiantly stands up against a brutal Persian soldier, the King decides to adopt him, duly making him "prince" alongside his 2 other royal brothers. He grows up happy, content, albeit a wee bit impulsive, but nevertheless loved by his royal family. When they get word that a neighboring kingdom is mass producing weapons of mass destruction (America, are you watching?) and selling them to an enemy kingdom, Persia decides to invade the aforementioned kingdom, ruled by a mystical princess "whose beauty is beyond compare" - Princess Tamina, played by current "it" girl, Gemma Arteron.

A magical dagger with the power to turn back time soon becomes everyone's raison d'etre as it allows manipulation of events - in the process, can even bring back the dead. When Dastan becomes a suspect for the death of the King, the prince turns to Princess Tamina (Arterton) for an alliance to somehow clear him off the dartardly accusation. Will they save the fate of mankind from total annihilation? Will they find love under the sun-soaked exoticism of royal Persia (Iran)? Will they be able to overpower the slithery Hassansin?

Though Dastan and Tamina's cat-and-mouse banters seem perfunctory, we soon found these flirtations quite fetching, to be honest. And who wouldn't flirt with a prince whose smile could melt an iceberg? The action scenes felt laborious, but the fluid dynamics of Dastan and Tamina's relationship is a joy to behold. I also find the endearing sibling relationship inspiring. Gyllenhaal seems eons away from the lovable boy-next-door Homer in his breakout film "October Sky" (1999) but we are tickled pink of his success. He deserves no less.

Despite the limitations of its story, "Prince of Persia" is far from being an apathetic Hollywood fare. It is an entertaining work altogether.

Jake checks his abs. He'll appear next in "Nailed" (with Jessica Biel and James Marsden) and "Love and Other Drugs" (with Anne Hathaway).

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