As a fan of both video games and movies, I am generally comforted by the knowledge of two constants in the universe: movie-to-game adaptations often aren't worth the DVD they're pressed onto, and game-to-movie adaptations are worth even less. Most game-movies seem to either miss the point of what made the game cool in the first place (the most recent offender I can think of is "Max Payne," a film that I can add to my short list of movies I QUIT WATCHING OUT OF BOREDOM) or just go completely bat-guano crazy with the license and shoehorn characters and plots into scenarios they shouldn't go (the Street Fighter movie. 'Nuff said).
That said, I have had high hopes for the Prince Of Persia movie that has been in production for a while now. There are two reasons for this:
1) Jerry Bruckheimer, the film's producer, turned a theme park ride into a multi-billion dollar franchise, and has consistently produced movies and TV that have been, at the very least, entertaining.
2) Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time was one of my favorite games from last generation. I loved how creative the parkour platforming was, I loved the romance and grandiosity of the Middle Eastern setting, and I loved how the tale seemed right out of the pages of Arabian Nights (having read the thing twice, I feel qualified to make that statement).
The original Sands Of Time had the Arabian Nights vibe running out of its ears.
Which leads to the trailer. Apparently this trailer plays alongside "2012" when it comes out next Friday, but it made its way onto the internet within the past couple days. What can we expect from the film judging by the trailer? Well, that's a bit tough to say.
Let me explain. I love movie trailers; they're some of my favorite ways to enjoy movies, as they let me use my imagination to take the good bits and imagine how everything is ties together. However, movie trailers aren't always indicative of the final release. Take "300," for example. I didn't mind the movie so much, but the trailer is approximately seven (7) different kinds of epic, and is today still more entertaining than the actual movie. On the other side, I was unimpressed when the trailer for Pirates Of The Caribbean first came out (the "try wearing a corset" line totally killed me), but I absolutely love the movie.
That said, we can make a couple unfounded judgment calls and speculate about what me might be able to expect. Here we go!
Mediocre trailer, great movie.
The setting and colors in this movie looks absolutely gorgeous. Part of the reason I love PoP is the sense of grandeur that the Middle Eastern setting provides, and this trailer hits that right on the head. Expansive, beautiful cityscapes; bright, hot, and expansive deserts; stone buildings perfect for climbing; like Kingdom Of Heaven before it, I just can't help but look at the edges of the screen to see all of the sights. The colors are earthtone without seeming washed out or dull, and everything is crisp and vivid. At the very least, this will be quite a movie to look at as well as watch.
When I heard about the casting of Jake Gyllenhaal as the protagonist, Prince Dastan, I raised a quizzical eyebrow; I don't normally associate the main character of a Big Summer Blockbuster with Homer Hickam from "October Sky." However, now that I've seen him onscreen I think he has potential. The thing I like about JG is his feeling of an everyman; similar to Tobey McGuire or Shiah LeBoeuf, he has a way of taking a character in extraordinary circumstances (a boy given superpowers, a guy whose car transforms into a Gundam) and making him relatable. He also has a subtle charm about him that also helps sell it, but enough about my celebrity crushes.
Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton (Strawberry Fields from "Quantum Of Solace"!) offer a decent chemistry as Prince Dastan and Tamina.
The action seems fun. Some jumping off of walls, some sword fights and perilous dodging, and a couple cool shots of Prince Dastan stopping or reversing time. This is an element that I hope they don't play up too much, but judging by how the trailer is balanced between plot and fan service, I think the director knows what he's doing.
Speaking of the director, the movie is being handled by Mike Newell, whom you might remember from "Harry Potter And the Goblet Of Fire" and "Mona Lisa Smile." Though I didn't particularly enjoy the screenplay in "Goblet," (too much not-dialogue; it didn't feel enough like a "movie"); I thought the pacing and style of the picture was pretty good, so I think it's being handled by a talented person.
In Iran, Iran so far away...
I think what excites me the most is what the trailer DIDN'T do. It didn't try to retell all of the events from the game, and it didn't try to make everything seem too contemporary. What we have instead is a movie that knows it is part of the Historical Epic/Summer Blockbuster genre, and isn't too caught up with pleasing hardcore fans. Instead of winking at the niche audience that has played the game, Disney has taken the license to a fantastic game and used it as a creative springboard for one of their blockbuster movies, making it just as accessible to non-gamers as Pirates was to people who haven't been to Disneyland.
But then again, this could all change come next May. After all, the trailer is just a collection of images and sounds from the movie, edited together out of context, hoping to coerce curious people into seeing it. In that regard, they've done a darn fine job. I will be excited for this movie all the way until it launches on May 28th, 2010.
In case you wanted to check it out for yourself, here is the vid, courtesy of Myspace.