Okay, this trailer is all flash bang boom. Me likey. Looks like high octane almost summer fun. No, really. Popcorn adventure in a cool dark cavernous room while the sun starts sizzling outside the theater? Marvelous. Sign me up and take my money. If you like staring at Mr. Donnie Darko himself, Jake Gyllenhaal, this may be your best chance yet as the brooding emo man-meat is all sweaty biceps in the sand here. My absolutely favorite part of James Bond’s Quantum of Solace? The done-away-with far too soon, Strawberry Fields. Well, actress Gemma Arterton is back and now as a princess. Good job, you delicious little shortcake.
So we know there’s explosions and sexy in an ancient setting – anything else to this? We’ve got the great premise from the videogame, but I’m not expecting them to use anything more than that premise (and you shouldn’t either). So let’s dig into the creators behind this tent pole flick.
It all starts with the writers, folks. Three of them. One’s done a few things, nothing that jumps out at me. The other two, squat really. I’m not slamming them – to be utterly fair, I’m in the same boat. All I’m saying is, this doesn’t give us any indicators as to what we can expect. Good luck, boys. Hope you knock our socks off.
Let me just interject that actors Ben Kingsley and Alfred Molina never screw up. Never. Just watch them in anything they’ve been in, from the crappy to the fantastic, and they’re busy being awesome. Even if it’s just the few minutes it took Molina to help setup the whole tone of the movie at the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Awesome. So we know we will be enjoying them, but this still doesn’t tell us about the rest of the Prince of Persia.
Next up the food chain, the director. Mike Newell seems like a hard working Hollywood director to me. He’s got a long list of titles under his belt. Thing is, the only thing I’ve seen of his was Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It was fine. Nowhere near Alfonso Cuarón’s Prisoner of Azkaban but also much better than Chamber of Secrets. I wasn’t impressed, but I wasn’t upset. I don’t know that this guy is a vision driven creator – like he has no voice of his own, no style that he feels the need to unleash on the world. He strikes me as a knowledgeable craftsman content to follow the Ikea instructions and deliver you a sturdy bookshelf. He could be a good conduit for someone who has a vision to express.
Enter producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Man with a vision. The vision of a 13 year old. I have zero problem with this. I think it’s delightful. He’s like Hollywood’s own Peter Pan. Fighter jets (Top Gun), race cars (Days of Thunder), wacky police action (Beverly Hills Cop, Bad Boys), criminals on an island (The Rock), criminals in the sky (Con Air), super submarines (Crimson Tide), super asteroids (Armageddon), cute girls (Coyote Ugly), hot girls (pretty much everything), and of course Pirates of the Caribbean – this guy delivers all the daydreams of adolescent boys everywhere. With extra explosions. When it comes to Prince of Persia, I think that the Pirates movies might be our best gage. If everything goes well, we could end up with something akin to the first Pirates. What fun! But it could also end up being like either of the other two Pirates – and here’s my take on those – What a Shame and What a Shame 2: What the Heck?! Now here’s the thing, strangely enough, I still had a fairly good time being disappointed. Kinda like I did with Armageddon, Déjà vu and National Treasure. Even when his vision totally blows, it’s never going to ruin your whole day as long as you remember that Jerry Bruckheimer isn’t in touch with his inner-child, he is his inner-child.
So I won’t be walking out of the almost summer sun into that cool theater expecting any sort of maturity or meaning. I’ll expect the prince to do lots of leaping about (premise from the game), the film to be assembled properly (Newell getting the actors to hit their marks and the camera to be pointed in the right directions) and – in addition to lots of ancient style explosions – for sand to be thrown in someone’s face.
You see, you’re still 13, Jerry – and God love ya, you get to play with some expensive toys because, again and again, we enjoy paying to watch.