Things I Learned from Movie X

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

By Edwin Davies

June 2, 2011

Sorry, chicks have to walk.

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Based on the seminal and long-running Prince of Persia videogame series - though, considering the numerous sequences in which the title character jumps around bazaars, it may have been written by people who do nothing but get baked and play Assassin's Creed all day (which is actually a really good way to increase the difficulty of that game; you try to perfectly execute an assassination when you don't have sufficient hand-eye coordination to dial a phone) - the 2010 sorta-hit but sorta-not Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer's attempt to create a new Pirates of the Caribbean, preparing for the time in the not too distant future when they will have drained every vital fluid from Johnny Depp's withered, wealthy bones. Audiences gave it a collective "eh", followed by a shrug, not caring much one way or the other. Today, I want us to take this neglected creature under our wing, like an injured rabbit or Mickey Rourke's career, in the hopes that we might nurse it back to health, and perhaps even learn a neat little life lesson.

It should be perfectly legal to remove someone from a position of responsibility because they look obviously evil

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Times follows the adventures of Prince Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal, an incredibly white guy playing a Persian, which I guess makes him the Al Jolson of the new millennium), a young man who was saved from poverty when the King of Persia up and decided to make him his son. I guess he was the Madonna of his day. The little urchin grows up to be a great fighter, probably because his formative years struggling to keep rats from eating him whilst he slept molded him into the sort of sociopath who would have no compunction indiscrimately killing people. After leading the Persian army to successfully conquer a heavily fortified city, he finds himself flung into a mystical journey alongside a Princess (Gemma Arterton) who has been tasked with protecting a magic dagger that allows anyone holding it to turn time into Silly Putty.


Unbeknownst to Dastan, his uncle (Ben Kingsley), plans to use the dagger to go back in time and change history so that he will be made king instead of his brother. But it really should be knownst to him, because if there's any man in the history of the world who looks like he'd betray you for no reason, it's Ben Kingsley. No other man could say the words, "You know you can trust me," and make it sound like the least trustworthy thing anyone has ever said. Well, except maybe Nixon, but it's pretty damn close.

Alfred Molina should be in everything, talking about ostriches

Alfred Molina is awesome. This is not my opinion, but an immutable law of nature, like gravity or the right of every man to grow a fine, luxurious moustache. Alfred Molina improves everything he's in by roughly 25%. All those people who say that the opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark is probably the best opening of any film ever because of the writing, directing and the music? No, it's because of Satipo. Spider-Man 2 is the best of the three because of its surfeit of Alfred Molina and its lack of jazz flute. Even the mere inclusion of his name in this column has improved it markedly, though I'm loathe to say it one more time in case he appears in my bathroom mirror and cuts me in half. (Yes, Alfred Molina is also Candyman. Oh shit.)

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