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Prince of Pop

by Sarah Dawson / 21.05.2010

This is the kind of utterly ridiculous story that could only have originated in a video game aimed at 10 year old boys. An adopted Persian prince must save the world from destruction by preventing an enchanted dagger (with a jewel button on the hilt which allows you to travel back in time) from falling into the hands of an evil uncle who might just jab it into a giant underground hourglass, causing time to turn back far enough for him to NOT save his brother (the king) from being eaten by a lion, hence claiming the crown for himself.

But it’s not for me to try and tell you that there is no place for such grandiose fantasising of violent apocalypse in the minds of male pre-teens in this world. That’s an argument that was apparently lost a couple of centuries ago.

And it’s only one of the ways in which this film is bad. So instead I’ll list briefly some of the other zillion ways in which this film made me want to throw up:

Wire fighting sequences are fun. For a while. Jake Gyllenhaal doing a full length aerial ballet, in poofy pants, is one of the more absurd and tiresome spectacles to which I’ve been subjected in a while.

Er, the nation of Iran, I’m sure, will be fascinated to know that its historical dynasties were in fact made up of a bunch of pale-skinned wimps who spoke like Monty Python characters. Perhaps after the credits roll, they’ll all decide to drop the whole “Islamic State” thing, and nip off down the pub for a pint.

Any surprises in the twist regarding the identity of the baddie was foiled by the rather over-zealous application of black eyeliner on Ben Kingsley’s character.

It is not enough for the face of a lead actress to be pretty. Acting usually necessitates that it also be able to move somewhat. At least some of the parts other than her flappy lips endlessly spouting inane and pompous dialogue.

Who ever decided that Jake Gyllenhaal could ever play any kind of meaty hunk? He has a face like a platypus. He’s much better suited to films like Brokeback Mountain.

Okay, I’m bored now. Most of the time I felt like I was trying to keep my head above the surface of a horrible, strained undercurrent that made me feel like I was watching the local drama club’s performance of Aladdin. Overall, unlike Pirates of the Carribbean, Prince of Persia drops off the Bruckheimer conveyor belt like an old wet fish onto I&J factory floor.

Please, please, please let there not be a sequel. (Though I fear that any energy spent on such a protest is wasted.)

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