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Red Redding Checks In With An Obscenely Early Review Of Jerry Bruckheimer's PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME!!!

Beaks here... Wow. Long-time spy Red Redding infiltrated a very, very early test screening of the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME last night, and has reported back a non-spoiler assessment of where the film is at this stage of post-production. And if Mr. Redding is to be trusted... it sounds like the movie could use a little work. Please keep in mind that this film isn't due out until May 28, 2010. There is plenty of time to address any pacing or tone issues. About the only thing you can't go back and fix right now is the quality of the performances, so it's encouraging to hear that everyone - including non-Persian star Jake Gyllenhaal - is solid in their roles. According to Redding, 30 of the 35 attendees liked the film, so please take that into account as you read his decidedly ambivalent review.

Red Redding here with a very early review of Prince of Persia (based off of the videogame Sands of Time). Me and 34 other people were invited to a screening on September 22nd to Jerry Bruckheimer's personal screening room (where he was in attendance) to see a rough cut (animation instead of people, missing cgi, etc.) of the film. The first thing that comes to mind after watching PoP is that they were trying very hard to have this be the next Pirates of the Caribbean, and why shouldn't they? Those are three very fun and extremely successful films. Unfortunately, it comes off as a mere imitation of those movies. I won't go into plot, but I can gather (although never completing the sands of time videogame) that this is a mixture between Hamlet and the videogame, so take that as you will. The problem with this movie isn't the actors (who all speak in a quasi-british accent, but since everyone is doing it, it was fine), the pacing, the macguffin (dagger of time), or the action. The main problem lies with the script. Everything that happens in this movie is very predictable, and it being a Disney movie, you can guess the plot points well before they happen. But the problem really lies with the middle, ultimate conclusion, and the tone of the movie. Without spoiling anything, the middle is very repetitious and introduces us to some characters that really serve no purpose to the story whatsoever (Alfred Molina and crew, Hassasins). Everything that happens when they meet throws off the tone of the movie for some bad humor or mystical aura. Speaking of the humor: remember how the Pirates movies were actually clever and funny? They try that in this movie, but they are all bad one liners that take you out of the serious tone of the film. All of the humor that isn't between Dastan (Gyllenhaal) and Tamina (Arterton) should be cut out along with the slow motion shots. Finally, this movie has an ending that pretty much undoes all of the character development for everyone except Dastan, which gives way to a nice happy package at the end, but just feels like a copout. I realize that most audiences prefer a happy ending, but it actually hurt the tone of this movie As mentioned above, they did get many things right. The actors are all fine in their roles and there is a nice camaraderie with Dastan and his two brothers, as well as good chemistry between Dastan and Tamina. The movie was a little over two hours and it moved at a very good pace with only a couple of slow spots, but nothing really needs to be cut or added to this movie. The cinematography was good as well with some pretty epic shots that will come together nicely when the cgi is done. The action is very parkour-esque with a lot of running and jumping off of walls, etc. There is quite a lot of action, but some of it is action for action sake and doesn't serve the story, but is interesting and entertaining nonetheless. Finally, we get to the coolest part of the movie, the dagger of time. Every time the dagger is used (about three or four times throughout the film) it becomes the next bright spot of the film. It is a very cool effect and creates some very good scenes. I really wished that they had used it more in the film because it really brought the quality and creativeness up a notch. After the film, the group was asked to raise their hands to see how many liked it, and of the 35, 30 or so raised their hands. I realize I am in the minority, but there were many families there who really enjoyed this movie. This is a movie with mass appeal, and if edited right could possibly be rated PG (there really is no violence and no swearing whatsoever). Most agreed that an 8 year old could see this film and not be troubled. Some 14 year old said it blew his mind. I just felt that I had seen this movie done better before other times and that they messed up the ending. 6/10

FYI, the film is directed by the dependable Mike Newell (HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE, DONNIE BRASCO, FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL), and was written by Doug Miro, Boaz Yakin and PRINCE OF PERSIA video game creator Jordan Mechner. It was shot by John Seale, so I'm at least expecting a sumptuous-looking picture.

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