I read a review that compared this film to cinematic cotton candy: fun, pretty, but when you taste it, try to dig deeper, it disappears. I can’t disagree with that, but neither do I think it’s necessarily a bad thing.
On another note, I’ve said to people before that, when it comes to movies, I don’t mind knowing how it will end as long as I enjoy the ride, kind of like a road trip. Here, I suspected the end, but I’ll admit I was surprised that they actually “went there”. I won’t ruin it for anyone, but just imagine how a movie about a time-traveling dagger might end up, and you’re probably not far off.
All that said, I liked this film. It was a fun movie to go to; the MacGuffin was interesting and it was easy to understand why everyone was searching for it, the characters developed naturally, and it was filmed excitingly and yet was easy to follow… a decent summer movie.
Jake Gyllenhaal is Dastan, a Prince of the Persian Empire. He was not born into it: the King saw him do something selfless and heroic when he was nothing but a boy in the slums; he adopted him, giving him a home and a family, and raises Dastan like a son alongside his other two boys.
Jump ahead fifteen years: the Persian army, led by all three of the Kings sons who are advised by their uncle, the king’s brother Nizam (Ben Kingsley, awesome here). They discover a spy who is taking weapons to their enemies, apparently from a holy city. They are advised to take the city and stop this plot. As they siege the walls, Dastan gets all sneaky and comes in from behind, and through his awesomeness, they conquer. While this is going on, the Princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton, *reowr*), tries to hide a mysterious dagger, but it ends up in Dastan’s hands.
When their father comes into the city, as it’s conqueror, Dastan is expected to provide him with a gift: his older brother, the first in line for the throne, gives him a robe to present to their father. Dastan does… and the robe ends up killing him. Dastan is now a “murderer” in the eyes of his nation, and he goes on the run with the Princess, trying to clear his name.
Along the way, he discovers what the dagger can do: for short bursts, the wielder can travel back in time and change events that just happened. The first time he uses it, he doesn’t realize what is happening, so a sword slice that missed him the first time catches him the second go around. Another quick burst back erases the slice, and he stops his attacker before they even know they’re going to attack. It’s kinda fun.
Hypothetically, what I wouldn’t mind seeing (now that I know what happens) is a movie that completely cuts out the first or second run, so we see what everyone else sees: a dagger wielder who knows what’s going to happen before it does. That might be interesting… in theory.
Of course, the dagger’s powers are not infinite: the wielder can only go back as long as it is filled with the Sands of Time, which means it is capable of about a minute jump when it is full: activation drains the sand, and we don’t know for much of the film if more can be gained anywhere.
My problem with this movie is the end, and I know what I said about a fun journey, but… watch it and you’ll see why. I literally can’t say anything about it. Is it as stupid a twist ending as, say, Book of Eli or The Village? No. It makes sense, it’s a solid film. I just… guh. Whatever. You know what? Here: click and drag at “here there be spoilers” down and you’ll highlight my spoilers. If you don’t want to see the spoilers, do no clickin’ or draggin’ and just scroll down.
HERE THERE BE SPOILERS!!!
He ends up right back where he started. Like, literally. There’s a loophole or something that lets him go back to when he first got the dagger, before he’s banished and kills his dad or whatever. Just about everything that happens in majority the film doesn’t actually happen. So, it’s like it was pointless. I love a journey, as long as I end up somewhere different because of it. It’s like taking a road trip FROM home to GET home. He stops his father from dying, he gets the traitor, but everything that happened for that week DIDN’T ACTUALLY HAPPEN. I get it. I do. It’s a happy ending. But I kind of left feeling all “What’s the point?”
SPOILERS IS OVER!!!
I recommend this film. You won’t leave disappointed, as long as you aren’t expecting Citizen Kane. It’s an action movie filled with pretty people and fun special effects, and it has a good story. Take your lady or fella, get some corn and a drink, and have a nice Memorial Weekend.