Friday, May 28, 2010

The Prince of Persia movie is visual crack

Say what you want about the story - I know I will - but the Prince of Persia movie is a sight to behold.  A massive, massive thumbs-up to cinematographer John Seale, and credited storyboard artists Giles Asbury, Jim Cornish and Nick Pelham (according to IMDB).  What I wouldn't give to get my hands on the pre-production stills.  Oh my.  One can only hope that, like Rodolphe Guenoden, they see fit to publish their works via the wonders of the internet.

I went in with high expectations.  I left with them fulfilled.  No one was more surprised than I.  In fact, one of my students from my narrative class happened to be in the same session.  "What did you think?" he asked me skeptically.  "That's my movie of 2010," was my reply.  He just shook his head and walked away, muttering something about sarcasm.

But what didn't this movie have?  Thrilling chase scenes, deadly cults, a beautiful princess for a love interest, the entire world at stake and the bonds of brotherhood as the last line of defence.  I will admit, toward the end I wanted it to be over, since my exposure to pure awesome was beginning to shrivel my soul.  In all reality, it does seem a lot longer than its supposed 111 minute length, because there are so many setbacks that it almost becomes a joke, which is, luckily, where the visual effects come in to overwhelm you and make you forget that it's a little bit silly.

I had trouble believing pretty Jake was a desert prince street-rat, but after a while I found myself not minding his suave ways.  The manner in which he handled the princess was reminiscent of the games - the course of true love never running smooth and all that - and he was suitably witty at other times to endear him brilliantly, but no moment so brilliantly as one near the end.  Oh, my heart stopped.  When you see it, you'll know what I mean.  It's not often a movie surprises me, let alone more than once, but I'm happy to say Prince of Persia was a delicious exception.

I do feel like they lost a lot of footage, though.  Perhaps it should have been 3 hours long.  I've already put in my request for a Blu-Ray version to my boyfriend, and if it comes with deleted scenes, I will be a happy camper.  The beginning of the movie felt a bit quick, and the setup of the Slaves' Valley wasn't enough to warrant what came of it, but from the half-way point it all seemed to flow and be very high-octane, if such a phrase can apply to a movie that includes absolutely no cars.

I know I tend toward effusiveness on this blog, because I would much rather build up than tear down, to be honest, so you'll just have to take my word for it when I say this is my new favourite movie after Chronicles of Riddick, which, at the time, was the first movie to surprise me in 6 long years.  6 years includes a lot of movies.  When everything in them is predictable, something that stands out really stands out.

Silent Hill did.  Sherlock Holmes and Iron Man 2, more recently, also made me wonder.  Prince of Persia took it to a new level.  I was worried they were going to pull my heart through a strainer and feed the resulting mince to a pack of hyenas.  Did they?

Watch the movie and find out for yourself.

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