Prince of Persia outclassed by Lara Croft and Pokemon at box office

Budget-wise, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is the biggest videogame film of all time. Its budget was even bigger than that of the the infamous money pit Final Fantasy: Spirits Within, but spending big money doesn't always equal business. And after an opening weekend that saw it surpassed by the week old Shrek: Forever After and barely being beaten by Sex in the City 2, we bet the executives who were in charge of PoP wish they could turn back time just like Jake Gyllenhaal’s mundane and slightly douchey hero. The movie site put the film’s relative success into perspective when they compared it to the first weekends of previous gaming “classics” of the cinema.

Above: Click here to see the full list

Now third isn’t so bad, but when your movie is beat by the first Pokemon movie, which made that total with 1999 money by the way, that can’t be seen as a success. Still on BOM’s list of highest grossing videogame films of all time Prince of Persia is already ninth and we’d give it a good chance of being the top entry eventually, but it’s not going to be making the Pirates of the Caribbean kind of money that the film’s parent company had hoped for.

But why didn’t Prince of Persia light audiences on fire? Probably because it’s a very hum drum, by the numbers, boring action film that lacks any real hook. Gyllenhaal, though a fine actor, does not work as a leading man in a big action movie. He and Gemma Arterton, the female lead, are both very attractive, but have very little chemistry, and all and all she puts in a bad performance. In fact the whole film lacks any standout showings even from well-regarded actors like Ben Kingsley and Alfred Molina. It just goes through the motions of a big action flick.

Above: Please shower and shave Jake

At a glance it seems to be inspired by the games, mostly in how the Prince runs from one place to another and jumps around a lot, while occasionally rewinding time to prevent his death. But if was going to be really true to The Sands of Time’s spirit, he’d be alone and mostly silent, dodging deathtraps for the majority of the picture, and that would admittedly get old when you can’t control the guy on screen. Meanwhile the film tries and fails to capture the old-style excitement and charm the game pulls off so well. And once you get to the very predictable and frustrating ending – no spoilers, but it’s like the finale of Sands of Time the game, except more tedious – you’re left with just a weak overall package and a film that’s a pleasant enough distraction for plane rides or rental if all the good stuff is out.

Before I saw the film I thought that maybe Prince of Persia had a chance of being the best videogame film of all time just by being competently made by professionals and having a real budget. But now I know it’s just so dull and conventional, fulfilling the bare minimum of what was expected, that I don’t feel that way anymore. Yes, technically it’s “better” than nearly every other gaming adaptation, at least in measurable talent and production values on display, but I didn’t go to that movie to give out awards for good effort.

Were I making a list of five best game films of all time, this would be on there and near the top because the bar is so ridiculously low, but I’d rather watch the ludicrously campy films of the past than PoP’s meeting the action status quo. Give me Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat, which have such great/terrible dialogue and moments that they leave a much bigger impact with scenes like this than Jake Gyllenhaal did with his shitty non-beard and attempts at charm. So yeah, it’s better than unwatchable shit like Dead or Alive, Doom, or any Uwe Boll’s work, but that doesn’t mean it gets a pass. Maybe Prince of Persia is the best game film of all time, but that’s less a cause for celebration and more of a reason to just stop making game films in general, because if this is as good as it gets, forget it.

Jun 2, 2010

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  • Wazzle - June 3, 2010 5:29 p.m.

    Personally I think Jake looks close enough to the Prince to pull it off. At least in pictures, I have yet to see the movie but plan to because I love Sands of Time. When I saw the movie poster for the first time I felt content with the look he was given. I don't want an exact retelling of a game I already played through I want a movie that expands on the idea and shows it in a new form that a game can't.
  • Clovin64 - June 3, 2010 3:30 p.m.

    I thought this movie was decent enough! Seriously, if a videogame movie doesnt make you want to run from the cinema screaming in anguish then it should be counted as a win. Wanting a videogame movie to be a brilliant movie is simply asking too much. Anyway, this movie was an enjoyable use of a few hours. Nuff said.
  • db1331 - June 3, 2010 3:24 p.m.

    The reason video game movies are always terrible is because the things that make a video game good do not make a movie good. The same way that things that make a good movie do not make a good game. People make these game movies so that everyone can enjoy them (in theory), whether they have played the games or not. Then they act like they are doing some fan service to the gamers by beating them over the head with painfully OBVIOUS references to the game (think Doom 3 FPS bit) while acting like they are subtle nods that only fans of the games will pick up on. In the end it just makes someone who HAS played the game feel like they are being treated like an idiot.
  • cindylei96 - June 3, 2010 3:03 p.m.

    Who cares!!! My boyfriend thinks the same with me. He- is eight years older than me, lol. We met online at an age gap dating site[_www. A G E R O M A N C E com_]---a nice and free place for Younger- Women and Older Men, or Older Women and Younger Men, to interact with each other. Maybe you wanna check out or- tell your friends
  • HardlyBirdman - June 3, 2010 1:22 p.m.

    I can't wait for T'Dar to hear Chris's thoughts as a Disney fan-boy.
  • HardlyBirdman - June 3, 2010 1:20 p.m.

    I totally agree with the "not the blockbuster it wanted to be", but I think the Sands of time did an excellent job of taking the right cues from the PS2 PoP:SoT, the only game I've played so far. Rather than focusing too hard on matching the plot point for point, they took what really made that game so great and worked a movie plot around it. (Granted, this was a relatively cliche movie plot (ZOMG! The bald vizier in the dark robes and eyeliner is evil!?)) The things that I think were faithfully carried from the game are the relationship of the prince and princess, and the actiony bits (pretty easy since this was kind of the mold for the game). So really, just the relationship. I think that the movie did an excellent job of creating non-sexual tension between the characters from the get-go with the fighting over the dagger. They really seemed to despise one another, and rather than immediately falling in love after a fight or something, they gradually learn to admire one another through discussion and shared trials (kind of like the game does). Just like in the game, I started out disliking both characters, and by the end I was heartbroken when they meet again for the first time. I thought this was handled well, too. I really didn't want them to end on a big kiss, they'd just met! So I don't think that this will stand as the ULTIMATE video game movie, but I hope that it serves as a stepping stone to show that some video games do have stories worth telling in film, and that the stories often are an entity seperate from the plot. I really liked this movie, but recognize that there is room for improvement (less cliched dialog/supporting characters).
  • batman5273 - June 3, 2010 8:41 a.m.

    I took my wife and she really liked it. But I would say because she never played the game and had anything to compare. Now for my opinion. I thought up to the point when he interacts with the princess, that it was an Assassins Creed movie. Jake climbed up building and ran away from guards just like Altiar. Hell they even had a camera shot exactly like when you climb to the top of a building in AC. I also did not play the sands of time. I only played the old pc game and the new one on xbox. I thought the fights with the Hassassins felt like boss battles that ended in QTE's. I agree there was not a lot of chemistry with jake and the princess. And unlike the game, she hurt jake in situations rather than help him out. I did noticed how she had to pull a lever so jake could escape just like you see in Resident Evil or other co-op games. Overall I enjoyed the movie. I didn't think it was that bad. It was a good date movie for my wife and I. If you had no idea it was a video game based movie, you would think it was just another Jerry Bruckheiner action flick.
  • Elementskater - June 3, 2010 7:10 a.m.

    I have been looking forward to this movie for about a year, since i first heard about it. I was upset about Gyllenhaal playing the prince, i figured since he was Prince of Persia, maybe get an Iranian actor for the prince (since Persia is now Iran)... I went to it on opening day and was SOOOOOO disappointed I considered attempting to rewind time with a dagger of my own to a time before I went and saw it. It didnt work, so I used said dagger to distract myself from the pain of the movie (emo references, not serious tho) I agree with Gamesradar so much, if this is the best a video game movie can get, just stop the pain. (except the Mario Bros. movie, that was the best and will forever be the best)
  • Spybreak8 - June 3, 2010 5:58 a.m.

    *sorry meant prequels
  • Spybreak8 - June 3, 2010 5:56 a.m.

    The biggest thing Shrek (4) and Sex in the City 2 have going is that they're sequels to movies people already know. If you look at it that way Prince of Persia (starting out as a new movie with no sequels) has no chance. That said I might buy the Bluray when it's on sale though.
  • Krhyme - June 3, 2010 5:38 a.m.

    I knew this movie would be wack. How you gonna get a dude who looks like a washed up surfer to play as The Prince. Throwing in Gemma Arterton because she's Hollywood's most wanted right now and Sir Ben wasn't gonna save it. Probably would've helped if they got a guy who actually looks a little bit Persion....
  • AgentHonor - June 3, 2010 4:57 a.m.

    I actualy liked the movie. A lot of shout outs from the Pop games and a slight wink at Assassins Creed. Its not bad, but its not that Summer Blockbuster movie that its trying to be.
  • BodyDamage - June 3, 2010 3:37 a.m.

    i tend to agree, however i do think silent hill was a pretty solid attempt at recreating the feel of a game while not being a complete pile of garbage movie, i actually liked it quite a bit.
  • Hurricrane - June 3, 2010 3:25 a.m.

    thank you so much for that link, I had completely forgotten about that scene. ANd the subtitles make it even better
  • RebornKusabi - June 3, 2010 2:40 a.m.

    I watched it with three friends and we all made fun of the movie constantly. It was awful and we were almost thinking of getting a refund. How bad was it? I like the Resident Evil movies because of how DUMB they are... but the only good thing about this movie was the fight scenes. Plus we all three loved the shout-outs to the game even going as far as including one to the recent cell-shaded Prince of Persia.
  • Redeater - June 3, 2010 2:38 a.m.

    ....I hear Jake is going to strap on some knee shoes and go black face for his portrayal of Gary Coleman next.
  • ikodo - June 3, 2010 2:02 a.m.

    I know that I refused to watch this movie because of Jake playing Prince. I'll admit that there are few actual actors that could look like Prince, but I feel that they could have found somebody more fit for the role than Jake. I was looking forward to this movie for a while, but all my enthusiasm left me when I heard that jake was going to be Prince. Shame of the producers. Shame on them.
  • ChipTheExecutioner - June 3, 2010 1:55 a.m.

    oh Jakey, at least Donnie Darko was a great movie.

Showing 1-18 of 18 comments

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