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Prince of Persia Clips Show Glossy Action and Non-Stars Gyllenhaal and Arterton

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood May 25, 2010 at 10:22AM

Mega-producer Jerry Bruckheimer's M.O. is to throw gazillions of dollars at multiple high-price screenwriters, superb production values, and eye-popping visual effects. That's how an unprepossessing videogame that means nothing outside the male gamer demo winds up as a politically incorrect $200-million summer movie like Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. This movie may not deliver the summer tentpole goods (despite Disney's saturation marketing blitz) when it opens this Friday--judging from its mild $18-million opening last weekend in 19 countries overseas. Anthony D'Alessandro will file his hard look at Memorial Weekend expectations Wednesday.
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Thompson on Hollywood

Mega-producer Jerry Bruckheimer's M.O. is to throw gazillions of dollars at multiple high-price screenwriters, superb production values, and eye-popping visual effects. That's how an unprepossessing videogame that means nothing outside the male gamer demo winds up as a politically incorrect $200-million summer movie like Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. This movie may not deliver the summer tentpole goods (despite Disney's saturation marketing blitz) when it opens this Friday--judging from its mild $18-million opening last weekend in 19 countries overseas. Anthony D'Alessandro will file his hard look at Memorial Weekend expectations Wednesday.

Which begs the question: has Jake Gyllenhaal ever proved that he can open a big movie? And I'm still taking a "show me" stance where Brit it-girl Gemma Arterton is concerned. She made a lovely Bond Girl, no doubt, but based on Clash of the Titans and Cannes entry Tamara Drewe (which I liked despite her shortcomings), is she a strong and likable actress?

Nonetheless I'm curious to see what Brit director Mike Newell and a classy line-up of movie craftsmen have done with the movie, which screens tonight. Here's Variety's underwhelming review:

"Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" is silky to the touch, but slips from the mind all too easily. Based loosely on a series of popular videogames, producer Jerry Bruckheimer's passably enjoyable, antiquity-themed epic should satisfy its young male core demographic well enough, but won't connect with other auds on the level of Bruckheimer's "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise. Mike Newell's workmanlike helming is no embarrassment, but pic's lack of game-changing originality, distinguishing anarchic streak or 3D wow factor may relegate this to summertime also-ran status.

Here are two film clips:

This article is related to: Genres, Headliners, Studios, Video, Period, Action, Jake Gyllenhaal, Disney


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.