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My Take on the Prince of Persia Movie

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Someone just asked me what I thought of the Prince of Persia movie.  The answer to that question depends on the answer to a few others. 1. Did you play the original PoP: Sands of Time game (not the recent release)? 2. Do you know who Jordan Mechner is? He originally kicked off the franchise in the ’80s and was heavily involved in the development of the SoT game mentioned in question #1. He was also directly involved in the SoT movie. Why do I bring that up? Because it makes it hard to criticize any flaws or inconsistencies between the original story and the movie since they were both basically written by the same guy. Typically when games get the Hollywood treatment, they suck ass because they’re written by some third-party hack who never understood or appreciated the source material to begin with.

So, while there were inconsistencies and I’m a huge fan of the SoT game and am kind of a purist about it (it’s still fantastic if you get a chance to score a copy sometime), I had some niggling issues with the movie, but it wasn’t really anything that the uninitiated would have picked up on. That said, I saw some other people watching it recently and they were trying to figure out how the knife/sands worked and seemed completely clueless, so maybe *some* previous knowledge was expected.

The one thing I got really tired of was the princess. Everything about her. The constant whining, undermining progress of the hero and story, and how everything was a friggin omen and fate and destiny and “of the gods.” None of that crap was in the original story, and her character wore me weary by the end. Perhaps worst of all, the princess character in the original game was tough but fragile, strong-willed but endearing, and she was just so fun to chase after and save repeatedly throughout the game. Plus, seeing how the very beginning of the game tied into the ending…it was a great story first and a great game second. The movie was a so-so interpretation of that story with no interactivity.

It wasn’t bad, though I found it lacking in places, but I’m in an unavoidably biased position. Long answer to a short question.

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About Mark Buckingham