Prince of Persia: Just Stay Home and Play the Video Game

Besides doing super-fun married stuff like yard work, going to Costco, and leaving the bathroom door open, New Times writers Laura Hahnefeld and Jay Bennett go to the movies.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was a whole lotta Bruckheimer. What'd you think?

Laura: That guy's made gazillions as a Hollywood tripe artist. If I'd had the magic dagger that could turn back time, I would have gone back to the box office and bought a ticket to Shrek Forever After.

Jay: Oh, Prince of Persia wasn't that bad. Of course, it wasn't that good, either. It was just kind of silly. My favorite line was "Time changes everything." Well, everything except the Jerry Bruckheimer aesthetic, which pretty much hasn't changed over the past two decades: super slo-mo shots of dudes looking macho, odd transitional shots that show how cool everything looks but do little to move the story along, and a convoluted plot that can be explained only with about 30 minutes' worth of exposition. Why do people keep going to see this guy's movies? 

Laura: If by "dudes looking macho" you mean Jake Gyllenhaal, there's no amount of Bruckheimer that could make that happen. He's so unbelievable as a bad-ass. Donnie Darko swingin' a sword? Please. A little more skin woulda been nice, too -- you know, somethin' for the ladies.

Jay: Is that all you care about? Skin? I think Jake's an okay actor -- you know, he was good in Donnie Darko and Brokeback Mountain -- but he's too much a pretty boy to be the titular hero. And I'm not even taking into consideration his fitted black pants, modern-day footwear, Cockney accent (an American playing an ancient Persian, and he talks like a British gangster?), and flawless parkour skills. How can anyone take this movie seriously? Oh, yeah, they can't -- it's just a summer blockbuster based on a video game, but still ...

Laura: Great, now we're going to have the lowest-common-denominator discussion. Well, I won't do it. Not again. All right, I will. The excuse to make crap-ass movies under the guise of "well, it's just a summer blockbuster" is as weak as Alfred Molina's role in Prince of Persia. Still, there are the snakes and the whip guys...

Jay: Yes, there are a couple of nice set pieces, especially those that include some CGI vipers controlled by a mystical Black Ops group that's been put out to pasture by the do-gooder king. And about the great British actor Molina -- his anti-taxation "small businessman" character will definitely appeal to the Tea Partiers out there in movie-going land. Come to think of it, this movie is basically one big F-U to us liberals, Laura. And then there's Sir Ben Kingsley, phoning it in (and telegraphing his evildoing) from the opening scene. Damn that Bruckheimer ... this movie offended me in so many ways, yet was eminently watchable. I guess that's why he's so successful. How does he do it?    

Laura: Easy. Take one slapped-together script, a plot a hamster could understand, well-known actors, and way too many fight/action scenes -- then, stir them up into a two-hour movie with some CGI and camera hoopdey-doos thrown in for good measure. There's your damn Bruckheimer blockbuster. I'm giving this predictable yawn-fest a solid C, you? 

Jay: I'll give it a B-. It's not necessarily good, but it is aggravatingly entertaining in the same way such schockfests as Bruckheimer opuses Armageddon and Con Air reeled me in.  

Laura: Jay, you're a tool of the blockbuster movie maker.


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