Wednesday, June 2, 2010
So this weekend I went down to my local theater and checked out the big movie released this weekend (Sex and the City doesn’t count ‘cause I’m a guy and it’s crap) Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. I went into it with uncertain expectations. It had a few negative points for me going in. For starters, it’s based on a video game, a sub-genre that is synonymous with terrible reviews that are typically accurate. There’s also the fact that the ads keep pushing the fact that it’s from the studio and producer of Pirates of the Caribbean films a franchise I personally found to be overrated, dragged out, and frankly just not that good.
On the positive side, I find Jake Gyllenhaal to be an under rated actor and the director Mike Newell is the director of the only Harry Potter movie I’ve watched more than once. All of that and the fact that newcomer Gemma Arterton is amazingly good looking made me think it was worth a shot. So what did I think when the house lights came up?
I absolutely LOVED it!
From start to finish, I found Prince of Persia to be completely entertaining. The visuals were continuously strong, the story was simple but held my attention, and all of the performances were great. Now, I’m not saying this movie was Oscar caliber, insanely original, or extremely deep and thought provoking. I’m just saying that it was an extremely satisfying way to sit back, relax, and spend two hours of my weekend, which is what summer movies should be…unless you’re The Dark Knight and then you can be fun and deep all at once.
So the awesomeness that this movie brought raised one major question: Why aren’t all video game movies this good?
Nearly every movie that’s been based off of a video game has been bad, if not completely awful. Sure, the Resident Evil movies made money, but let’s be honest nerds, they are nothing special. I can watch the first Mortal Kombat movie, but I’m completely aware of its huge plot holes. Then there are the ones like Super Mario Bors. Wing Commander, Double Dragon, House of the Dead, and all the other ones Uwe Boll directed that are just atrocious and a waste of time. It seems Prince of Persia is alone with the exception of Silent Hill in the good video game adaptation category.
What makes it worse is that it doesn’t have to be this way. There are plenty of video games that have amazing visuals that would look fantastic on the big screen. Some of them even have decent story lines, and the ones that don’t, just leave that much more room for the filmmakers to thicken it out. Street Fighter has had not one, but two, horrible cinematic interpretations, despite its simple yet effective story and the colorful characters in it. Super Mario is one of the most well known characters in the world, but Hollywood thought it’d be smart the take all the things familiar and recognizable from the game and change it so audiences would scratch their heads and wonder what the hell they just watched.
The bottom line is, Hollywood needs to pull their heads out of their asses in the video game movie area. Video games are huge business, and so are movies. I don’t really see why video game movies can’t have the same success as comic book movies. They just need to spend the time and get decent writers and more decent directors to take them on and we’ll have more awesome adaptations like Prince of Persia.
I could be wrong of course. I read the weekend reports, and it looks like, despite being the most entertaining movie so far this year, Prince of Pearsia: The Sands of Time isn’t fairing that well at the box office.