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Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
This article contains indepth information about the Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, movie.
"Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" is a 2010 fantasy-adventure film written by Jordan Mechner, Boaz Yakin, Doug Miro, and Carlo Bernard; directed by Mike Newell; and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. The film is based on the 2003 video game of the same name, developed and released by Ubisoft Montreal.
The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Prince Dastan, Gemma Arterton as Princess Tamina, Ben Kingsley as Nizam, and Alfred Molina as Sheik Amar.
Despite the film having the same title as and being primarily based on the video game Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, elements from Prince of Persia: Warrior Within and Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, two other titles from the Prince of Persia video game franchise, are also incorporated.
The plot follows Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal), an orphan in the Persian Empire in the sixth century. After showing courage in the market place, he is adopted by the king. Fifteen years later, Dastan, and his royal blooded foster brothers Garsiv and Tus lead the Persian army in an attack on the sacred city of Alamut, under the assumption that the city's people are selling weapons to their enemies, as shown by Nizam (Ben Kingsley), the King's brother and adviser. As Garsiv leads the initial assault, Dastan decides to lead a surprise attack with his friend Bis (Reece Ritchie) against the orders of his brother. He manages to open the eastern gate of Alamut and prevents further casualties. During the fight in the city, Dastan defeats one of Princess Tamina's (Gemma Arterton) guards who was in the possession of the mythical Dagger of Time. The dagger gives its owner the ability to go back in time for a short period so that the user can try to correct any mistake or redo any moment. Alamut falls to the Persians, Tamina is captured and is offered as a wife for Tus, which would make the city of Alamut a part of the Persian Empire.
The Persians celebrate their victory, but during the celebration Prince Dastan is fooled into presenting a poisoned gown — seemingly given to him by Tus — to King Sharaman (Ronald Pickup), which fatally burns the king. Prince Dastan is held as the perpetrator of his father's murder. He escapes the castle with Princess Tamina. Together, they embark on a journey — the Prince wants to prove his innocence, while Tamina wants to safeguard the Dagger of Time. On the first night, Tamina attempts to kill the prince and recover the dagger, but Dastan accidentally activates the dagger and learns about its ability to rewind time for one minute and in doing so, prevents Tamina from attacking. Dastan believes that Tus knew about the dagger and framed Dastan for their father's murder in an attempt to seize the throne and the dagger which he can use in wars to reverse any military mistake, thus becoming the most powerful ruler of Persia.
During their journey, the duo meets a group of merchant-bandits, in the valley of slaves, including entrepreneur and ostrich racing-organizer Sheik Amar (Alfred Molina) with his friend Seso (Steve Toussaint) who hails from the Ngbaka, masters of the throwing knives. Dastan offers Tamina up as a slave in return for their hospitality. However, the bandits try to take the Dagger of Time and take Dastan whom they recognised as the runaway prince to the newly crowned Tus because of the huge reward for his capture; they fail in the process, while the two escape.
Dastan and Tamina return to Persia for King Sharaman's funeral. Dastan wants to convince his uncle Nizam in whom he has a complete faith that he was not the perpetrator of his father's death and tell him about the true motive for the attack on Alamut, only to discover the dagger was taken by Tamina. Instead, he notices the burns on Nizam's hands, which give Dastan the hint that he was the one who set up the murder of the King. Furthermore, Nizam has set up an ambush for Dastan along the Persian streets, and after a conflict with his brother Garsiv, Dastan escapes.
Dastan catches up with Tamina and explains that the villainous brother of the King, Nizam was behind it all. The attack of Alamut was based on false allegations provided by Nizam and promoted with a motive to attain the Dagger of Time and use it with the massive Sandglass, which is hidden under the city of Alamut. This way, Nizam would go back in time before he had saved Sharaman from being attacked by a lion and undo the act, hence ensure that he becomes the King of Persia. However, Tamina reveals that the Sandglass is the vessel holding the Sands of Time, which the Gods conjured to punish humanity for its sins. A pure hearted girl, offering her life, convinced them to seal the sands; should the Dagger of Time be used to pierce the Sandglass, the sands would be released and destroy the entire world. The holder of the dagger may also turn back time as far as they please. The pair then put aside their differences and agree to work together to protect the dagger.
Meanwhile, back in Persia, Nizam, aware that Dastan knows the truth, tries to convince the newly-crowned King Tus and Garvis that Dastan is trying to overthrow them and must be killed without a trial to avoid a rebellion. When this fails, Nizam hires the Hassansins, a group of highly-skilled warriors who once served as hired killers for Persian royalty. Nizam had kept the sect hidden for his own ends after Sharaman had them disbanded.
Dastan and Tamina are again captured by Sheik Amar, Seso, Shayer Aziz and their group because of the chaos they caused back at the valley. Sheik intends to claim the reward for turning them in to renew his business. But that night, when everyone is asleep, the Hassansin leader (Gísli Örn Garđarsson) attacks the group in an oasis by controlling a number of vipers. Many of the group die, but Dastan uses the dagger to rewind time, and, foreseeing the attack, manages to kill all the snakes single-handedly, saving Seso in the process. The Hassansin leader then leaves in a sand dervish.
The next day, the pair, now accompanied by Sheik and Seso, travel to the secret sanctuary in the mountains near India, where it's possible to seal the dagger by returning it to the stone where it came from. In order to do so, Tamina would have to sacrifice herself, but it fails as they run into Garsiv's men. Dastan, however, manages to persuade his brother that he is innocent, only for Garsiv to be killed by a flurry of spike-knives thrown by a Hassansin. The Hassanin attack, killing many of the group, while their leader manages to snatch the Dagger of Time from Tamina (who was knocked unconscious in the battle) by using a trained snake. However, Dastan is saved from the last Hassansin by Garsiv, who then succumbs to his injuries.
Tamina and Dastan, as well as Sheik Amar and Seso, return to Alamut to reveal the truth about Nizam and the dagger to Tus. First, they must get the dagger, which is kept in the sacred temple, guarded by the Hassansin who killed Garsiv. Seso, the master of throwing knives, fights the spike-wielding Hassansin to obtain the dagger. He manages to kill the Hassansin after a well aimed throw, yet is also fatally wounded in the process. Seso manages to throw the Dagger out of the window to Sheik and Dastan before dying. Sheik Amar then distracts the guards by serving as a decoy. In order to convince his brother Tus of the Dagger's power, Dastan kills himself, only to have Tus rewind time with the dagger. Afterward, Tus is killed by Nizam, and Dastan is incapacitated by another Hassansin. The Dagger is once again in Nizam's hands, but Dastan manages to defeat the Hassansin with Tamina's help. She realises that the dead Hassansin had been a spy inside the city of Alamut and must has been the one who told Nizam about the Dagger.
Nizam goes to the Sandglass caves beneath Alamut, as Dastan and Tamina race to stop him. Tamina opens a secret gate leading to the chamber, allowing them to take a short cut to the Sandglass. En route, they encounter the leader of the Hassansins; however, after a close fight, Tamina stabs the Hassansin in the eye with his snake's fangs, allowing Dastan to mortally wound and throw him into the chasm. Dastan and Tamina then kiss. They then manage to reach Nizam before he can pierce the Sandglass with the Dagger. During the final confrontation, Nizam knocks Tamina over the edge of the chasm and Dastan desperately catches her hand. Knowing he cannot stop Nizam and save her, Tamina professes her love for Dastan and lets go, sacrificing herself so Dastan can stop Nizam. Dastan fights Nizam as they both hold their hands on the Dagger. Dastan then uses the Dagger's button to open the Sands of Time container and use its power against Nizam. The Sandglass slowly cracks and the sandstorm is shown destroying Alamut. Dastan is then able to use the Dagger and turn back the time as the Sandglass breaks, ending up at the point when he first held the Dagger during the siege of Alamut.
Dastan uses his knowledge to reveal Nizam's evil plan to his brothers, gaining their acceptance by revealing what Tus told him about the meeting with their father prior to the attack. Exposed, Nizam attempts to kill Dastan, but ends up stabbed and killed by Tus, using his blade. After apologizing for the ransacking of her city, Tus suggests that perhaps Tamina should become Dastan's wife as a sign of good will. The Prince returns the Dagger of Time to her as a gift, as she looks at him surprised. The two of them are next shown talking to each other and Tamina expressing her surprise about Dastan's sudden change in behavior and hinting that he may have discovered something to which he replies that they are in control of their own destiny.
In March 2004, the production company Jerry Bruckheimer Films sought to acquire feature film rights to the 2003 video game Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time with the film to be distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. Under John August as executive producer, the series' creator Jordan Mechner was hired to write the script. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer's Pirates of the Caribbean film trilogy served as a touchstone in how a theme park ride was converted into a film franchise. According to Mechner, "Rather than do a straight beat-for-beat adaptation of the new videogame, we're taking some cool elements from the game and using them to craft a new story." Mechner previously considered producing an animated film based on the games, but could not resist Disney and Bruckheimer's offer. In February 2006, Disney hired screenwriter Jeffrey Nachmanoff to write a new script for Prince of Persia.
Early in 2007, Disney announced Prince of Persia as one of its tentpole films and by June had scheduled a release date for July 10, 2009, before having a final script or any actors attached. By November 2007, Disney entered negotiations with Mike Newell to direct the film based on a script by Mechner and Nachmanoff, though the studio held off production until the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike was resolved. Newell was fond of Bruckheimer's films, and loved the "exciting [and] immensely romantic" script, which reminded him of Lost Horizon. His assistant played the video games and gave the director key details. Mechner, in writing the script, re-conceived the storyline to shift the perspective from the interactive one experienced by video gamers to the non-interactive experience by film audiences. The screenwriter left out elements of the Prince of Persia video games Warrior Within and The Two Thrones and did not anticipate including these elements in the film's possible sequels.
When filming began, the film's release date was postponed to May 28, 2010, with the studio seeking enough time for the post-production process in designing the film's special effects. The profit margin on the Pirates of the Caribbean films was compromised by overspending as special effects teams rushed to complete the films for their release dates. Variety also ascribed the postponement to avoiding the potential 2008 Screen Actors Guild strike so the studio could ensure that the film leads to a "mega-franchise" similar to its successful Pirates of the Caribbean series. Other reasons for the release date change were that the film was originally scheduled a week before "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen", and Disney needed more time to co-ordinate its marketing campaign.
On May 20, 2008, it was announced that Jake Gyllenhaal would portray Dastan, the protagonist of the film. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer explained his choice, "He's a wonderful actor. He's someone I've been watching for a long time and somebody I've always wanted to work with." Gyllenhaal claims he "over-prepared" for the role, gaining five or six pounds of muscle. The actor says, "…I never knew how much they were going to ask me to do, so I just made sure I'd be hopefully able to do anything." Gemma Arterton was announced to play the role of protagonist Tamina,and Arterton reported she practiced horse back riding in Madrid before filming. Sir Ben Kingsley was to portray the film's antagonist, Nizam. Alfred Molina was to portray a character named Sheik Amar, who becomes a mentor to the prince. Toby Kebbell was to play Prince Garsiv, Dastan's brother, and head of the Persian army. The leading characters of the film all speak with a recognizable British English accent, albeit with a slight Middle Eastern colour.
In March 2008, director Mike Newell selected Morocco as a shooting location for Prince of Persia and also planned to film in Pinewood Studios. Production was scheduled to begin in mid-June 2008. By May 2008, actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton were cast into the lead roles. With a new script by Jordan Mechner, Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard, and Boaz Yakin, filming began in July 2008 in Morocco as well as London. Eight weeks were spent in Morocco before the first unit moved to Pinewood.
Alanis Morissette composed the theme song for the film, named "I Remain". The score was written by composer Harry Gregson-Williams.
The Prince of Persia poster made its debut as a background prop in a 2009 Bruckheimer production, "Confessions of a Shopaholic", similar to how Warner Brothers incorporated poster for various developed but never filmed projects based on their comic-book characters in I Am Legend. The week of Confessions of a Shopaholic’s release, Disney signed a merchandising deal with Lego for the film
The trailer was released on the internet on November 2, 2009. In the trailer, it is shown that Nizam has released the Sands of Time (via the dagger) to destroy the Kingdom, thus forcing Dastan to take back the dagger and retrieve it to the "Secret Guardian Temple," along with Princess Tamina. It also shows that using the dagger will cause half of the Prince's body to become "flamed," a homage to the element in Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones (where the Prince is possessed by the Sands of Time). Disney will also release merchandise such as action figures, sets, costumes and a replica Dagger Of Time. It will also release a graphic novel called Prince of Persia: Before the Sandstorm, which will act as a prequel to the film. Also, a video game is being developed by Ubisoft Montreal titled Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands that will be released alongside the film; however, the game's story is unrelated to the film, and instead serves as a midquel to the first two games in the Sands of Time trilogy.
Disney's marketing strategy included a step by step release of the film. Prince of Persia was released first in Europe, with its world premiere held in Westfield, London, UK on May 9 then premiered on May 19, 2010 in Italy, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, and on May 20 in Germany. It was released on May 21 in the United Kingdom, Spain, Bulgaria and Turkey. It was released in Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and the Philippines on May 27. The film was not released in the United States until May 28 in order to try and profit from the potentially higher audience on Memorial Day weekend. It was also released in Ghana, India, Romania and Nigeria on May 28.
The film generally received mixed reviews. Review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes reports that 39% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 185 reviews, with an average score of 5.1/10. Another review aggretator, Metacritic, which calculates an average rating based on reviews from mainstream critics, gave a score of 50/100. Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert gave the film two stars out of four and wrote, "The two leads are not inspired. Jake Gyllenhaal could make the cover of a muscle mag, but he plays Dastan as if harboring Spider-Man's doubts and insecurities." The film was ranked, by Rotten Tomatoes, the best movie (live-action) based on a video game. It also received very positive ratings by Yahoo! Users.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, which, according to Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer, was supposed to be "the new Pirates of the Caribbean", debuted #2 at the box office behind Shrek Forever After with $30.1 million in its first 3-day weekend of release. However, Memorial Day included, with a weekend gross of $37.8 million, the movie rose to the #2 spot (behind "Shrek Forever After"). It is also the third highest opening for a video game adaptation, behind "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" and Pokémon: The First Movie. Internationally, the film grossed $18 million in its first week, when it opened in 19 major European countries. Prince of Persia debuted at #1 in these countries, except UK where it lost the top spot to Street Dance 3D. A week later the film was released in the rest of the world and it grossed $59 million in total of 47 countries, becoming the leader of worldwide box office, while reaching the #1 spot in 40 of the 47 countries.
As of June 6, 2010, the film has earned $59,452,000 in the United States and $156,400,000 in foreign countries with a total worldwide gross of $215,852,000.
The movie is based on characters and cultural elements of the game, which in turn is loosely based on characters of Persian mythology such as The Shahnameh (a.k.a. "Book of Kings"), and a famous legend involving Malik-Shah I, Nizam al-Mulk, and Hassan-i Sabbah in Persian literature. The name "Dastan" e.g. is derived from Rostam Dastan, a hero in the Shahnameh. So is "Tahmina" (from Tahmina), and "Garsiv" (from Garsivaz). Roger Ebert seems to think that Dastan's character is reminiscient of the character of Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves of Baghdad from One Thousand and One Nights, itself another Persian tale. The film's storyline and cultural elements thus seem to be a mixture of different time periods and sources, perhaps in order to paint a more attractive setting for the film's background. For example, while the architecture of the city is that of the Mughal era of South Asia, the "guardians" of the dagger in the film seem to be wearing Zoroastrian robes.
The name "Alamut" refers to the Alamut fortress, and the name "Hassansins" refers to the Hashshashin sect of Islam (Shia), led by Hassan-i Sabbah. They practice a dark magic form of mysticism, and with the aid of "Nizam", plan the demise of the Persian Royal family, in the film. "Nizam" refers to Nizam al-Mulk, grand vizier of Malik-Shah I, King of the Seljuq Turks (the last Persian empire dynasty had fallen after the Islamic conquests), who like in the movie, was also murdered. The snakes in the robe of the Hassansin leader in the film also have a Shahnameh precedence in the mythical Zahak from whose shoulders serpents were said to have grown.
Sheik Amar tells Dastan that he spreads false information like a "venereal disease in a Turkish Harem." However, the Ottomans and their harems didn't exist until 1299 AD, while the Persian empire referenced in the film is centuries older. In addition, Harems refer to living quarters of noble women, children, including their relatives and slaves where men are not admitted; they do not refer to a place of only sexual acts.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" and is licensed under the CC-BY-SA. This article has been modified from the original.
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