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Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Review

Movies.com Critics

1.5

Dave White Profile

Like watching an hourglass. Read full review

4.0

Jen Yamato Profile

Jake Gyllenhaal, Parkouring Persian Read full review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0
    50

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 30

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    The lesson here is simple: In the digital realm, the bigger the worse. What looks distinctive and believable in short takes and small doses can turn blatantly phony and deadly familiar when the scale is pumped up. Prince of Persia pumps itself up to the bursting point, and bursts.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    It's not the grand scale action-adventure it aspires to be, but this faux epic does offer family-friendly entertainment.

    Read Full Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 13+

Tepid video-game fantasy flick tame enough for young teens.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this fantasy adventure -- based on a popular, teen-rated video game -- is high on action, but relatively low on anything else potentially objectionable for young teens (though, like many big action movies, the marketing targets kids too young for this kind of action). The sexuality is limited to some obvious flirting (longing gazes and occasional chaste touching) and a couple of kisses, and strong language is virtually non-existent. Violence, however, is prevalent throughout the movie, with the protagonist constantly on the run, being chased, and having to dodge arrows, blades, flames, and snakes. Despite the amount of violence, it's still not as gory or bloody as comparable movies. Ultimately, the message of family and honor is a valuable one, and the lovely princess isn't just a damsel in distress.

  • Families can talk about the movie's message about family bonds and being a person of honor above all else. How did Dastan act honorably? What sacrifices was he willing to make to save Persia? Who in real life do you consider to be people of honor?
  • How does the movie compare to the video game? Are the same themes and quests involved? Do you think the movie is a giant advertisement for the video game, or does it stand on its own?
  • Princess Tamina is sometimes in need of rescuing, but is other times quite capable of defending herself, fighting villains. Which "version" of Tamina do you prefer? What do you think about her arranged marriage to Dastan?
  • Some critics have said it's wrong for white actors to play the main characters, who were clearly supposed to be Persian. What do you make of this?
  • The film's marketing and toy-tie ins are aimed at kids who are too young for the movie. How does this impact parents who think the movie is too mature for their kid?

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: The most important message of the movie is that the bonds of brotherhood and family should be stronger than greed, competition, envy. The king also espouses the idea that a great leader does what's right even if it's not popular.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: The king is a righteous and loving monarch who wants his sons to learn how to reign honorably (though he's in very few scenes). Dastan and Tamina lie occasionally, but they're ultimately brave and loyal, as are Dastan's royal brothers. Even the sheik and Seso act nobly after Dastan saves them from the Hassansins. Tamina wobbles between strong female figure and damsel in distress.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: As in most action adventures, there are a lot of chase scenes -- in the desert or marketplaces or castles. There are definitely deaths -- due mostly to swords and knives, and in one case an assassination by a burning cloak -- but the violence isn't grisly or overly bloody. The threat of violence is always present, however, and the assassin squad is creepy and frightening. They use snakes and ninja-like sword skills to track down and kill their intended target.

  • sex false1

    Sex: Some flirting, mild innuendo, revealing outfits, and a couple of rather chaste kisses. In one scene, a harem-like group of bikini-clad women appear.

  • language false1

    Language: Some mild insults like "trash," "illiterates," "slave," etc.

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: There are no product placements in the movie, but the movie could be considered one huge tie-in to the popular video game.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: A character asks "Have you been drinking," when an archer misfires. Dastan looks a bit tipsy in one scene, but there's not a drink in his hand.

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