The use of gaming properties for movies (and movie-based games, for that matter) has had mixed results over the years. While certain game-based movies have been entertaining, it’s tough to argue that any have been truly great.
Gaming aesthetics have altered the way that movies look — action films anyway. But when Hollywood tries to capitalize on video game storylines, the results have mostly been grim, writes Tom Charity. “That’s not surprising. After all, a video game isn’t structured towards propelling a linear plot. On the contrary, a good game is about opening up multiple possibilities and choices for the player or at least a series of challenges that the gamer can master over time. Perhaps films will one day take on that interactivity. But not yet, and attempts to build stories on this narrative quicksand are likely doomed to fail.”
Continuing on to summarize Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Charity calls the film “a gruelingly energetic and vacuous piece of pseudo-myth mongering, and noting these characters would look one-dimensional in a Disney cartoon, but the actors’ frequent costume changes can’t disguise their textureless personalities.”
Gemma Arterton as Tamina apparently fares worse than the other actors. “Poor Arterton is stuck with the worst of the dialogue, the kind of instructional prompts you would get from Sonic the Hedgehog between levels: ‘Now we’re heading into the Valley of the Slaves — but that’s suicide!'” writes Charity.
In analyzing the plot MacGuffin (and in a way, the whole of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time), Charity concludes, “The city does harbor a smoking gun of sorts, a magical dagger carrying the sands of time, which allows the bearer a kind of instant replay facility … That may be a very nifty device in a video game, but it’s next to useless in a movie.”