Friday, May 28, 2010

Escape to the Movies: "Prince of Persia"

"Intermission" is called "Stealing From The Next Generation:"


Taylor said...

On the whitewashing, I actually felt this way at first, but I ended up talking about it with a friend of mine who is a fellow movie buff, and who is Persian, and he was actually completely fine with it. According to him, Persian actually encompasses a wide list of genetic phenotypes, and he actually showed me a picture of some of his family members who anyone, without knowing, would have assumed were, according to him there's nothing wrong with a white guy playing a persian.
I mean, there is no way Hollywood was considering any of this...but they might have gotten the right answer on accident.

Also, if they aren't having Persian leads, it's good that they don't have Persian's nice to know that Hollywood at least avoided the bullet of having the only Persian characters be the villains.

Drunken Lemur said...

It is tearfully that I announce this: Platinum Dunes is doing the next Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. I'm so sorry Mr. Chipman.

Sir Laguna said...

The first good movie based on a video-game? What about SIlent Hill? maybe you didn't like it, but is universally considered... well... OK

Also, I was very pissed off at the end of LOST when I saw it, but with the pass of days I'm beginning to appreaciate it.

PD: Excuse my crappy english.

Dave said...

@ Bob. I think the 'british speech' element comes from the cultural makeup of the US. As decendants of british culture, american and canadian equivalents diverged rather than seperated. There is still a connection that isn't present.

Because of the father/son nature of UK and american relations, the british accent became synonymous with authority.

Also, consider the timeline. When movies first started having sound, america wasn't exactly kind in its depictions of other cultures. Most got degenerated into national stereotypes. The stereotypical italian accent isn't going to make Julias Ceaser sound imposing. So adopt an aural shorthand. British accent is OBVIOUSLY foreign, but is neutral enough to american ears to be useful in most cases. And it doens't drag up any stereotypes you don't want in your film.

(I notice it is almost never applied to asians, however.)

It is interesting to note that there is a similar phenomenon in other nations. In holland, it is quite common for ambiguously foreign characters (especially villains) to speak with a german accent.

I also contest your assertion that this is the first good VG movie. That honour belongs to street fighter. The crew had a game with a story most people hadn't ever bothered to learn, and no way to translate it inot a marketable they turned it into the greatest pastiche of 90s action movie cliche's since what last action hero was supposed to be.

@ Drunken Lemur

How do you ruin something that was never any good in the first place? I realize any cartoon that came out of the 80s has some weird golden aura where you aren't allowed to criticize it but come on. It was just horrible.

Filmduck said...

Bob, just so you know, Persians are actually Caucasian just like the people in most of Europe and the majority of the US. Persians are not middle eastern, and Persia (or Iran) is not even located in the middle east. Jake Gyllenhaal actually acts and looks perfectly fine especially for the distant past it is supposed to be set in. Just a point of information alot of people get mixed up. Liked the review by the way!

Filmduck said...

Oh and to clarify myself I should say historically the Persian people are Caucasian obviously at this point not all Persians are fully Caucasian or even almost any Caucasian given the geographic location...

Robert Garlen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert Garlen said...

I kinda have a problem here, you say this is the First Good (or Decent) Video Game Movie, but what about Silent Hill? It's based on the First Silent Hill game by Konami, and you gave it an 8/10. So umm... wouldn't that technically be the first good Video Game Movie?

Taylor said...

Excuse me, are people saying that Silent Hill the movie was good?

1. It wasn't good. 2. It wasn't based on Silent Hill.

Alright, alright, maybe in the twisted messed up Otherworld where Saw is considered a good horror movie it is good, but it took a horror film that ran on powerful psychology and touching characters and turned it into a bland glossy gore fest. And while it incorporated visual elements from the games, it did it in the worst possible ways, just slapping in Pyramid Head and Bubblehead Nurses with no concern to the reason why they looked the way they did in Silent Hill was just sloppy fanservice, which is the worst possible thing to do in a horror movie, since the monsters are supposed to be horrifying, not exciting...I could practically hear a sit-com laugh track when Pyramid Head showed up. There is no symbolism, no psychological exploration, it was a bland yawn-fest that owed only to visual copy-pasting of the games.

That thing with the woman's skin was pretty cool though.

I do think there is one good movie based on a video game though: Super Mario Brothers.

Alright, alright, it was bad, but you have to admire the spirit of it...when any other studio would just do a bland robotic copy-paste of images and references, they decided to actually put creative thought into creating a unique artwork.

Fett101 said...

I'd claim Super Mario Brothers, Mortal Kombat, and Silent Hill were all enjoyable video game movies.

Jeppe said...

Well I won't comment on the whole "persian's looking like persians's.. Or not.." thing. More the surprisingly positive review you(Bob)gave it.. I disagree with this review to the highest degree.

This movie is sloppy peice of junk, and we are still waiting for a good "game to movie" adaptation. This is not it. If it sucked just a tiny bit more, we are back at Transformers Revenge Of The Fallen.. I don't know what you guys saw, but the Price Of Persia I saw, had so many screwup's my english won't cover it..

Here is a few hints though..

Ridiculously sloppy action scenes..

Sloppy below par CGI
Assembly line "I do not give a hoot" story..

Ridiculous characters.. (Alfred's was the worst..)

Uninspired use of the McGuffin..

and it goes on and on..

Dave said...

Bob, regarding your "Intermission" piece, do you think it would be a good idea for all major franchises(sp?) to have a two-tiered marketing: one for kids and another for adults? That way, both markets are covered and these characters both have more depth and remain in the public consciousness longer. Just a thought.

Vincent said...


Persia IS in the Middle East. If it's not in the Middle East, where is it? It's not in Europe, it's not in Asia, it's not in the Americas, it's not in Australia or Antarctica...

Many people mistakenly think that Persia is an Arab country, which it is not. But it most certainly IS a Middle Eastern country.

And I'm not sure that you should use the word 'caucasian' if you simply want to say 'white'. The word 'caucasian' implies that the person is from a Caucasus country. Many (most?) white people have no ancestors from the Caucasus countries.

Filmduck said...

You are sadly mistaken in most of what you say Vincent. Persia historically HAS NOT been considered part of the Middle East; it is simply in Asia as is Afghanistan. They have nothing in common historically with the rest of the peoples of the middle east and as such the middle east has largely in the past been considered to extend from about Egypt to Iraq. Today many extend the middle east even as far as Pakistan but they are sadly mistaken if one takes cultures in adition to geography into account in the classification of Middle East.

Also they are very much Caucasian. Caucasians are those who originated from the regions and areas around the Caucus mountains and guess what? The Iranian people emigrated from the Caucus mountains to Iran. They are not just white dude. They are Caucasian.

Sarge said...

I can't believe no one has mentioned "Street Fighter" as an example of a good video-game film.

In case you forgot:

"We're going into Stealth Mode." *visors down*

"Can you give me a hand?"
"We've only been in prison three hours! Ask me again in a month."

and, of course, Jean Claude Van Damme and his flying-kick out of the smoke, with an American Flag tattooed on his arm, to fight the dad from The Addams Family.

Anonymous said...

so its okay to compare aladdin to prince of persia, but not ok to compare repo the gentic opera to repo-men...rly... maybe you should drop 5 bucks or even pirate the movie and watch it, you'll find that what you did is no different then what we were trying to say about repo. and yes i'm sad and pathetic to sit here and bring up old business about how the only movie critic i bother to watch every show of, can be such an ass about his fans wondering why a movie that basically gave birth to a movie he reviewed wasn't mention when you'll go out of your way to show how prince of persia matches up to aladdin. I am not upset that some crappy movie didn't get a mention, i am upset how its not show how hollywood will constantly gobble up good premisses from other movies, slap some sex, action, and big names together and act like they are in anyway original. I figured the creator of the original premise would deserve a mention somewhere so that we all never forget to check our wal-mart dvd bins cuz you never know what garbage is gonna be recycled and repackaged so that they can make a few more bucks before we get sick of the ideas. (80s cartoons, video game movies, comic book movies are just three examples of how hollywood is just screaming " we have absolutely nothing worth giving that warrents you spending money on us to comp for the fact we just blew enough money making a pile of shit that could have feed every starving person in the world for a month easily")

Vincent said...


Alas, you decided to be stubborn...

First point: Is Iran a Middle Eastern country? Let's see:

Ooh, look, Iran is on the list of Middle Eastern countries!

You claimed that "historically" Iran has not been considered Middle Eastern. Well, allow me to quote from the above source:

"Before the First World War, "Near East" was used in English to refer to the Balkans and the Ottoman Empire, while "Middle East" referred to Iran, Afghanistan, and Central Asia, Turkestan, and the Caucasus."

So, Iran has been considered Middle Eastern since BEFORE WORLD WAR 1. The US State Department deemed Iran not to be Middle Eastern in 1958, but they are not the final authority on geography. They very likely excluded Iran from their definition of the Middle East for political reasons.

Second point: Are the Iranian people Caucasian? Undoubtedly many or maybe even most of them can trace their ancestors to the Caucasus, but to label them all as Caucasian reveals a gross ignorance of anthropology. If you did a genetic analysis of all the people living in Iran, you would find a massive number whose ancestors never went anywhere near the Caucasus.

Rob said...

Regarding you intermission Bob, i agree with pretty much all your points save one. Princess Peach could stand to show a little more affection to her hero. Nothing serious mind, just maybe give the guy a hug and a kiss on the cheek every once in a while. I think he's earned it darn it! Besides, even Minnie mouse gave micky a few pecks every now and then

bobbzman said...

Interesting commentary on how PoP being the first "good" videogame movie is pretty anticlimactic. You're probably right. It's the same as if Max Payne had been good, or if they make a Call of Duty movie. Those were ALREADY based on movies to begin with, so what's the point?

Also, the fact that the critical reaction has been "Eh, it wasn't bad" doesn't really help things. So instead of being a landmark, PoP is really just another candidate for "Best Videogame Movie". Meh.

Filmduck said...

On the first point I will concede to you and the magical and wondrous wikipedia. You are clearly right on that point and i thank you for clarifying. However, "[the middle east] has recently been expanded in usage to SOMETIMES include AFGHANISTAN and Pakistan, the Caucasus and Central Asia, and North Africa." note the word sometimes and Afghanistan I was just as right as you about Afghanistan. See I can use Wikipedia too...

On your second point you still dont seem to completely grasp what I am saying. I very specifically posted right bellow my first post that obviously not all Iranians are wholly or even partially Caucasian, however, Iran is every bit as Caucasian as any other country that bears that title. It has never meant that everybody in a given country is Caucasian it purely means most are and the nation can trace its peoples routs back to the Caucasus mountains...

Regardless, the spirit of my original post was simply to try and point out that casting a Caucasian male in the lead as the "Prince of Persia" is not white washing because Persians have HISTORICALLY been white...