Girl in the Machine
Friday, June 20, 2008
Prince of Persia: The Alabaster Sands of Time

There are certain words and phrases we hear every now and then that immediately put us on alert--things like "fire" in a building, or "bomb" at the airport. I think we can all agree that "video game movie" is another one of these phrases. We learned the hard way with the Super Mario Bros. movie, but now we've come to expect the side of cheese that comes with our favorite video games adapted for the big screen. And thanks to directors like Uwe Boll, video game movies are pretty much expected to bomb in the box office.

Even now, I think back on some of those movies and shiver. Mario Bros.? Even as a young child, I regarded it with a mixture of fascination and horror. Final Fantasy? Pretty but hollow. Alone in the Dark? Horrifyingly bad. The Silent Hill movie stands head and shoulders over the rest in my book--a veritable best of the worst. Overall a long history ranging from meh to brain-snappingly horrible.

And now we've got a Prince of Persia movie coming along; scheduled to be released in 2009, it's currently being filmed in Morocco. When I first heard about Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time being in production, several thoughts flashed through my mind. First, of course, was whether or not ol' Uwe had gotten his hands on it. A quick Google search relieved my fears: Mike Newell is in the hotseat this time. Sure, he directed my least favorite Harry Potter movie, but anyone besides Uwe is a major step forward. Next came that little red flag that goes up whenever any video game movie comes out; that feeling that I shouldn't get too excited since it's more than likely going to suck.

Then I started thinking about it a little more, and I realized that Prince of Persia may be the first video game movie in the United States to feature a person of color as the main character (let me know in the comments if I'm mistaken). In an industry that features mostly white characters, I was happy to see Prince of Persia selected for its own movie. So, I went on my naive little way, looking forward to seeing the end product of this movie--until I got a load of who will be the leading actors.

First, let's take a look at these characters straight from the source, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time for the Playstation 2:


That would be Prince Dastan, the noted Prince of Persia, and Princess Farah, the daughter of the Maharajah. Now let's see who will be playing them in the movie adaptation. First up is--

. . . lily-white actor Jake Gyllenhaal playing Prince Dastan. Okay, my bitter side is trying to reason that casting wanted a familiar face for the lead role, so the more minor role of the renamed Tarmina must at least look Indian--

--oh. It's lily-white actress Gemma Arterton. What the hell, movie?

Prince of Persia is a miss right from the get-go. They take one of the maybe two games in existence with a majority cast of people of color and they whitewash them until they're practically blinding us with their whiteness. I don't have anything against Gyllenhaal or Arterton, but the idea that these two are playing a Persian man and an Indian woman respectively makes me laugh and cry at the same time. There is waaay to much history behind white people playing people of color in movies for me to be okay with this decision. Get it together, people! Minority actors don't bite, and it's not going to kill you to find a lesser-known actor. This movie was a great chance to shine the spotlight on more actors of color, and I'm incredibly disappointed Disney didn't take the opportunity. Only time will tell if Prince of Persia can pull video games out of their crappy history, but it definitely hasn't pulled the movie history out of theirs.

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 Posted by PlasmaRit
 3:08 PM + Link to this post
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