As we can expect from Walt Disney Pictures, it starts off in reminiscence of their animated "Aladdin", what with the kid with an apple, running from palace guards and jumping from handle bars to roofs - only this time, sans the monkey. Then it goes into real action. The attack on the eastern gates of Alamut scene is mesmerising, and throughout the whole nearly two-hour experience, it goes from one great scene to another without stopping for insignificant breathers. No wasted moments there.
Jake Gyllenhaal as Dastan is cheeky and rugged, with a devil-may-care attitude, which of course will attract the ladies. He shows that with a slight change to the hairdo, he can discard his famous boyish characteristics into turn into a gaming superhero without losing the charm.
Another reviewer gives PoP an 8 out of 10:
[Newell] explained how one of the aims that he and the producers wanted to convey was their love for the Middle Eastern architecture and attention to detail that the researchers had found in buildings from that era. I cannot agree more with this statement. The level of detail in recreating the mansions, temples and royal buildings is staggering. Not only does it make you feel like you’re watching events from that period, it makes you want to live there.
The main relationship between Dastan and Princess Tamina (Arterton) was crafted very well, and it held true to the relationship between the two in the video-game. Usually the sequels to these video-games have tried to recreate the animosity between the two leads from the original, and this is the first time I’ve seen it work well. I felt that both Gyllenhaal and Arterton carried their performances well and were effective in their lead roles, especially as this genre is something relatively new to both of them. And well done to Jake for carrying the British accent as I thought it would put me off, as it usually does, but it suited him well.
Unfortunately, the biggest name of these early reviews gave the movie only 3/5 stars. The Empire reviewer can't seem to get past the fact that the film is not in 3D. He does manage to get some commentary on the actual movie in:
Standing in the way of disaster is Gemma Arterton’s comely princess/priestess Tamina. And a few awkward lurches of plot later (all that post-production and the film still staggers about like a drunk) they are teamed up, slow-burning their way to romance via the usual (but enjoyable) saucy bickering.
Newell has half-an-eye on the ebullient fizz of Douglas Fairbanks Jr. in the velveteen pomp of Sinbad The Sailor, wooing irascible Maureen O’Hara with his moon-sized grin and acrobatic gait. If the first Pirates taught them anything, it’s a worthy dimension in its own right — that merry dance of characters, the light frisson of comic exchange. And Gyllenhaal — likably warm and goofy, but a spiritual Han forever saddled with Luke’s lines — and Arterton, who gave 007 as good as she got, are a couple you root for. Arterton proves the most spirited character on show, even if she did recently lose a battle with Tango.
IHJ has a lot of new stills that I didn't post. But here are a few that called out for comment :)
Look at how many people it takes to do this job. No, not make a movie - search for Mike Newell's dignity!
Jake couldn't be on set this day, so they brought in his surprisingly authentic wax figure from Madame Tussaud's
I think this is the picture originally seen on the cover of SEX, er, SFX.
Stephanie uploaded Jake's interview with GameTrailers TV, done at WonderCon. it's a few minutes, so longer than the other quickies done there. And he's wearing a different shirt!
(Photos courtesy of the wonderful IHJ.)