Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Posted on 16/06/2010 in Specials
Once upon a time, in 1989, the first Prince of Persia videogame, created by Jordan Mechner for the Software House Bruedeberg and developed for Apple II, was acclaimed as a revolutionary game. For the first time in a platform game, the main character was animated with rotoscoping technique, with complex, realistic and soft movements, never seen before and raising up the visual standards of the entire videogame industry.
The first sequel of the saga came out in 1993, followed by other chapter ever more complex and amazing. In the meantime, Ubisoft has bought the franchise, and turned it into a billionaire brand.
The project of a movie adaptation of Prince of Persia was born several years ago, but only after the great success of the Pirates of Caribbean saga, inspired by a Disneyland attraction, Disney and the producer Jerry Bruckheimer (Pirates of Caribbean, Beverly Hills Cop, Armageddon and the TV series CSI) started up the production, also influenced by the success of the The Secret of Monkey Island game.
The movie, Prince of Persia - Sands of Time, inspired by the 2003’s videogame chapter with the same name, was directed by Mike Newell, eclectic and able to direct romantic comedies such as Four weddings and a Funeral, fantasy films such as Harry Potter, but also the gangster classic tragedy Donnie Brasco.
The creator of the game, Jordan Mechner in person, is among the screenwriters, but also official consultant and executive producer of the movie.
The role of the prince is played by Jake Gyllenhaal, in his most important mainstream role ever, the rising star Gemma Aterton plays Princess Pamina, while the veterans Ben Kingsley and Alfred Molina are the evil Nizam and Sheik Amar.
The plot is about the adventures of young Dastan, a reluctant hero designated by chance to be the heir of the king. Dastan, helped by Princess Tamina, is forced to fight to save the world from the cruel Nizam and his blade of time, a mystical weapon which can alter the time continuum.
The visual effects of the movie have been developed by many companies, such as Double Negative, Framestore, MPC, Bain VFX and BlueBolt.
Due to complexity of the process of postproduction, the date of release was put off from June 2009 to May 2010, avoiding the competition with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, directed by Bruckheimer former pupil, Michael Bay.
The main problem for the visual effects of the movie was to mix the realism of the set and the action scenes together with many shots of magic and destruction, respecting the videogame look.
As usual, the movie contains a lot of visual and thematic quotes from the games. For example, here, you can see a bridge falling in pieces brick after brick behind Tamina while she is running away. This situation is a classic of the game since the first chapter, as you can see in this vintage clip, here.
Another important element to create the look of the movie was the visualisation of the dagger of time, one of the most important and loved magic weapons of the saga, realised in computer graphic and very similar to the original one seen in the games. Here you can see Dastan with the dagger and the sand hourglass, another famous manufact in the game, and here the dagger in the movie.
Another CGI element is the sand, messively generated with computer graphic, as you can see here.
The absolutely huge scenes involving a sandstorm come through the ones seen in the First The Mummy movie.