‘Prince of Persia’ starring Jake Gyllenhaal as the stalwart Prince Dasten and Gemma Arteton as the beauteous and impetuous Princess Tamina is not set in any Persia that existed in history, though historical elements are used.
The map at the beginning suggests Persia around the time of Xerxes. The costuming and architecture suggests Persia from all over the historical map, filtered through the lens of Hollywood tradition. There is no hint of Islam in this version of Persia, not even veils on the ladies. Nothing of Zoroaster either; references to “the Gods” suggest generic pagans.
It might have been Persia of the ‘1001’ Arabian Nights’, but there are no flying carpets or djinn. The movie is based on a video game from the 1980s, so that might explain a lot.
Dasten starts out life as a street urchin. But he impresses the King in such a way that the King adopts him into his family. This origin is by way of an explanation as to how he has the ability to leap from roof top to roof top, climb walls like a monkey, and generally avoid armies of angry guards like an acrobat.
Fast forward fifteen years and Dasten, with his two step brothers are attacking a city suspected of providing arms to enemies of the Persian Empire. The city is ruled over by Princess Tamina, who is put out by being invaded by the Persians. As it turns out there are no weapons of manly destruction (do forgive the pun, but it has truth to it.) There is a mystic dagger that allows one to vamp back in time about a minute. Dasten has it. Tamina wants it back.
Complicating matters is that the King is assassinated and Dasten is blamed for it. Dasten has to flee into the wilderness, Tamina snapping after him, to try to clear his name and to get the dagger to a safe place. Dasten and Tamina do the necessary bickering and fighting that are necessary in these movies before they fall in love.
Alfred Molina shows up as a bandit chief who does not like taxes. No word as to whether he fancies tea. There are also some ‘Hassasins’ (the movie version of the real life hashshasins which was a cult within Shia Islam around the time of the Crusades.
Of course, after facing many trials and dangers, with lots of action and a little G rated romance, Dasten and Tamina save the day, uncover the plot, and find each other, as it were.
Ben Kinsley, by the way, plays Uncle Nizam. He turns out to be the bad guy.
‘Prince of Persia’ is lots of fun, not meant to be too deep, but delivering on what it promises.
Source: Prince of Persia, IMDB