Prince of Persia
May 27, 2010 | 5:29 p.m.
Susan King is the Hero Complex specialist on classic Hollywood, and today she looks back at the long history of American popcorn films set in the Middle East — and their complicated legacy. Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer are together again with the opening this Friday of “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,” which represents the latest in a long Hollywood tradition of setting films of action, romance and fantasy in the long ago and far away of the Middle East. Let’s rub the magic lamp and venture back to look at the cinematic forebears of “Prince of Persia,” including two classic versions of “The Thief of Bagdad.” Some of the films are charming, others are creaky and hopelessly cornball, but they can all be fascinating in their own way. They can also be startling in their demeaning and clumsy presentations of Middle […]
May 22, 2010 | 3:47 p.m.
This is a longer version of Chris Lee’s cover story in this Sunday’s Los Angeles Times Calendar section. Since its release, the video game franchise Prince of Persia has become notable for the acrobatic grace of its dagger-wielding, balloon pants-wearing hero as well as for what the games didn’t do: affront gamers of Middle Eastern and Muslim descent with stereotypical depictions of people from the region as terrorists or religious zealots. Independent filmmaker and blogger Jehanzeb Dar, to name one such player, remembers his favorable first reaction to the swashbuckling action game, which is set amid the sands and ancient cities of Persia (as ancient Iran is known) and follows a hero with a magic sword caught between forces of good and evil. “You could see clearly the protagonist had distinct Middle Eastern features and darker skin,” said Dar, 26, […]
May 20, 2010 | 11:52 p.m.
It was a bit soggy Monday night in Hollywood at the premiere of “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” but maybe that was appropriate. If you look at the films of producer Jerry Bruckheimer, there’s often carefully lit downpours during the moody scenes — as well as slow-motion gun battles, lovingly documented explosions and some of the most photogenic civic mayhem in movie history. Luckily there were no bombs going off Monday on Hollywood Boulevard — although “Prince of Persia” is getting some underwhelming reviews so far. Disney has high hopes that “Persia,” starring Jake Gyllenhaal, (show in the photo below, on the left, with Bruckheimer) might become the adventure franchise that can take the place of “Pirates of the Caribbean,” which has netted $2.7 billion in worldwide box office but is expected to go into dry dock after the fourth installment is released next May. […]
May 18, 2010 | 2:16 a.m.
“Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” premieres tonight in Hollywood, and Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Sir Ben Kingsley and Toby Kebbel, as well as producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Mike Newell, will all be walking the red carpet — with you watching. The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) streams it live… Bruckheimer should be all smiles for this, as well as another honor recently bestowed upon him — a tribute to the influential filmmaker called A Cinematic Celebration of Jerry Bruckheimer. Fans are the beneficiaries of this honor, though, as 2004’s “National Treasure,” 2003’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” 1998’s “Armageddon,” 1986’s “Top Gun“ and 1984’s “Beverly Hills Cop” will all be screened as part of the Hollywood premiere event. Check back here on Hero Complex for more from the “Prince of Persia” premiere. – Jevon Phillips Clicking on […]
April 06, 2010 | 4:17 p.m.
This is a longer version of my cover story in today’s edition of the Los Angeles Times Calendar section. I flew up to the Bay Area to moderate some panels at WonderCon and between the time at the microphone I jotted down notes and wrote up this piece. It’s been updated with this intro, another photo and video. If there is anyone in Hollywood who shouldn’t be startled by loud noises, it’s Jerry Bruckheimer. Still, on Saturday, the producer behind thundering movies such as “Armageddon,” “The Rock” and the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series looked positively startled by the crowd roar that greeted him at the Moscone Center during the event called WonderCon. After struggling to find his properly assigned seat on stage, Bruckheimer surveyed the 4,500 fans and blinked into the flares and flashes of hundreds of snapping cameras. “This […]