Movie Review: The Middle Eastern Two Sex & The City 2 and Prince of Persia

>> Thursday, June 03, 2010

The boyfriend and I had been looking out for some new collect-them-all Lego merchandize that require us to go to a rather isolated part of the city. An after going to that area two days in a row and still unable to collect 16 different figurine in blind baggies (despite having a barcode breaker), I decided if I'm going to that part of town again, I might as well take advantage of the nearby movie theater that plays mainstream movies. We only have two such theaters in the city.

So after comparing movie times for the best time saving combination, I paid 18 bucks for 2 matinees: Sex & The City 2 and Prince of Persia.

Sex and the City 2 - The Terrible 2

I have been a big fan of the TV series. Heck, I used to subscribe to HBO just for that and cancel when it's off-season. That was before you can download TV programs or watch it for free online and nothing much else on HBO get me hooked. It was the late 90s during the Spice Girls "Girl Power" era, the story of four self-empowered mid 30s figuring out what life is actually about is compelling. Of course, all the nude sex scenes and cute guys are perks. I was sad when they ended the series but felt that the story had kinda ran its course but I also rushed to the theater when they released the first movie and thoroughly enjoyed it. SATC2 though is definitely quite different then its predecessor.

It is entirely a gay man's fantasy; Instead of writing a continuation of the former storylines, the movie seems to be based on an alternative universe where they started out by inexplicably marrying their two main gay characters who hated each other in an overtly extravagant manner. In reality, just because they are both gay doesn't mean they are bound to marry and with their vocations, they would have never be able to afford marrying in a palatial space with a tiny river in the middle with live swans, in the style of old Hollywood glamour, with a gay men's chorus singing throughout the engagement, by Liza Minnelli and paid her to sing Single Ladies with two back-up drag dancers. But it can happen in fantasyland and like the girl with the eyes that sparkles says: "We're not in Kansas anymore."

The girls are all struggling with their own problems; For Samantha, it's going through menopause, for the others are married lives and family lives. The relief came in the form of an one-week all expense paid trip to Abu Dhabi that pretty much fall from the sky. Thus, the girls packed enough for 5 outfits per day to a country where women is repressed. Rest assure that Abu Dhabi is full of hot guys including some man servants who wants to fulfill your every needs and a bikini wearing Australian rugby team with tons of costume changes and slow-mo runway walks, basically it's the adventures of the anatomically correct Priscillas or a gay man's wet dream.

The thing that worries me the most other than the plot being so unrealistic to the point that the whole movie becomes just an excuse to see the girls doing what they used to do is that, the girls don't look like how they used to. The wrinkles on everyone's forehead seems to have at least doubled. Even though I might be hated for saying so but especially in Samantha's case, she eerily reminds me of how hard Madonna is trying to reclaim her lost youth by flaunting her body. It's almost like learning that your mom still have sex with various men, it's embarrassing.

The plot is thin and the drama and problems of each character are pretty much created by themselves and turn out to be nothing at the end. It's purely illogical, nobody wears a full skirt to a street market in the middle of a desert. The highlights of the movie for me was the two naked backsides and an impressive tent of the gentlemen who Samantha was screwing and the reappearance of Aiden Shaw. Context-wise this movie is to gay men and middle-aged housewives what Twilight is to teenage girls. We hee-ed and haw-ed to the adventures of these rich bitches that sparkle under the sun, but we are constantly reminded that they don't really exist. It's nice to see them though. C

Prince of Persia - The Sands of Time

From Abu Dhabi, we traveled to the Old Persia. Where Jake Gyllenhaal plays the famed title character of the game franchise Prince of Persia. Love that game. By naming the movie The Sands of Time may signal that this could be a multi-parter which make me very excited.

The storyline seemed to be loosely based on the video game, but dramatized and humanized. Jake plays Prince Dastan (The prince has a name?!?), who was originally an Orphan rescued by the King because of his courage. He started out to be somewhat of a rascal but in an effort to help his brother conquering a holy city called Alamut, he soon won over his audience for his quick wit, acrobatic ability and military strategy. The ruler of Alamut is a priestess Princess Tamina who was brought up to guard a dagger with the ability to turn back time. Prince Dastan stumbled upon the dagger and for his victory, he was to marry the princess. In the celebration, he was tricked into giving his father a prayer robe that has been poisoned. His father died from wearing the robe and Prince Dastan set to escape with the Princess in tow.

I was never a huge fan but Gyllenhaal is growing on me, he looked a lot more chiseled now though I can't figure out why Prince Dastan needs a British accent. The battle scene was edited to look like the puzzle solving stages in the game without the actual puzzle solving which is just a bit disappointing. The subplot to link the movie to Bush's search for the WMD in the Middle East is rather gimmicky and pointless. The ostrich racing scene and the lot also seems to be packing peanuts to fill the time.

The major lesson of the movie is the strength of brotherhood but nobody seemed to have learned it, instead the second lesson of trusting your heart seems to be more important. It is confusing to start, how do you choose the words of your seemingly nonconforming or even irrational non-biological brother over the words of your father's brother? Which brotherhood takes precedent?

With good special effects, some acrobatic scenes through the roof of Persia, and Jake Gyllenhaal occasionally flashing some chest hairs even without nipple shots, Prince of Persia is entertaining enough for the ones who had played the game. If not, the movie might seem incredibly generic. It could be more exciting if the mystical elements can be further explored or used in fight scenes. I did enjoy myself, here's to hope for a better sequel. B-

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