(The above is sarcasm, Bueller and adoring fans.)
I watched Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time tonight because I was in the mood for something corny and popcorny and fast-moving and not too hard to grasp. Also because I have a level three man-crush on Sir Ben Kingsley. (I'll have to create a post someday about my levels of man-crush. It's an interesting topic.) And while the film met those expectations, it exceeded my expectations in other respects.
One positive I specifically noticed was the introduction of some fairly weighty thematic elements. While fate/destiny, family, and following the heart are all well-worn Hollywood tropes, PoP's use of these classic (read: often overused) themes is subtly unique. Family, for instance, is central thematically to the film. The lesson "Family is important" is hardly new; but the way that lesson is communicated in Prince of Persia is unique.
Of course there is a Heroic Moment Of Family where formerly squabbling family members cooperate to achieve something Heroic. In contrast to that, however, PoP sets a broken family relationship, an example of what happens if Heroic Moments of Family don't happen. The implication is not merely "cooperate or good things won't happen", the implication is "cooperate or bad things will happen".
These concepts were not treated in great detail. They merely functioned to serve the film, to deepen it and give it a dimension I frankly did not expect.
I thought I was watching a movie for fun. But Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time actually made me think. And for that, it gets 4 Reels in Ian's Totally Subjective Film Rating System.
Long live practicality!