Sunday, 23 May 2010

Mike Newell is the new Michael Bay

This weekend saw the UK release of Mike Newell's new summer blockbuster THE PRINCE OF PERSIA. The movie will get its US release next Friday as North American distributors don't have to worry about the impending World Cup Soccer Tournament that'll have every red-blooded European glued to their television sets, meaning there'll be little time for movies.

In a way movie fans should feel privileged having US tentpole features like IRON MAN 2, ROBIN HOOD and PRINCE OF PERSIA released ahead of schedule, but then again PRINCE OF PERSIA goes under the guise of a "British" film that happens to be entirely funded and produced with American money. The real winners will always be the Yanks when it comes to shit like this. Nevertheless, it is surprisingly directed by Britain's own Mike Newell, who seems to have generated a celluloid heap of crap over the last 10 years. This guy went from making the breakout hit FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL, to the seminal gangster classic DONNIE BRASCO. The 90s seem to have been good to Mike Newell because the Noughties brought about a series of misfires like MONA LISA SMILE, and LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA. He helmed a HARRY TOSSER movie for good measure that seems to have attracted the snivelling snout of Jerry Bruckheimer to mount his vacuous summer extravaganza. The problem is Mike Newell seems a tad rusty in terms of delivering the quick-fire energy and wit a videogame adaptation like PRINCE OF PERSIA would usually require. Add to this casting decisions that seem almost racist in terms of being ethnically correct (putting make up Gemma Arterton in order to appear Middle Eastern is kind of wrong when they could have easily hired a talented pan-Asian actress for what is meant to be an international story), seems to indicate this movie has more in common with IT AIN'T HALF HOT MUM than a vibrant videogame adaptation for modern sensibilities.

I could be wrong, but I guess we'll soon find out if Newell can manage to deliver what's expected of him. Saying that, the Hollywood Reporter claims PRINCE OF PERSIA opened at No. 3 in the UK with an estimated £1,451,369.03 from 585 spots. For a movie that reportedly cost upwards of $200 million, that ain't good news. PRINCE OF PERSIA was beaten by British film STREET DANCE 3D... don't know whether to think of that as good news or bad.

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