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DVD Review

DVD cover

Princess of Persia


Starring: Jonathan Rhys Davies, Peter O'Toole, Luke Goss and Omar Sharif
Revolver Entertainment
RRP: £12.99
Certificate: 12
Available 24 May 2010

In the kingdom of Persia, under the rule of Xerxes (Luke Goss), Hadassah (Tiffany Dupont), is a beautiful young Jewish girl who lives with her uncle Mordecai (John Rhys-Davies), a scribe to Xerxes. When Xerxes tires of his current queen he sends out heralds to find him a potential new candidate. Knowing that Hadassah may be chosen, Mordecai insists that she hides her Jewish heritage and changes her name to Esther. In the court Esther is chosen by Xerxes, but palace politics are a dangerous game. Prince Admantha (John Noble) plots to claim the throne for himself whilst Haman, the Agagite (James Callis) has his eye not only on the throne but also on the destruction of the Jewish people. With her peoples future at stake Esther has to find the courage to stand for what she knows is right…

Princess of Persia (2006 - 1 hr, 57 min, 30 sec) is a film which harkens back to the good old days of biblical epics, or at least it tries to. The film was written by Stephan Blinn and directed by Michael O’Sajbel. The film also stars Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif in minor roles.

The first thing to note is the change of name, the films original title was One Night With The King but this has been obviously changed to cash in on the new Prince of Persia movie, which is a shame. Firstly, because this is not an action adventure film, but rather a love story between Esther and Xerxes and secondly because the film isn’t half bad, so I’m not really sure why they needed to pin it on the coat tails of a recent release.

Tifffany Dupont brings an elegant delicacy to the role of Hadassah/Ester, in her scenes with Luke Goss (Xerxes) the two really appear to have some chemistry going on. It is also nice, for once, to see Xerxes being portrayed as something other than a blood soaked villain. John Rhys-Davies takes the duel role of both narrator and of her uncle and is able to rein back his natural tendency to give a bombastic performance.

What can be said of the villains is that John Noble (Prince Adamantha) is a little like a retread of Denethor, but then the actor has such a distinctive voice and ability to project gravitas that comparisons will always be made. Not so lucky is James Callis as Haman, I’m not really sure what happened here. In Galactica his character went through every conceivable emotion, so we know Callis is a capable actor, so why he chose to play Haman with almost a pantomime twirl is a mystery, it ended up as being the least convincing character in the whole film.

The cinematography is very rich as is befitting for a biblical epic, only the occasional CGI shot spoils the overall effect. The DVD contains no extras.


Charles Packer

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