Monday, November 23, 2009

Vanessa Redgrave Returns to the Movies in Letters to Juliet

Vanessa Redgrave (above, on the set of Letters to juliet) is a veteran actress and is one who we should see more of in movies with her return after a hiatus following the passing away of her daughter Natasha Richardson. In Letters to Juliet, Redgrave returns as a grandmother who goes on a quest to find a love she left behind as a young woman back in 1957.

A letter Redgrave's character had written and hidden in the Romeo and Juliet lovers' wall in Verona, Italy is found by Amanda Seyfried's character who goes out of her way to find her, leaving her boyfriend behind. In her journey, she befriends the old lady and falls in love with her grandson. In the end, the two girls of different generations discover what they had been searching for. It's a happy movie that will make you leave with a smile on your face and more romance in your heart.

Redgrave certainly played her part well in the movie as a woman taking a tentative dip into her past - a move that is triggered in the story by the appearance of Seyfried's young woman. The writers, Jose Rivera and Tim Sullivan, made the story like the fates worked together to find a way for the two women to meet and allow them to go on a journey to find what's missing in their respective lives.

Redgrave's role in this movie is a comeback of sorts and we can bet that she will become a more common sight in more movies to come. There are roles for senior actresses that only a few can fill and Redgrave is one veteran who can certainly fill roles like those brought to life by other actresses like Maggie Smith of the Harry Potter series.

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Prince of Persia Evolves from a Simple Scrolling Game to Big Screen Reality

Do you remember the first Prince of Persia video games? The first one (Prince of Persia) came out in 1989 and was developed by Broderbund for the Apple II. Prince of Persia 2: Shadow of the Flame came out in 1994, also by Broderbund.

In 2003, Ubisoft took over production and came up with Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Prince of Persia: The Warrior Within. The pervious one is where the prince takes a new look. From the turban-wearing figure, he became a more real character rendered in 3D. The character-rendition for The Warrior Within took criticism for making the prince too heavy metal.

The original Prince of Persia was created by Jordan Mechner, who was inspired by scenes in George Lucas's Raiders of the Lost Ark. That's the reason why there are lots of caverns, traps, and jumping in the game. Instead of a whip, though, the prince uses a sword. Mechner used rotoscoping to match the actual movements of his younger brother who he asked to perform the actions the prince has to do in the game. That is why the prince's animation in the original game is so smooth and realistic.

Prince of Persia came out on many platforms, including DOS, Amiga, Atari, and SNES, among the early ones. The 3D versions work in the X-Box. With new motion-capture technology, the game may soon use the player's own body movements to make the prince jump, crawl, dangle, and do all manner of acrobatics in the game. The later versions of the franchise give a new look to the prince, who used to wear a turban, a vest, and loose "Sindbad" trousers. He didn't really have a face in the game. Now, he's done away with the turban, sports straight, cropped hair, and has a goatee. He's the epitome of the ancient Middle-Eastern swashbuckler.

There's a good future for the Prince of Persia franchise and now there's a movie based on the game using the character design of the 3D versions. The movie, The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Prince Dastan. He partners with a rival princess Tamina (played by Gemma Arterton) to stop an evil vizier from unleashing the power of the sands of time and dominate or destroy the world. The quest is a tough one and the prince also has to deal with the princess who's more than a handful.

If you've played Prince of Persia before, you definitely have to watch this movie. It's from Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer, so it has to be just as good, and maybe even bette,r than Pirates of the Caribbean.