Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time – Movie Review

Prince of Persia:  Movie Review

By: Stacey Tuttle

“A boy from the unlikeliest of places became the Prince of Persia.”

All said and done, after the excitement of the epic adventure and the laughter over some of the over-the-top ridiculous physical stunts, what lingers with me from the movie Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time are the themes of calling and greatness.  Doesn’t that resonate with us all?  Don’t we all long to know that we have a calling, a destiny to fulfill?  And don’t we all have a deep seeded longing to be truly great within that calling?  Of course, a calling or destiny implies that there is a higher power who instills that destiny, one who calls.  In the movie, it is the King who does the calling, who gives an orphan boy his destiny, and that same king teaches him how to be great within that destiny.

Dastan, a young orphan boy, is literally as good as dead.  His head is bowed, the executioner’s sword is raised, ready for the beheading blow when the King steps in and spares the boys’ life.  Not only did he save the boy’s life, but he adopted him as a son.  Dastan was raised in the palace alongside the King’s previous children (sons by birth) such that there was no distinction between them.  The King saved Dastan, adopted him, and through this gave Dastan a destiny as a Prince of Persia.   As Dastan says, “The King marched into the market place one day and he found me.” 

Dastan’s story is remarkably similar to the story of any Christian.  A man finds that he is as good as dead because of his sin.  (Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”) He can do nothing to save himself.  But then God, the King of Kings, offers him salvation, eternal life, adoption as His son and an inheritance (see Galatians 4:4-7 and Ephesians 1:4-5, 11).  That man echoes the words of Dastan and says, “The King found me.”  Or, in the immortal words of Amazing Grace, “I once was lost, but now I’m found.”

Not only was Dastan saved from death and raised as a son, but in that he found a calling.  He was no longer a nobody; now he was a Prince of Persia.  And the King invested his time, energy and resources teaching Dastan how to be worthy of that title and calling…teaching him to be great.  In one significant scene Dastan and the King discuss a battle that had just taken place, a battle which set the events of the entire movie into motion.  While the King was away, the sons received news that the Holy City of Alamut was storing weapons and posed a threat.  Dastan advised against invasion, but was overruled.  So, even though he was against it, he did his best to support the decision and became the very means by which the invasion was possible, the hero of the battle.  He was great in the eyes of everyone else, but his father, the King said, “A great man would have stopped the attack from happening, despite who gave the order.”  The King wanted Dastan to see that greatness lies in doing what is right, not in following orders or heroic acts.  It is no prize to be the hero of an evil cause. 

Again, the spiritual parallels are almost staggering.  Once adopted into the family of God, the King invests in us His resources and His knowledge… all the things that we need for life and godliness, all the things we need in order to be truly great in his eyes (see 2 Peter 1:3-4).  But matters get complicated when the leaders around us, those we look up to advise us to do things that deep down we feel may not fully please the King.  Like Dastan we are tempted to trust in the wisdom of the masses or in the wisdom of our counselors.  And then we too decide to go along with the course of things and do our best to help, to do our job mightily.  But what Dastan didn’t know was that there was an enemy amongst them.  He didn’t know they were waging war based on false information and bad counsel.  All he knew was that he didn’t think the decision was what the King would have wanted. 

Do you, Christian, realize that there is an enemy spreading false information and bad counsel?  Do you realize that he wants you to wage war on the ones with whom you should be at peace?  Do you realize that he is trying to distract you from the real evil, the real objective, the real enemy?  The Bible warns us that there will be false teachers and philosophies designed to deceive and destroy (see Matthew 7:15, Romans 16:17-18, Colossians 2:8).  It also warns that if, like Dastan, we assist these false teachers with their plans, we are guilty of the same evil they are (see 2 John 1:10-11).  The King of Persia was right.  A great man doesn’t care who gives the order.  He is not swayed by public opinion, by his peers, by the majority, nor by his teachers and counselors.  He knows the heart and the will of his King and nothing can make him work against it—even if it means he alone works against the world to uphold the will of his King.

While this is a pertinent message for any time, I believe it is increasingly important as we near the end times.  The only way to recognize lies is to know the Truth.  The only way to see when you are advised to do something against the will and the heart of the Father is to know the will and heart of the Father.  Like Dastan, I believe we are all eager to be great.  However, we are just as easily duped into pouring all our heroic energies into a false pursuit, or even worse, unbeknownst to us, an evil purpose.  Let us take heed to spend our energy, heroism and greatness on things which please and honor the King. 

Questions for Discussion

  • Are you still an orphan, or have you accepted the call of the King to be his son or daughter?
  • Have there been times when you have been counseled or even ordered to do things which you knew went against the will and heart of your earthly authorities (parents, teachers, boss, the law, etc.), and/or of your Heavenly Authority?  What did you do?
  • Have you ever had a stellar moment of greatness, only to discover later that you were serving the enemy—that your greatness was counter to the cause you thought you were fighting for?  (I think of a kid making a fantastic breakaway in basketball, shooting this beautiful layup only to discover they scored on the wrong goal.)
  • Do you feel that there is a calling on your life?  Do you feel that you have a destiny to fulfill?  If so, what is it?  If not, do you find that you wish that you did?
  • Do you long to be great?  Does the story of Dastan stir in you a longing to do something heroic? 
  • What do you think makes someone truly great?  Do you think answering the call of Christ can help someone to greatness?
  • Why do you think that this message might be (or not be) more important as we near the end times?