Wednesday, June 16, 2010


PRINCE OF PERSIA: The Sands of Time is definitely not a masterpiece in filmaking or writing. But there are some good writing notes that I learned from this popcorn movie. They are:

1) A balance of strength between male and female leads: Since I love pairing a guy and a girl in my stories (to no romantic effect or purpose), I found the balance of power between Tamina and Dastan is fascinatingly written. How can I achieve that kind of balance in my next story? Is it even possible when I'm trying to make them collaborate instead of trying to kill each other? Does it always end with with a stronger lead and another will become the subordinate? Does change of principles during the story change the dynamics of power struggle between male and female leads? Towards balance or subordination?

2) It rises beyond cliche even when it has a cliched domestic plot point: Dastan is adopted by the king, literally picked up from the streets. And it was no secret. He was adopted long after the princes, Tus and Garsiv, were born. He was the youngest of the 3 princes. However, even in their fiercest battle, complete with accusations of treachery, not once the 2 royal blooded brothers ever questioned Dastan's position in the royal family. Yes, Garsiv did say that Dastan led an army of street brawlers but that's the truth - Dastan's men were street brawlers, not soldiers, but they never doubted their father's decision in adopting Dastan. Imagine if such a plot point exists in a local domestic drama, it will be used to crucify the lead character to death.

3) Interesting alternative imagery to replace gratituous violence: There is a scene where Dastan commits suicide to proof to his brother Tus that he is innocent. We know Dastan cannot die in this story, but he killed himself nevertheless. The audience need not see that because we know Dastan will live again, in a time travel paradox (which I always hate). So they make this scene, where Dastan falls, he crashes on a table-load of foodstuff and a jar of red wine spilled on the floor. So, we get it. Dastan is dead. For now. Now, how is that going to be written, if you're going to write it down? Will it achieve the same effect?

4) The fast-paced narration: Can we write something as fast as this thing, without making it rubbish? I believe action packed stories will not lose its meaningfulness. But, that is yet to be put to the test with what writers write and how it translates to the readers.

Defy the Future: Ya, ya, I see you, Jake Gyllenhaal, not starring in the sequels. Boo hoo.

See. There are always bad books and bad movies. But one can always learn from them, rather than tossing them aside with pre-judgement and prejudice before actually reading or viewing.


  1. Cikgu Sri Rahayu
    selamat panjang umur hari ini 18 Jun. semoga sentiasa dalam Rahmat-Nya dan terus berbudi untuk semua.

  2. Ya Allah!

    Dr. Mawar.

    Saya pun dah lupa le! Terima kasih.

  3. Cikgu Sri Rahayu yang manis,

    usah lupa saat hari dilahirkan. kembali kepada bonda atas budinya yang tidak terbalas... selamat hari lahir!

  4. Assalamuaikum..Cikgu Seri Rahayu...saye merupakan salah seorang pelajar cikgu...tapi saye nak minta pandangn cikgu tentang novel lord of the ring...kalau Cikgu pernah membacenye..saye nak minta pendapat cikgu tentang jalan ceritanya...adakah bagi cikgu ianya sangat menarik atau terlalu membosankan kerana mempunyai banyak maksud tersirat...

  5. Dear Anonymous,

    Secara jujurnya, cikgu tak pernah habis membaca LOTR walaupun cikgu cekap dalam Bahasa Inggeris. Memang membosankan. Tetapi cikgu khatam baca Appendix dalam The Return of the King. Janganlah berasa segan jika tak dapat membaca sesuatu karya yang dianggap hebat kerana ia terlalu panjang atau membosankan. Mungkin ada karya lain yang lebih sesuai untuk jiwa anda.

    Secara peribadi, LOTR tak ada maksud tersirat. Cuma ia berselirat. Terlalu banyak watak, terlalu banyak tempat, dan mengambil masa terlalu lama.