Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010) - Single Disc [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Action / Adventure / Fantasy
Buena Vista || PG13 - 116 minutes - $39.99 || September 14, 2010
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2010-09-10


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Mike Newell
Writer(s): Jordan Mechner (video game); Jordan Mechner (story), Boaz Yakin and Doug Miro & Carlo Bernard (screenplay)
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Ben Kingsley, Gemma Arterton, Alfred Molina


Theatrical Release Date: May 28, 2010


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Featurette
  • Deleted Scene
  • BD-Live


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (DTS 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time had plenty going for it and on paper, it should have worked. You have the director of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the producer of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, an at least talented supporting cast and a star who hasnít really tried the summer blockbuster route before. The result from it all is an entertaining film that has little substance and even fewer memorable moments and characters.

At a young age, Dastan was an orphan raised on the streets of Nasaf and after standing up for another young boy and upon seeing his compassion Persian King Sharaman takes him in and raises him as one of his own along with his two sons, Garsiv and Tus. 15 years later, Dastan (JAKE GYLLENHAAL) is all grown up and using some nifty wall walking moves, is quite the fighter. When Tus, leader of the Persian Army, goes against his fatherís orders to leave Alamat, a Holy City for which the King has great respect towards. However, the Kingís brother, Nizam (BEN KINGSLEY), reveals that a spy within Alamat have been making WMDs... I mean, fantastically crafted swords and the Persian Army must strike first and obtain the weapons before they can do harm upon Nasaf and the King.

Using some initiative, while the main force is attacking the front of the walls of Alamat, Dastan leads his men to the other side, manages to climb up a wall with a little help and inside causes enough havoc to help his brother and the main army gain entry and overtake the city. Inside, Princess Tamina (GEMMA ARTERTON) has one of her men leave the city with a priceless artifact which is later intercepted by Dastan and it is revealed to be a special dagger. Meanwhile, the King arrives and they throw a great party to celebrate the victory, much to the Kingís disappointment as he did not want this, but he puts on a brave face and also puts on a robe given to him by Dastan, a robe that is somehow acidic and kills the King for which Dastan is accused of murder.

Dastan must go on the run but trailing behind him is Tamina as she is after the dagger which, during a struggle, accidentally discovers its power: the ability to go back in time, just a few moments where the person in possession is aware but those around them are not. This is shown through some what should have been nifty visual effects that instead looks a tad silly (especially given the reportedly enormous $200 million budget). Now they must trench through the desert escaping all kinds of creatures and scandalous fellows as Dastan needs to clear his name and Tamina needs to make sure the dagger does not get into the wrong hands.

The thing about Prince of Persia is that it should have been a whole heck lot more of fun than it was. I can see why someone like Jerry Bruckheimer would want to bring this to life as on paper it mightíve been the next Pirates of the Caribbean or at the very least, The Mummy remake but instead it meanders from one scene to the next telling a story that I quite frankly didnít really care about. The revelation of the villain, about halfway through, was painfully obvious and his plans to use the dagger just donít add up to some grand storyline even though it indeed involves everyone (think Back to the Future).

Whatís good about the film is that it certainly looks good and takes full advantage of shooting, at least in part, in Morocco using the vast deserts to shape the time along with some masterful set building both there as well as in London on the legendary 007 sound stage. The costume design is also well done having been created by the same person behind all three POTC movies and say what you will about those sequels, but at least the actors looked, mostly, accurate for the fantastical world the filmmakers are presenting.

As for the cast, I do feel sorry for them because they seem to give it their all despite any problems the script ó by Boaz Yakin (From Dusk to Dawn 2, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights), Doug Miro and Carlo Bernard (The Uninvited, The Sorcererís Apprentice) ó and in the case of Jake Gyllenhaal, Iím sure he was excited to finally headline an action/fantasy movie as an interesting change-up from dramas like Brothers and Zodiac and physically speaking he does a pretty damn good job looking like he could perform the feats the character does throughout.

In regards to the supporting cast, Gemma Arterton is quickly on the rise since her memorable, if not brief, appearance in Quantum of Solace, which she followed up with a couple smaller pictures, most notably The Disappearance of Alice Creed, and then this yearís modest hit, Clash of the Titans, a film I disliked yet Arterton manages to escape unscathed. The other cast fill in the blank roles admirably enough but I have to wonder why someone of Ben Kingsley is even in this, in a role that is 1-dimensional and not really menacing as he lets others do his dirty work. At the same time, Kingsley also allowed himself to be in the Uwe Boll classic, BloodRayne while redeeming himself in more serious roles like Shutter Island. Oh, and Alfred Molina happens to be here as well in a far more comedic role, sort of an older, kookier Jack Sparrow.

Overall, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time has some entertainment value and might be OK as a 2-hour getaway but I had the hardest time getting into the story and by the third act, I really didnít care about the outcome or what would happen to these characters if it were to happen.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

This Blu-ray release comes in a HD Keep Case inside a glossy slip cover.

An Unseen World: Making of Prince of Persia (15:51; HD) Ė So, this featurette is an accumulation of the vignettes (on the 3-disc Blu-ray) we saw before but condensed into a short Ďmaking-ofí. However, I donít recall some of the footage, but given my delirium while watching all of them it is possible everything in here is also included in the vignettes.

Deleted Scene (1:26; HD) Ė This is just a short scene that really adds nothing to the story, just some extra shots and some dialogue between Gyllenhaal and Arterton as well as more interaction between the King and his son. Really, nothing thereís special here. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

The disc also offers a BD-Live portal. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Buena Vista has given Prince of Persia: Sands of Time a very nice 1080p high-definition transfer. From the beginning as we watch an army travel through the desert thereís an even application of grain and noise that gives the film a nice texture and detail levels that are sharp, crisp and clear throughout. Itís not a perfect video since itís just not a film that will wow you but overall I was more impressed than I expected to be.

Meanwhile, the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is similarly impressive with robust action sequences spreading through each channel evenly while the subwoofer kicks on every so often whenever the action kicked into gear. I noticed some good ambient noises (crowed chatter, metal on metal, etc) coming through the rear speakers while the center and side speakers were primarily used for the central action of the film.



.::OVERALL::.

Overall, I thought Prince of Persia was OK for escapist entertainment but even on that level itís not a great movie, just one I was able to tolerate no thanks to the ho-hum and lifeless script. The Blu-ray itself has great audio and video presentations but the features are much to be desired.