Writer: Boaz Yakin, Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard, Jordan Mechner
Directors: Mike Newell
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina, Ronald Pickup, Steve Toussaint, Richard Coyle, Toby Kebbell, Reece Ritchie, William Foster, Gísli Örn Garðarsson
Studio: Walt Disney Video
Theatrical Release Date: May 25, 2010
DVD Release Date: September 14, 2010
Online Availability: Amazon for $26.99
I am a gamer. I love gaming. I love games that involve shooting, action/adventure, and swords. I love me some Prince of Persia. There is action, adventure, swordfights, and more. The fights are the best. Getting into them and really letting loose on the ol’ game console is an exhilarating experience. However, making a movie about games has not always paid off in the past. To make the movie successful, it has to be full of the same elements the game made famous. For example, Lara Croft had to feature lots of kick butt action and a sexy woman. Angelina Jolie brought that to the first Tomb Raider movie. Fans did not watch to get something significantly cerebral from the movie. We watched it because Angelina Jolie is super fine and there were some crazy fun action sequences.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time had to be like Tomb Raider. It had to contain elements that made this game series so successful. Essentially, it had to have a fun, Persian setting and insanely cool fighting sequences. If the movie did not bring it when it came to action then the entire film would be screwed and those of us who were Prince of Persia fans would be pissed off. Well, let me tell you now. When it comes to action, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time brought it! The action sequences are downright dirty and kept me completely enthralled. They are the best parts of the movie and what kept me watching.
As much as I enjoyed the film aesthetically, I also found certain parts of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time to be hilarious. These moments primarily revolve around the love story between Dastan, the prince of Persia, and Princess Tamina. When I say that Newell and his cast threw on the cheese, I mean it. This is a typical love story. It is the girl meets boy – girl despises boy – boy does stuff to keep girl despising boy – girl sees something about boy that makes him likable – girl falls in love with boy. Along the way, boy finds it amusing to tease and perhaps even torture girl and the audience finds it equally amusing as he does. It was obvious that the creators of this film were trying to appeal to men with the action and women with the love story. Girls will love this story because it is classic, but most guys will think it’s cheesy and will not care because hey, the fight scenes rock.
Don’t get me wrong, though. I did enjoy Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. I watched it with my girl and while she enjoyed the cat and mouse games between Dastan and Tamina, I spent my time marveling at how sweet the fight sequences were. These are the types of fights you would experience in a game like Assassin’s Creed, which is one of my all time favorite game franchises. Because of this, as a viewer, you practically feel like you are a part of the action. As a gamer, there is no better feeling and as a movie goer, you hope that other action films take their cue from Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and make their fight scenes as kick ass as these fight scenes.
The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Plot
When a young orphan named Dastan (William Foster) stands up for what he believes is right, during King Sharaman’s (Ronald Pickup) visit amongst his people in the Persian Empire, the intelligent and caring King is impressed. Despite having two sons already, Tus (Richard Coyle) and Garsiv (Toby Kebbell), the king adopts Dastan, who accepted by his royal family as one of them. Overseeing the king’s reign and helping to raise the boys is his twin brother, Nizam (Ben Kingsley).
Once the boys are older, Tus is in charge of his father’s army, while Garsiv and Dastan run their own teams of men, who fight for them. Dastan runs a ragtag group who is constantly looking to prove themselves. When Nizam advises Tus to attack the ancient city of Alamut, because they are supposedly selling arms to enemies of Persia, Dastan looks to lead in the attack. Tus, thinking he is not ready, gives the advanced attack to Garsiv and his men. However, the night before, Dastan and his men make sure that his brother’s army can enter the city, by immobilizing it’s massive sets of guards, and therefore proving he and his men do have what it takes to get the job done. This, of course, makes Garsiv unhappy.
Princess Tamina, who is charged with guarding a sacred dagger, is shocked when Dastan shows up with the dagger. With no choices left, she agrees to marry Tus to reach a peace agreement, but the King has other plans for her. When the King arrives he is very upset that Tus has attacked without being certain that the city was dealing arms. He also thinks that Tus has enough wives for now and that Dastan should take Tamina as his first wife, a fact both abhor. However, nothing can be decided, as the gift Dastan gives his father, a robe Tus had prepared for him, has been poisoned and burns him to death.
When Dastan is blamed for the murder, he must escape and surprisingly, it is Tamina who leads him on the escape. After getting him out of the city, he is grateful, but she has ulterior motives. She wants the dagger, which contains the sands of time, and when pressed can turn back time, since she is its guardian. Not understanding the power of the dagger initially, Dastan sets out to prove his innocence and find out who was responsible for his father’s death. With his brother, Garsiv, hunting him down this is not easy. Along the way they meet a crazy entrepeneur Sheik Amar (Alfred Molina), and his knife-wielding African friend Seso (Steve Toussaint). Along the way he, and Tamina, discover an evil plot far bigger than they imagined, involving the theft of the dagger, and an attempt to change the past to ruin the future.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is a gamers movie in all possible visual aspects. Disney has been known for putting out amazing Blurays for years now, but this one seems to go above and beyond what I’ve come to expect from them. Like usual there are no compression errors, the color is perfect, and there is an excellent blend of background ambiance to go with the up front graphics. You could not possibly ask for more. The graphics will leave you stunned if you have never played the game behind the film and if you have you will probably love them even more. The finest detail comes to life in Prince of Persia including, but not limited to the sand as it drifts through the air and the stubble on Gyllenhaal’s face. The scenary is nothing short of perfection and the special features just wrap things up nicely, complementing the entire film in just the right ways.
The visual aspects of Prince of Persia are further complimented by a strong, impressive DTS HD MA 5.1 soundtrack that hits all the right marks and leaves you completely satisfied by the end of the film. Audio cannot be understated in an action film. Gamers would expect nothing less than what they received here. There is something satisfying about hearing the clash of the swords, the racing feet of the ostriches in the marketplace, and the blowing sand as it propells the story forward. The dialogue is always crisp, clear, and right on target. The music offers a robust aspect to the soundtrack and the sound effects are excellent. Even the background noise works to get a nice layered sound. Best of all, everything is clear and nothing overpowers any other aspect of the films sound. Needless to say, both gaming fans and action movie fans should love this audio presentation. Additional audio tracks are available in French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1. Subtitles are also offered in English, Spanish, and French.
The only place that Disney really fails Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is with the special features. Sure, you receive BD Live functionality, a plethora of sneak peaks (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Fantasia/Fantasia 2000, The Lion King, A Christmas Carol, Toy Story 3, and others), and a few minutes of deleted scenes, but that isn’t all that impressive.
The most disappointing part comes in the CineExplore: The Sands of Time feature. There are between forty and fifty featurettes here that span for about two hours worth of content. Normally I would explain how utterly excellent these are (and they are excellent), but there is one main problem. As cool as these featurettes are and as in depth as they go with the behind the scenes knowledge, there is no play all feature. In fact, you have to watch the entire film, and wait for a prompt to access each featurette. As impressive as it is, it’s also a huge letdown.
Bonus Features: [rating:2]
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time looks downright wicked in Blu-Ray and not too shabby in DVD, either. This is a fun action flick with some of the best fighting I’ve seen in a long time. This is not a thinking man’s movie nor is it a film you should take too seriously. The love story is full of cheesiness and yet you are bound to have a goofy grin while watching. Great for date nights, friend gatherings, or just to pass a few hours on the weekend, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time has plenty of entertainment value, to the right audience. Just remember, it’s based on a video game and don’t bring The Godfather type expectations and you’ll be fine watching this film.
[tags]Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Blu-ray, DVD Combo, Digital Copy, BD Review, Movie Review, Disney, Prince of Persia, Video Game, Action, Jake Gyllenhaal[/tags]