Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina, Richard Coyle
Written By: Boaz Yakin, Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard
Directed By: Mike Newell
Studio: Disney / Buena Vista
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, is a sword and sandal epic that has been a popular video game for some time now. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal as Dastan, the adopted Prince of the Persian empire, who discovers a rare mysterious dagger while invading a rivaling city. After the death of his royal father, Dastan is targeted and must flee in order to escape his brothers who are out for revenge and the beautiful Princess Tamina (Arterton) is owns the dagger. A flashy action packed adventure that doesn’t hit the mark, yet is still fun to watch.
Dastan, grew up an orphan in Persia and later was adopted by the King, and has two foster brothers who are blood relatives to the King. Along with their Uncle (Kingsley) they seek out to attack the ancient city of Alamut. It’s been reported that the city has been making weapons for their enemies and they must be stopped. Sound familiar? While attacking the city, Dastan finds this mysterious dagger that beholds a magical power. Princess Tamina is the owner of the dagger and knows its true capabilities. When Prince Dastan returns to the city, there is a celebration and Princess Tamina of Alamut is to be married to Dastan’s brother, Tus (Richard Coyle.) Dastan presents his father, the king, with a robe but it turns out to be poisoned and Dastan flees the city before his brothers and Persian Army can capture him. Alongside Tamina, they gather the dagger and try to make sense of what is happening. Framed for murder, Dastan seeks to find the truth. With this special dagger, the powers reveal that is can reverse time and change the course of history. Dastan realizes his scheming Uncle Nizam (Kingsley) is the one behind it all, as he is seeking to return to a time before The King claimed the throne and he could have had the opportunity. Dastan and Tamina know they must stop Nizam and at the same time return the dagger to a place it will do no damage.
Gyllenhall really bulks up for this role, and proved he was up for the challenge of the stunts as we all learned in the short behind the scenes featurette on the making of the film. Whoever thought the hair was a good idea, should really get a catscan. Yikes. Gyllenhall though did a good job with the material that was given to him. He was more so on screen for the looks and the physicality of the role. It was great to see Richard Coyle on screen again. Some may remember him from his role on the British comedy series, Coupling as Jeffrey. Highly recommended by the way. Coyle played Dastan’s royal brother Tus and added some credibility to the film. Supporting cast members Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina, and Gemma Arterton were strong in their roles and Arterton is just gorgeous. It’s funny though, with sword and sandal epics like this that take place in the middle east, everyone has to use a British accent. The film shot on location in Morocco and on sound stages in London, but the film was overloaded with CGI and editing that was a bit all over the place as well. At times, I would say even distracting. Every action sequence of Dastan jumping or fighting was in slow motion which really irritated me as well. Sometimes it’s just better to show it than add all those effects.
Prince of Persia looked great in High definition though. As with any Bruckheimer film, the locations are always very colorful and exciting. Everything comes through crisply, and there was slight film grain but for the most part, the colors were bright and vibrant. The audio track was good too. The action sequences boomed and had good volume to it, though I got sick of some of the characters just yelling all the time. The Blu Ray set featured a DVD and Digital Copy along with just a few extras. Just one deleted scene sequence, and a Making of Special featurette on just the DVD side. Disappointing. The film itself, I guess I would say the same thing. The film while it was fun at times, felt confusing as well with the story and dialogue of exactly what was going on screen. Then CGI sequences would take you out of the viewing enjoyment when it was so grand in scale that it was distracting. Prince of Persia really could of hit a home run and it failed to do so.
Exclusive To Disney Combo Pack:
– CineExplore: The Sands Of Time
– Deleted Scenes: The Banquet
An Unseen World: Making Of DVD Special Featurette
Includes DVD Copy Of Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time
Includes Digital Copy Of Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time For Portable Media Players
Widescreen 2.40:1 Color
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Stereo
ENGLISH: DTS-HD MA 5.1
SPANISH: Dolby Digital 5.1
FRENCH: Dolby Digital 5.1
FRENCH: DTS 5.1
English, Spanish, French
Bottom Line: Disappointing start to what could have been a proud franchise in the future
Running Time: 116 mins