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Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time (2010) Print E-mail
Monday, 06 September 2010
ImageFrom the producer, Jerry Bruckheimer.  I guess you can see where this is going already.  I wish I could say this film had substance, but unfortunately it fizzles, becoming just another summer blockbuster.  “Prince Of Persia: The Sands of Time” has some great action but not much else.

Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Dastan, an adopted Prince in Persia.  He is headstrong, but has the ability to be a true leader.  He gets along with his two brothers to a degree, but their father holds a special place in his heart for his adopted son.  This drives the brothers to question each other.  The film is really about trusted your heart and doing what is right despite orders.

The film falls into all the predictable patterns of a summer blockbuster.  It gives away answers too quickly to questions that should remain mysteries for the majority of the film.  However, if you have seen enough of these films then it wouldn’t matter whether the film answered the questions early on or not.  The structure is predictable.  Dastan is framed for the death of king.  He goes on the run to try and prove his innocence.  Obviously he is innocent or else he would disappear never to be seen or heard from again.

The film tries to get you to fall for the obvious culprit, so you can rule out that enemy.  It is always the ones that seem the most loyal that are the traders, only because you never really saw the hatred behind their eyes.  So after the film spends two thirds of the runtime to get to the point that the audience knew from the first moment, the audience gets bored.  The screenwriters try to suck the audiences back in with some high-octane action.  I will admit that the choreography is quite good.  But in the end it doesn’t make up for the lackluster moments in between.

When, against the king’s orders, Dastan and his brothers lead their army into the holy city of Alamut, Dastan comes into possession of a dagger with a glass handle.  He soon learns that it turns back time, but only one minute at a time.

The true enemy in the film is after the dagger to plunge it into the buried glass full of the fabled sands that the gods used to wipe out mankind.  By doing the enemy hopes to turn back time many decades in order to make the future turn out in his own favor.  Supposedly this will wipe out mankind as the gods made a pact with a girl that sacrificed her own life to spare mankind.  That part is all a bit fuzzy.  It seems like the writers didn’t know where to go with it.

Jake Gyllenhaal seems out of place in this film.  I respect him for giving the genre a chance, but he doesn’t fit the profile.  Tamina, the princess and protector in the film is portrayed by Gemma Arterton.  There is a definite spark missing between Jake and Gemma.  They have no on screen chemistry.
“Prince of Persia” won’t leave you with anything new.  If you are not into the technical qualities of this disc then you may want to skip it.

While the film barely skates by, the video transfer is quite impressive.  Grains of sand are clearly visible as they whip across the scenery.  Take a look at the giant sand surfing sequences at the end of the film and you will be blown away.  Textures are fully rendered, creating details that pop from the screen.  The colors are primarily limited to earth tones, oranges, browns, and yellows.  However, when a few “forest” sequences come into play the greens are fully resolved.  Even the Himalayan sequence shows a nice balance in brightness and contrast.  There is simply no instance of artifacting.  Black levels are strong, but an instance or two of crushing does occur in a few of the darker sequences.  Finally, a fine layer of grain provides the icing on the cake.  Disney doesn’t disappoint in their latest Blu-ray release.

At first glance the audio may seem like the best thing since sliced bread.  Upon closer examination the audio does have some issues.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is spectacular.  Any issues with the audio are not a result of the codec but simply the mix.  It appears that this audio track has not been treated for the home theater.  Normally, the high frequencies get rolled off a bit to compensate for the smaller home listening rooms.  However, upon playing back this audio track the high frequencies are harsh.  This causes a few flinching moments throughout the film.  The frequency response of the mix is not as balanced as it could have been.  The mix seems to have been done on a system with improper crossover settings.  Envelopment is good throughout.  Although there are a few segments in which the surround channel ambience disappears.  When it comes to the action sequences, discreet effects are bountiful in the rear channels.  Directionality is spot on.  Arrows sound like they are flying through and around your head.  The LFE channel is supple and smooth.  Short of some original mix issues, this audio track certainly delivers.

“Prince Of Persia” comes in Disney’s typical 3-disc package.  There is a Blu-ray disc, a DVD copy and a Digital Copy.  The majority of the special features on the Blu-ray are accessed through CineExplore technology.  It becomes a bit tedious to access the information but there is a lot of good information for true fans.  However, given the quality of the story it may not be worth your time to sift through two hours of bonus materials.  The disc also contains one deleted scene, some sneak peeks and BD-Live functionality.

“Prince Of Persia” is a blockbuster, no doubt about it.  However, it is the audio and video qualities of this disc that make it worthwhile.  The DVD copy doesn’t hold a candle to the Blu-ray presentation.

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