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Considering that Jerry Bruckheimer produced PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME ($45) and he seems to know how to work his brand of magic on Disney properties, one definitely gets the vibe that this film has been influenced by the animated feature ALADIN, although this live action motion picture is indeed minus the genie. Based upon the video game franchise, PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME is a reasonably rollicking sword, sandal and sorcery epic filled with action, stunts and a good deal of computer enhanced imagery. Perhaps Jake Gyllenhaal takes himself a little bit too seriously for the proceedings, as more Captain Jack Sparrow and less Donnie Darko would have better served the movie. However, for the most part, PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME delivers just what fans expect from this type of genre film.

PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME tells the story of Prince Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal), who was an orphan boy adopted into the royal family by King Sharaman (Ronald Pickup), after performing an act of courage in a public marketplace. Fifteen years later, Dastan along with his adopted brother Tus (Richard Coyle) and Garsiv (Toby Kebbell), as well as his uncle, Nizam (Ben Kingsley) learn that the sacred city of Alamut has been selling weapons to Persia’s enemies. Tus makes the decision to stage a head on assault of the city, but Dastan disagrees with his brother, and leads a covert attack that will breach the city with far less casualties.

When King Sharaman arrives, he suggests Dastan marry Princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton) to make amends for the unjustified attack on the city. However, before that can come to pass, Sharaman is murdered and Dastan is made to appear guilty. With the aid of Princess Tamina, Dastan is able to flee the city, but he quickly learns that the Princess only wishes to recover the Dagger of Time, a relic that has been in Dastan’s possession since the attack on the city. As the name implies, the Dagger of Time possesses the ability to turn back time, and the dagger’s abilities prove to be the real reason Alamut was attacked in the first place. Of course, Dastan sets out on a quest to prove his innocence and keep the Dagger of Time out of the hands of those responsible for the murder of his adoptive father. Along the way, Dastan encounters Sheik Amar (Alfred Molina), a wheeling-dealing, tax evading, ostrich racing desert entrepreneur, who isn’t above selling out the Prince for the high bounty on his head. To give credit where credit is due, Molina’s performance strike the right note, as he is having the most fun of anyone up there on the screen. Too bad, the sense of fun wasn’t infectious, as Molina provides that touch of Captain Jack Sparrow that PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME really needs.

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has made PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME has been provided with a fairly stunning 1080p presentation, which is just exactly what one should expect from this type of big budget enterprise. Image sharpness, depth and dimensionality are all excellent. Fine details in the texture of fabrics and other objects, not to mention the lines in the actor’s skin and even individual hairs are clearly visible. Even the CGI work looks impressive, although there are moments where the CGI reveals itself to be just that. Colors are rich, vibrant, fully saturated, while the golden hued desert pallet is reproduced without flaws. Flesh tones display an appropriate desert sun baked pallor, but remain attractive. Blacks are pure, as are the whites, plus the contrast is very smooth. The elements from which PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME has been mastered demonstrate virtually no imperfections. There is a modest but perceptible grain structure that gives the image an organic quality.

PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. The track delivers just exactly what one should expect from this type video game to movie translation- it is big, loud and aggressively mixed to make the most of the action sequences. All the outlying channels are well utilized for precise sound effects placement, as well as for smooth panning of effects across the soundstage. Thanks to the lossless encode, fidelity is just great, producing full-bodied musical component, as well as fully convincing sound effects- including clanking swords, violent sandstorms and hoof beats pounding across the landscape. The bass channel is powerful and tends to shake the ground quite a bit. Voices have a warm, natural quality, plus the film’s dialogue is totally understandable.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc’s interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the extras. CineExplore: The Sands of Time mode offers access to forty supplemental segments and programs- just press the enter key any time the dagger icon appears on the screen and be transported to the segment. Deleted Scenes and Bonus Trailers including one for TRON: LEGACY close out the standard extras. PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player). Disc two offers a DVD copy of the movie for those who are on the fence about making the upgrade to Blu-ray, while disc three provides a Digital Copy of the film.

PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME offers action, stunts and computer enhanced imagery that one expects from a live action movie based upon a video game. The Blu-ray presentation cannot be faulted- it is gorgeous to look at and the soundtrack will give ones speaker a real workout. Definitely recommended to fans.


Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) [Blu-ray] (2010)


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright 2010 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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