Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Adventure > Action > Prince Of Persia: Sands Of Time (2010/Disney Blu-ray w/DVD & Digital Copy)

Prince Of Persia: Sands Of Time (2010/Disney Blu-ray w/DVD & Digital Copy)


Picture: B+/B-     Sound: A-/B     Extras: C/C+     Film: C



Another video game film?  Judging from the troubled past of videogame based films, Prince of Persia had to make leaps and bounds (off of walls nonetheless) to get audiences past the past atrocities that we have all been subjected to.


The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Dastan, an orphan who was adopted by the king after a feat of heroism.  Dastan was raised as a prince, eventually rising to the point of leading an army of his own.  In a tragic set of events the king is killed and Dastan is blamed for his murder, his brothers putting a price on his head.  So at this point the film seems good enough.  Then (suddenly) a dagger that turns back time for a brief moment is introduced, along with a beautiful information barer (in all things dagger) named Tamina.  Annoying amounts of information are given about the dagger, leading me to say OK I GET IT.  What happened to things just being cool artifacts; ala Indiana Jones with his arc and holy grails?  Anyhow, we watch as Dastan runs around Persia (where are the Persians?) seeking his freedom, along with justice.  In what could have been a ‘yawn-fest’ in fact turns out to be an action packed, violence-fest with slashing, chopping and all in between.  Disney was quite liberal with the violence in this film and it worked to a certain degree, but the script failed in so many more.


The problem with the film is that it did what it was suppose to do.  What I am trying to say is that the Prince of Persia attempted to be a true film with substance and depth, taking itself all too seriously.  Yes it is a videogame film, so it already has a strike against it, but the worst thing it could have done is make the film campy or go word for word with source material (i.e., the games).  Many movies in the past (Super Mario Bros, Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter) have made crucial and crushing missteps in film making, but Prince of Persia just simply didn’t work as it did not reach the balance between game and cinema that it desperately needed.  Yes the money was there.  Yes the acting was there.  Yes the atmosphere was there.  In the end, however, the script was weak and played more like a bad Mummy sequel (which isn’t saying much) than a true action film with substance and depth.


The technical features on this 3-Disc set are not sandy at all as they clearly spell quality as Disney always does.  The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition picture presentation is bright, detailed and full of color.  The film takes on an intended yellowy/sand swept hue that can diminish both detail and color, but overall (though not perfect) is well balanced to give the intended effect without stripping away the quality.  The bigger issue arises in the darker sequences of the film as detail suffers and faces are lost in the darkness.  It seems that the ‘yellow effect’ combined with the dark atmosphere causes issues that result in temporary visual field loss. Other than the darker sequences though the detail is very nice, nice grains of sand and Gyllenhaal’s perfectly placed hair appearing with ease.


If Disney can deliver one thing it is a quality sound presentation and this 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless surely delivers.  Even if the film did not turn out as epic as expected, the sound presentation does as it blasts from your speakers with full action.  The viewers’ room will rumble as hooves thud and gallop across the soundscape, knives slice through the screen and every scream, whisper and war cry are delivered with the utmost precision.  The sound is simply amazing and if it was for a single instance where mouths and dialogue did not quite lineup, it may even be perfect.  I thoroughly enjoyed the sound presentation as it fully utilized all speakers and with a wonderful soundtrack to back up the fast paced action the experience heightened a film that was weak otherwise.


The DVD is essentially a downgraded Blu-ray that has all the same thrills, but at the same time the weakness are more pronounced.


The extras (most likely due to the film itself) are not all too impressive.  Bonus features include CineExplore: The Sands of Time, Deleted Scenes and Sneak Peeks.  On the DVD ONLY (odd I know) is a featurette entitles “An Unseen World: The Making of Prince of Persia.”  The CineExplore feature is nice (though slightly annoying) as it prompts you during the film (when a dagger appears) to view special ‘how they did it’ type scenes along with interviews.  The ‘Making Of’ featurette was ok at best and a very strange choice to only include it on the DVD. The deleted scenes add nothing to an already floundering film.


Also included for your computer, iPod or iPad is a digital copy to ‘treasure.’


I enjoy videogames and I love films, but it seems there is only the rare occasion that they work well together and Prince of Persia is not one of them.  I like Jake Gyllenhaal and he has a strong catalog of films to backup his acting credibility, but Prince of Persia is an action film with little substance.  I would say the film is worth seeing once with a big bowl of popcorn, but not good enough to own until the end of time.


Like sand through an hourglass, these are the wastes of our times.



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com