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Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (Blu-ray Review)

3 Sep, 2010 By: John Latchem

Street 9/14/10
Box Office $90.5 million
$29.99 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray, $44.99 Blu-ray/DVD combo pack
Rated ‘PG-13’ for intense sequences of violence and action.
Stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina, Gemma Arterton.

Adding to the oeuvre of films that tout their franchise potential by adding a subtitle to the supposed first entry, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time delivers an entertaining two-hour adventure that doesn’t require too much of a mental investment from its audience. Whether it has enough momentum to sustain any sequels is a different issue.

The story, loosely based on a video game franchise (more specifically, the fourth game in the series), involves a Persian prince (big surprise) named Dastan, played by a beefed up Jake Gyllenhaal, who gets his hands on a magical dagger that uses mystical sand to send the user a minute back in time. Dastan is framed for killing his father, the king, and finds himself on the run with the dagger’s guardian (the luscious Gemma Arterton) in an effort to thwart a scheme to use the dagger’s power source to reverse time in favor of a new ruler. Cue the bad accents, scenery chewing and copious Jerry Bruckheimer-esque action scenes (actually, a lot of the parkour sequences are pretty fun to watch).

Drawing inspiration from current political times, the film, which is set in 550 A.D., presents a number of anachronistic subplots, beginning with a controversial invasion of a Middle Eastern nation over the threat of weapons that may not actually exist. Later Dastan teams with a nomad (hilariously played by Alfred Molina) who constantly complains about the government, its intrusion into peoples’ lives and how high taxes oppress the small businessman.

The extras are pretty slim, with the bulk of the material consisting of extensive behind-the-scenes videos that on the combo-pack Blu-ray are accessible through a special interactive mode by which the time-dagger pops up during the movie and lets viewers “rewind” to a featurette tied into that particular scene. There are about 40 segments in all that can be accessed through an index for those who don’t want to sit through the movie again.

The DVD version includes the 15-minute standalone featurette “An Unseen World: Making Prince of Persia,” which is comprised of highlights from the longer time-dagger mode segments.

The Blu-ray also includes a deleted scene that contains a decent beat of humor.

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