Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Video review: "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time"

This summer's crop of movies featured a lot of disappointments. But one I think just about everyone saw coming was "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time."

An action/adventure from king of schlock Jerry Bruckheimer? Based on a video game? Set in the ancient deserts of Persia? With no actual Persians among the principal cast?

When one considers the progeny of this sun-baked disaster, the question becomes not where did everything go wrong, but how did anyone ever think it would go right.

Jake Gyllenhaal plays Dastan, a street urchin-turned-adopted prince of the realm. While sacking an enemy city he finds a magical dagger that can transport the bearer back in time one minute, so they can change the course of events to their favor. Soon Dastan and the dagger's guardian, Tamina (Gemma Arterton), are on the run with everyone pursuing them.
Alfred Molina is worth a few yucks as a criminally-minded sheik who despises how the government is taxing his ostrich racetrack.

Mostly, though, it's a stupefying sequence of action scenes where Dastan -- or at least Gyllenhaal's obvious stunt double -- acrobatically leaps about the screen, clashing swords and getting his derring-do on.

I like video games. And I love movies. But the two just weren't meant to be together.
Bonus features are rather skimpy in the DVD version, but perk up somewhat in Blu-ray.

The DVD comes only with a making-of documentary that touches on various aspects of production. The single-disc Blu-ray also comes with a single deleted scene: A banquet involving the serving of heads that sounds suspiciously similar to the "monkey brains" scene in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom."

The Blu-ray/DVD combo pack has both these features, plus "The Sands of Time," an interactive feature that links to about 40 featurettes about the making of the film.

Movie: 1.5 stars
Extras: 2 stars

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