Tuesday, October 5, 2010

FILMonBLU-RAY: Prince of Persia - The Sands of Time (Review)

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
2010 - Disney
Released on Blu-Ray & DVD on September 14, 2010

# of Discs: 3 (Blu-Ray, DVD + Digital Copy)
Runtime: 116 minutes

Dastan is an adopted prince of the Persian empire but must flee into the desert after being accused of murdering his father, the king. However, he is not alone and is accompanied by the beautiful priestess Tamina, who after having her city invaded is focused on delivering a glass-handled dagger to safety. That dagger happens to be in Dastan's possession and holds powerful time-manipulating magic. Danger and deceit lie ahead for the unexpected duo, as they try to make right what has gone terribly wrong.

Dastan and Tamina's adventure for the truth leads them to some exciting moments and equally interesting characters. The city of Alamut that Tamina presides over is beautifully designed and the scale of it is jaw-dropping when shown on the screen. Their journey leads them to the Valley of Slaves where they meet the unique Sheik Amar and his knife-throwing accomplice, Seso. There Tamina gets to experience being a waitress and they witness Ostrich races. But perhaps the most majestic scene is the path Dastan and Tamina take to Sandglass caves, the destruction of the underground tunnel and Dastan's escape from danger brings comparisons to Aladdin and the Cave of Wonders.

The era of poorly designed extras in DVDs is apparently not over and has leaked over into Blu-Ray with this release. There is a disturbing lack of accessibility to the special features from the menu system. The only way to get to the extras on the disc is to rewatch the entire film but from a special selection in the menu where the extras pop up throughout the film an become watchable at that time. Normally I do not mind having the option of viewing the movie with the extras but when it is the only way to see the extras it rubs me the wrong way.

My viewing experience was plagued with the problems of having a bad disc that froze, jumped back and had the video/audio unsync. Exchanging the disc and updating my blu-ray player's firmware did help the problem and make the second viewing a much more pleasant experience. That said, it is a fun, adventure film with enough action and mystery throughout the story to keep viewers enthralled and has a stellar cast: Jake Gyllenhaal ("Brokeback Mountain"), Gemma Arterton ("Quantum of Solace"), Ben Kingsley ("Shutter Island") and Alfred Molina ("The Sorcerer's Apprentice"); All together they are worth watching in their own right. Even with the viewing troubles I had with the first disc I had purchased I could not help but enjoy the quality of the movie, easily worth a rental at the very least.

Look to buy the Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Blu-Ray/DVD Combo over at Amazon for only $18.99.

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