Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time [Blu-Ray] Mike Newell

Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time [Blu-Ray] Mike Newell
Casting the franchise fishing line to sea again, producer Jerry Bruckheimer netted a promising property and turned it into a mediocre action film. Prince of Persia has certainly been given more cash to play with than any previous videogame adaptation, but director Mike Newell doesn't entirely know how to use it. His varied filmography (Pushing Tin, Donnie Brasco) lacks tent-pole or action experience beyond Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire ― easily the weakest of that series ― and it shows. The story is serviceable, if a little plodding and convoluted. A young street urchin named Dastan shows bravery in the face of tyrannical authority, winning the respect and admiration of the King, who adopts the young boy as his own ― a son he can trust since no royal blood means no designs on the throne. All grown up, Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal, so buffed for the role he looks positively superhuman) leads the Persian army in an assault on the sacred city of Alamut, the justification being evidence presented by the King's brother, Nizam (Ben Kingsley), that Alamut's citizens are selling weapons to their enemies. Dastan, against his brother's orders, breaks ranks to execute a plan to end the conflict with minimal casualties. During the fray, Dastan faces off against one of Princess Tamina's (the lovely Gemma Arterton) guards, obtaining the legendary Dagger of Time for his troubles. Backstabbing in the King's court leads to Dastan being wrongly fingered for murder and he ends up on the run with Tamina, trying to clear his name and save his late father's kingdom. Central to all this is the sand-powered time dagger, capable of transporting its user back one minute in time. The action works best when Dastan is using parkour to fling himself through the city (seeing Gyllenhaal pulling off these manoeuvres is the most exciting part of the exhaustive behind-the-scenes features). There are a few scenes where the blue screen work is so obvious it'll break a discerning viewer's suspension of disbelief and the dialogue is nothing to get excited about, though Gyllenhaal and Arterton's contentious chemistry makes up for a little of it. A "follow the dagger through the movie" system for accessing the behind-the-scenes content is annoying and a serious time-waster that not even extra footage of wobble-necked racing ostriches can make up for. Neither as good as hoped for nor as bad as feared, Prince of Persia is undemanding entertainment, but the next Pirates of the Caribbean it is not. When attempting to build a film franchise out of images rather than story, it's important to hook a visually confident director like Gore Verbinski, instead of reeling in a jobber like Mike Newell. (Disney)