From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
“Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time 3-Disc Blu-Ray Combo Pack”
Director Mike Newell (“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”) and producer Jerry Bruckheimer (“Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl”) channel the Saturday matinee romps of old with “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.”
Their swords-and-sandals epic boasts a nearly superhuman hero, a spirited leading lady and a scope and authenticity not often found in this age of computer-generated action movies. Plus, it’s genuine escapist fun, which isn’t always a given with today’s bombastic popcorn flicks.
“Prince of Persia” doesn’t stray far from its roots as a video game, emphasizing stunning chase sequences, exhilarating swordfights and colorful characters. The story is peppered with silly plot holes, clunky dialogue and unlikely coincidences.
Oscar nominee Jake Gyllenhaal makes his action-hero debut as Dastan, an orphan boy who becomes a prince after good King Sharaman (Ronald Pickup) adopts him. He grows into a fierce warrior in his father’s army, and during a battle in the holy city of Alamut, Dastan discovers a unique dagger that is actually a powerful magical device.
An act of betrayal makes Dastan a fugitive, and Alamut’s leader, Princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton) flees with him in the hopes of recovering the dagger. Naturally, the journey is fraught with peril, from deadly assassins to runaway ostriches. Since much of the movie was filmed on location in Morocco, it is a gorgeously rugged trek through mountains, valleys and deserts.
The Blu-ray release integrates more than 40 behind-the-scenes featurettes with the film, while the DVD version combines several of these snippets into on 15-minute making-of segment. The combo pack also includes a digital copy of the movie.