If you browse through our D-BOX reviews, really dig into how Motion Control augments most home movies, it’s clear that the technology behind making your seat move along with the on-screen action has the potential to revolutionize home entertainment like 3D Blu-ray and 3D HDTV. More often than not, D-BOX makes bad movies tolerable and good movies great. Sometimes movies seem perfect for D-BOX, and we’re excited to see them ship with the Motion Code directly on the Disc. Prince of Persia: Sands of Time was one such movie, and I couldn’t wait to see what Disney and D-BOX could pull off together.
Maybe they’ll do better next time.
The Prince of Persia video games are all about fast-paced swinging and wall running, and the blockbuster movie largely echoes those franchise calling cards. Logic, then, would dictate that D-BOX’s engineers would have a veritable heyday with the Prince’s swings, swoops and slides — the stuff D-BOX normally does so well. Yet while the on-screen action includes all of those movements, the motion track doesn’t follow suit, opting instead to highlight the impacts of punches and kicks more than the movements associated with running on a wall or swinging into a moving coach.
The motion track starts off promising, with subtle movements timed to the camera during the opening credits and some slight thumps timed to the music and environmental audio. The opening action sequence also has some nice movement associated with it, as does the flashback scene that really shows the Prince at his wall-running best. Unfortunately, the Motion Code seems predominantly like bookends to the movie, at least where literal motion is concerned. After those opening sequences, it’s not until the climactic end that our D-BOX-equipped chair really moved in tune with the on-screen action. Instead, the impact sensations get more of a workout than the pistons underneath, which seems to be a missed opportunity.
I’m not one to shy away from the impact sensations. In fact, one of my most memorable D-BOX moments comes from a cage match in Babylon A.D. in which the impact of a Vin Diesel punch generates the sensation of the chair falling out from underneath you. It’s just that in a movie like Prince of Persia — which definitely has impact-friendly action that requires some motion — failing to include more camera- or movement-based Motion does a disservice to the overall experience. After a while, the impacts all start to feel the same, the thump to the back feels just like the 15 thumps before it, and the “motion” part of “Motion Code” seems lost in translation. A few more motion-based sensations would’ve gone a long way both for the immersion and the excitement.
Without more of a focus on the Prince’s action — and let’s face it, the dude moves around a lot — much of what makes the franchise and film so special just isn’t capitalized upon. The engineers certainly did fine with the impacts, but they could have delivered those sensations on any action film. The Prince of Persia has unique movements and a unique style, and seeing the code embedded on the Disc got me giddy about the potential (most Motion Codes come after the fact via download, not natively on the Disc). Maybe the downloadable Code could “patch” the on-Disc Code to address more motion and fewer impacts, but it’s doubtful.
If I’m being too harsh on the D-BOX code for Prince of Persia, it’s only because there was so much potential for a standout experience. The Motion is technically sound, and there’s definitely no shortage of “stuff” going on in the chair from opening credits to the closing scroll. It just would’ve been nice to have the elements that make the film and franchise so unique more rigorously mirrored by the unique motions that only D-BOX can deliver.
- Score: 7.0
- The impacts, though done well, feel redundant after the first 45 minutes, and there’s just too much of a missed opportunity for more “motion” in the Motion Code for a film of this nature.
— Jonas Allen