Big violin music over desert scenes. It's like The Dark Knight, but with lots more sand (though if you count the gravel in Christian Bale's bat-voice, maybe it's about the same).
"The movie's mostly based on 'The Sands Of Time,' which is the 2003 game that I did with Ubisoft Montreal," says title creator and the film's story writer Jordan Mechner.
"Rather than try to do a literal retelling of the game, what I pitched to Jerry and Disney in 2004 and I think what the movie very much is, it's characters and elements, some of the coolest elements from the game, sort of reconfigured into a story that makes a great movie."
As we glimpse a majestic city, the voice over from Gemma Arterton's Tamina kicks in. "Legend tells of the most powerful force on Earth..."
"Jordan wrote the first two drafts of the script so he was heavily involved," says Bruckheimer. The fact that he's here means he likes the movie, so that always helps. You won't be reading him online saying, 'Don't go see it.' It's good."
"...The mythical Sands Of Time." Looks like Roland Emmerich snuck in to direct a chunk as the titular sands lay waste to the city.
"There are no sand monsters in the movie. For the game, turning everybody in the world except for the two main characters into sand monsters was really useful because it created an inexhaustible supply of enemies for you as a player to fight," explains Mechner.
"But that's a story that's meant to be played with a controller in your hand. And a movie is an experience that's sort of a ride to go on shared by an audience, so we didn't want to make the movie about fighting monsters."
Is That A Dagger I See Before Me?
"They are hidden within a sacred dagger."
Oh, come on! That little thing couldn't possibly hold all that sand! It looks a bit bigger than one of those novelties you get on Clacton Beach!
It's magical, you say? In that case, carry on.
Eyes Without A Face
"There are those sworn to protect it..." And themselves from Swine Flu, by the looks of it. Is she making a veiled threat? Ahahahahaa…. We'll stop.
That's Tamina in person, by the way.
"...Those who would do anything to possess it." And they look like they're led by someone with nasty-looking scars. Bet he's eeeevil. We know this because he's also got dangerous eyes and is dressed in a black cloak.
"...And those whose destiny is tied to it." Jake Gyllenhaal's Prince Dastan, who looks like he realised the dagger shouldn't be used as a letter opener.
"He's one of those guys who can be a romantic hero. He's handsome, he's a wonderful actor," enthuses Bruckheimer. "I've always wanted to work with him. We got very lucky that he A) liked the material and B) was available to do it. There was no other choice."
If I Could Turn Back Time...
CGI swings into action as Dastan, in plummy English tells us that, "releasing the sand turns back time." Okay, now we know who's really after the thing: Cher.
Trivia fans! His accent sounds like it's based on one of the early game's Dastan voices, which was proper English an' all.
"We create layers, like the first time we did the actual pushing the dagger and the sand comes out, there was nothing going through his body," says Bruckheimer. "He'd just lift it above the scene and stayed there, started using the sand, electricity going through his body.
"So you keep layering it. When you see the movie in the theaters it will be more layers than what you see just now."
Girls Just Want To Have Fun
Ladies belly dancing. Just because.
"The movie when you see it, it's like an old-fashioned, romantic adventure film," explains Bruckheimer. "That's really what it is. It's like a Lawrence Of Arabia with this kind of supernatural element added to it.
"But it's really a wonderful biblical story about jealousy. It goes back to all the primal fears and conflicts through history, so it embellishes upon interesting things."
Jump, Jake! Jump!
Dastan clearly jumps a lot in the film. Good to see they're being faithful to the game then. But it would be even better if everyone had a keyboard or a joystick to play along.
"We brought in the key experts out of France with us. In the opening of the movie, there's a young man who portrays Jake as a young boy," says Bruckheimer. "He was a Parkour expert. He's 10-years-old and he's amazing. Absolutely amazing. They sent us online, Facebook things of these kids. This kid was extraordinary."
Swords And Sorcery
'Dear Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro. If you should need a Ranger or other human hero for The Hobbit, please consider this my audition tape. Cheers, Jake Gyllenhaal.'
Bruckheimer explains Jake's routine: "He really worked hard. He worked for months and months before the movie started. He trained every single day. He rode bikes, he lifted weights, he had a very specific diet. He couldn't have any fats, and it was really a lot of protein, and all during filming, he was working in 120 degree heat.
"Jordan said he saw him, after a long day, around 7 at night taking a jog, running, so he kept it up through the whole movie."
Oh, Tamina's back (Tamina's *back*, geddit? Oh, never mind)… "Such a noble prince, leaping to assist the fallen beauty."
"Who said you were a beauty?" he wisecracks. That's going to cost him, we fear.
It Must Be Love
"There must be a reason why you can't keep your eyes off me." She's got something in her teeth?
Wait, no. She is a beauty. Good to know.
"You're… um… I…" he stammers when she confronts him.
Yeah, smooth move, Dastan. Bet you just cut a swathe through the ladies at court.
Falling With Style
Still, at least he's better at sliding down crumbling structures being taken apart by sand. Anyone else getting a worrying Stephen Sommers vibe about all the big CG set pieces?
"When he's jumping across the rooftops, that's all real," says Beuckheimer. "A lot of the stuff that's falling on him is all CGI but all the roof stuff, all the rooftops is all real stuff."
Aaaand… the big finish with a backflip off the sand avalanche. The Romanian judge gives him a 9.0.
"I loved movies growing up as a kid before I loved games, in fact actually before games had been invented, video games had been invented," says Mechner.
"This is a game that was inspired by movies so I think really in writing the first draft of the screenplay, I just kind of set out to write a movie in that genre, the kind of movie that I love, that inspired me to create the game in the first place."
[Quotes Source: Comingsoon.net]