The Mummy (1999) - Deluxe Edition [Blu-Ray]

Genre(s): Action / Adventure
Universal || PG13 - 125 minutes - $29.98 || July 22, 2008
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2008-07-10


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Stephen Sommers
Writer(s): Stephen Sommers (story) and Lloyd Fonvielle (story) & Kevin Jarre (story), Stephen Sommers (screenplay)
Cast: Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, Arnold Vosloo, Jonathan Hyde, Kevin J. O'Connor


Theatrical Release Date: May 7, 1999


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Director & Editor Commentary
  • Actor Commentary
  • Actors' Commentary
  • U-Control
  • An Army to Rule the World Part 1
  • Unraveling the Legacy of The Mummy
  • The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragons Emperor Sneak Peek
  • "Building a Better Mummy" Documentary
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Visual and Special Effects
  • Storyboard to Final Film
  • Photograph Montage


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (DTS-MA), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (DTS 5.1), Spanish (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

The Mummy is a very loose remake of the 1932 film of the same name starring Boris Karloff. The film starts off with Rick O'Connell (Brendan Fraser) looking for treasure in Hamunaptra (The City of the Dead) when he and his group is attacked by desert nomads. Wounded, Rick manages to escape to a nearby city where he is quickly imprisoned and sentenced to death.

Lucky for him, a young librarian (Evelyn; Rachel Weisz) and her brother (Jonathan; John Hannah) just so happen to need something from our young Indiana Jones wannabe and after they negotiate his release they all quickly team up to find gold, treasure and to stop a Mummy from raising his dead lover.

The Mummy is easily one of the best popcorn flicks you can buy right now on Blu-ray. It has everything from sword fights, supernatural elements, romance, action, comedy... all wrapped up in a package that can be enjoyed by everyone - literally. You would be hard pressed to find someone that absolutely despises the film, even with some of the extremely corny scenes we are forced to watch.

While the film is incredibly enjoyable, the CGI effects don't hold up much after nearly a decade. While they are nothing you would laugh at, after watching Doomsday, some of the effects clearly show their age especially when viewed in HD. The scarab scene still gives me shivers every time I watch it.

Brendan Fraser is very convincing in his role as Rick; an Indiana Jones/Han Solo character rolled up into one. Considering when the film came out he was fairly unknown, he did an excellent job. Everyone else here is a top notch including his soon to be wife (in the film) Evelyn (Rachel Weisz) and her brother which is clearly the comedic relief Jonathan (John Hannah). The only character I didn't like (despised really) is Beni (Kevin O'Connor) who bugged me every second he was on screen.

Iíve enjoyed The Mummy several times in several different formats. The first being VHS (rental), followed by DVD, D-VHS, HD DVD and now, finally, Blu-ray. Each time there have been upgrades in both the sound and picture quality. This Blu-ray releases is a step above the older HD DVD versions (released in 2006), but may not require another purchase for casual fans. While the picture and sound quality is improved, they are very minimal and I really had to try hard to even see a difference between the two. Gone is a bit of the edge enhancing and some rough spots, and the audio has been boosted from DD5.1+ to DTS MA.

The only negative with DTS MA is that if you don't have a player able to decode it (or a player that can bitstream it to your receiver that can decode it), you are stuck with the 'core' of DTS MA which is not as good as the Dolby Digital 5.1+ track present on the HD DVD (the Blu-ray release only contains a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 track). If you only have Blu-ray, then this is a recommended purchase. If you plan on keeping your HD DVD player and movies around, then maybe you should pass on these.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

All Special Features are (still) presented in SD.

Universal's very first release on Blu-ray include a very nice slip cover as well as a free movie ticket (which is a code that is redeemed online) for The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragons Emperor.

Commentary with Director Stephen Sommers and Editor Bob Ducsay, Commentary with Actor Brendan Fraser, Commentary with Actor's Oded Fehr, Kevin J. O Connor and Arnold Vosloo - Rather than going through each commentary with a short synopsis I'll go ahead and give you my opinion on the best one to listen too. Personally I typically enjoy Commentaries with the Actors rather than Directors. While the technical talk is always appreciated, I enjoy listening to stories that the actors tell about their trials and tribulations with the film and personal experiences they had on the set. Considering the Blu-ray already has tons of "making of" special features. If I could only recommend one it would be the one commentary it would be the one with Brandon Fraser. He's just a really like able guy (even though his voice is very low here).

U-Control (PS3 or Profile 1.1/2.0 Players Only) - Universal continues with their U-Control and once again they have provided PiP videos, cast interviews and other nuggets of factoids. This is a great feature and if you don't like going through each individual features one by one itís a great way to get the best of everything wrapped up in a nice little, interactive package. ** BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVE **

An Army to Rule the World Part 1 (4:02) - Shows some of the CGI done to the skeletons as well real actors dresses up to look like Mummy's. ** NEW FEATURE **

Unraveling the Legacy of The Mummy (8:07) - A short look at the original Mummy (and it sequels) and a look at the 1999 Mummy film. ** NEW FEATURE **

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragons Emperor Sneak Peak (~3 Minutes) - A very short look at the all new Mummy film due in theaters very soon. Pretty lame itís in SD. ** NEW FEATURE **

Building A Better Mummy (49:52) - One of the better (and longer) making of features I have watched and this one is filled with information. We go from the CGI used in the film, to discussing how it was designed, to the actors talking about how they had to work with the CGI... Easily the best special feature on the disc. Recommended Watch!

Deleted Scenes (2:20) - A paltry selection of deleted scenes that amount to nothing.

Visual and Special Effects (broken down into five different sections)
- City of Thebes
- Scarab Burial
- Serious Trouble
- Imhotep Eats Scarab
- Rick Rescues Evelyn
-- This features takes a look at the above scenes in various forms all the way until they get to the completed stage.

Also included is a short Storyboard to Final Film comparison which demonstrated certain key scenes from their storyboard phase to being filmed as well a Photograph Montage which is simply still shots.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

The Mummy is presented in its Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 (VC1) on a 50GB disc. This Blu-ray release has been completely re-done and looks a bit sharper from the previous 2006 HD DVD version. While I personally thought the HD DVD version looked great when I watched it back in 2006; comparing it to the new 2008 Blu-ray edition...well, there are some slight notable differences. The picture is a bit cleaner (grain is still present) and there is far less edge enhancement then before. Is it a mind blowing transfer? No. Itís certainly a bit better then the HD DVD and probably worth the upgrade if you simply must have the best presentation available.

Universal has ditched Dolby Digital 5.1+ for the ever delicious DTS MA. While the HD DVD version had a DD+ track which sounded decent, the new DTS MA boosts it up slightly. The sound is more vibrant and powerful. Also included are Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks (in English, Spanish and French) as well as Dolby DTS tracks (in Spanish and French). The only bad thing here is that if you do not have a receiver capable of decoding DTS MA or a player (PS3, Panasonic DMP-BD50) you are stuck with the core from DTS MA or a basic Dolby Digital 5.1 track.

For those with the current HD DVDs wondering if they should upgrade... itís a tough call. The video and sound quality is better than the HD DVD version and while the Blu-ray version has some brand new extra features, the only one that's decent is the U-Control. Personally, I sold my HD DVD versions for these Blu-rays for a few reasons. The first being I really love slip covers and both of these releases included them. The second being with the new Mummy coming out in theaters (and eventually Blu-ray), it would bug me too much to not have all The Mummy (and even Scorpion King) movies on the same format. The upgrade in picture and audio was not a deciding factor in my decision.



.::OVERALL::.

After almost a decade now I still find The Mummy to be just as enjoyable as I did when I saw it in theaters. The all new 'Deluxe Edition' Blu-ray carries over all the previous HD DVD features plus a few more and the all-new transfer and DTS MA track make this a must own on Blu-ray if you don't already own the HD DVD version.