The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008) - Deluxe Edition [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Action / Adventure
Universal || PG13 - 112 minutes - $39.98 || December 16, 2008
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2008-12-08


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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: Rob Cohen
Writer(s): Stephen Sommers (characters); Alfred Gough & Mile Millar (written by)
Cast: Brendan Fraser, Jet Li, Maria Bello, John Hannah, Luke Ford, Isabella Leong, Michelle Yeoh


Theatrical Release Date: August 1, 2008


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • U-Control
  • BD-Live
  • Feature Commentary
  • Deleted/Extended Scenes
  • 7 Featurettes
  • Digial Copy


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (DTS 5.1), Spanish (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Was it better then The Mummy Returns? No. While the replacement for Evelyn was a disappointment, I still think it had a bit more action which helps make up for some of the laughable dialog and poor casting choices.

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor takes place years after the conclusion of The Mummy Returns we find our favorite couple Rick (Brandon Fraser) and Evelyn (Maria Bellow) deep into their retirement life. They no longer hunt for artifacts or raise any more long-dead mummies... no! Instead Evelyn writes "fictional" books and Rick enjoys fishing. Soon, after a bit of self convincing, they are hired to take a treasured artifact to China to deliver to a museum. They find this the perfect excuse to visit Evelynís brother, Jonathan (John Hannah), and soon run into their son Alex (Luke Ford). After a brief, yet predictable, double-crossing the O'Connell family finds themselves trying to destroy the evil Dragon Emperor (Jet Li) and stopping him from raising his dead army.

While we did see a few replacements for previous characters (Evelyn, and obviously their son Alex due to the difference in years between the installments) I was not as put off as others might have been. Rachel Weisz (rightfully) was not too pleased with the screenplay and with her out of the picture they clearly needed a replacement. While they could have easily just said Evelyn was away on business and kept this film more of a father-son type adventure, I understand they wanted to try and bring some of the women into the Theaters and Maria Bello was probably the best choice. I didn't mind her in the film (though my girlfriend hated it - mentioning it every twenty minutes) but found her acting to be rather lacking. Instead of trying to create her own character, she more or less tries to mimic Rachel Weisz which didn't work so well. That would be like having each new Bond try to be Sean Connery instead of molding their own.

The other newcomer to place a replacement would be Luke Ford, who plays a much older Alex. Gone is the British accent and replaced with someone who looks and feels a bit too much like Frasers character from the first film. While it would make sense he would try and be like his father, the poor dialog and acting helps seal his fate he is not up for the role. The dialog with Michelle Yeoh at the resting place in the mountain regarding how they might possibly feel about each other is cringe inducing.

Moving on from the acting we get to the action and special effects of the film which I felt were the high point. Instead of being cooped up inside of a dark, dimly lit cave like the previous films we get to experience almost all of the film outside in either Shanghai or on a snowy mountain top. These scenes look great and bring the epic story to life. The chase scene was invigorating as was the final battle. Why couldn't they focus more on this instead of the dialog? Clearly Frasier only did this movie for some extra cash as his wit and humor is all but gone this time around.

Flawed film? Yeah, no doubt about it. Itís missing a ton of flare that made the first film so enjoyable and the casting choices for some of replacements baffle me. At least they had the sense to bring back John Hannah (Jonathan) as he was always one of my favorite things about the film. A fourth film is already in the works...and while this one is clearly better than any of the Scorpion King films they really need to figure out a way to have the fourth not suck as much as this.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

U-Control (Profile 1.1/2.0)
- The Dragon Emperor's Challenge
- Know your Mummy
- Scene Explorer
- Visual Commentary

- - Oh boy. This feature starts out with a Trivia game followed by... yep, a trivia track! With film clips, photos and other assorted goodies. This concludes with storyboards and a visual commentary with the director.

BD-Live (Profile 2.0) - At the present time this is not up. As usual, I'd expect some trailers for upcoming Universal films.

Commentary with director Rob Cohen

Deleted/Extended Scenes (10:43) - A bland selection of scenes that were rightfully cut. The film runs almost 2 hours long...so I'm thrilled these duds were trimmed.

The Making of The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (22:47; HD)
From City to Desert (15:43; HD)
Legacy of Terra Cotta (13:35; HD)

- - A good set of features that delve deep into who was awesome to work with, a look at the numerous location shoots, and finally the historical aspects of the film. I'd skip the first feature and go straight to the second and third.

Disc 2 (All Presented in SD)
Oddly enough, these features are presented on a DVD which is known to be the "digital copy". For whatever reason, Universal decided not to put these on the Blu-ray and instead stick them on the extra DVD. Not a fan of this. 50GB of space is not enough for an extra 30 minutes of SD features?

A Call to Action: The Casting Process (4:44) - One of the finest "blank did a great job" I've ever seen. Yawn.

Preparing for Battle with Brendan Fraser and Jet Li (10:40) - A fairly entertaining feature that shows off some of the fight scenes between Fraser and Li. Worth a watch.

Jet Li: Crafting the Emperor Mummy (7:59) - This one begs for the HD treatment as it showcases of the special effects used to make Jet Li's character into the unstoppable force he is in the film.

Creating New and Supernatural Worlds (8:34)

And finally... the Digital Copy!



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is presented in 2.40 (AVC/MPEG-4) on a 50GB Disc. While the film leaves much to be desired, the picture quality is fantastic. Dark blacks and very vibrant colors make this film a must see on the format - even if you just press MUTE on your TV. The special effects look great, especially the opening scene with the Dragon Emperor's men and with no DNR or EE in sight.

Universal has once again outdone itself with an English 5.1 DTS MA track that simply does not quit. Rears were active most of the film and dialog was very crisp and dynamic. Each action scene sounded great and there is no doubt that Universal spent some time making this track sound spectacular.



.::OVERALL::.

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is not the best film of the trilogy... but itís not Return of the Jedi or Back to the Future Part III bad. With almost perfect picture and audio quality along with tons of special features I'd strongly recommend a rental. Unless of course you want all three films on Blu-ray... then buy it.