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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Italian: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English, French, Arabic, Portuguese
  Extras
  • Deleted scenes
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Audio commentary - with director Stephen Sommers and editor Bob Ducsay
  • Cast/crew biographies
  • Featurette - a look at the various stages of 5 key special effects scenes.
  • Production notes - including Egyptology 101 which looks at all aspects of egyptian lore.
  • Animated menus
  • DVD-ROM features - interactive games, 2 screensavers, electronic postcards.
  • Documentaries - Building a better Mummy - a look into the creative and technical process by the crew at ILM that bring the visual effects to life.

The Mummy - Deluxe Collectors Edition

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 120 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

It's been 67 years since the original classic Mummy appeared on the silver screen so what better way for Universal to serve us a remake of a classic than to provide us with an Indiana Jones-esque action/adventure flick starring George of the Jungle himself, Brendan Fraser.

The 1999 edition of The Mummy begins in Ancient Egypt where high priest Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo) is caught with the Pharoah's wife, Anck-su-namun. She kills herself to escape a deadly sentence so Imhotep takes it upon himself to resurrect her with an ancient ritual but is interupted. He and his priests are mummified and buried alive and cursed with the hom-dai, the most deadliest of curses.

3,000 years later, Evelyn (Rachel Weisz) and her brother Jonathon (John Hannah) have acquired a map to the lost city of Hamunaptra encased within an ancient key of some sort and the only man that can lead them there is Rick O'Connell (Brendan Fraser). They head off on their journey in search of the rumored treasures associated with the city whilst an opposing team of Americans are on the same quest and between them they find the lost city and the evil within.

The Americans stumble across the Book of the Dead along with 4 jars of vital organs and are forever cursed if the Mummy of imhotep is ever found and resurrected. Evelyn and O'Connell do find the tomb of Imhotep. Reading from the book, Evelyn inadvertantly awakens the Mummy who is now a mission to find the stolen organ jars, regenerate himself and finish the resurrection of his love, Anck-su-namun. It is up to our heros to foil his mission and save the day.

While certainly not as great as the Indiana Jones trilogy, The Mummy certainly does deliver in the action adventure stakes and a smattering of one-liners give the movie a lighter tone but it's strength lies in the astonishing special effects created by Industrial Light and Magic, the same folk that brought us the likes of the Phantom Menace and Jurassic Park. The Mummy, the undead, the plagues, the egyptian landscapes ... all look stunning and the audio soundtrack adds to the appeal.

  Video
Contract

The picture quality of the 2.35x1 widescreen anamorphically enhanced transfer is excellent. Right from the outset you can see the increased detail of the PAL resolution. As the camera pans across across the opening scene, every tiny detail is rendered crisply on the screen and you can actually pause the image and make out all manner of intricacies.

As for the rest of the movie, everything is beautifully rendered throughout and you really do appreciate what dvd can offer with such impressive presentation. I was very impressed with the vibrant color of the day scenes and shadow detail of the darker scenes, specifically the ancient interiors of the temples and the mummy itself as it lurks in the shadows.

  Audio
Contract

The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is a real crowd pleaser. You are thrown straight into the middle of the action from the get go and it doesn't let up from there, with a widespread forward soundstage and a constant ambient surround area that really livens up during the action sequences. For subwoofer owners, you can expect alot of action in the LFE department that are sure to rattle anything that isn't nailed down. Directionality is exceptional and you'll notice that the movie is filled with echoing in almost every scene.

French, Italian and Spanish speaking fans are also blessed with the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack which gives you decent aural pleasure. Jerry Goldsmiths score does the film justice and adds to the atmosphere perfectly. The region 1 disc comes blessed with the entire isolated film score in glorious Dolby Digital 5.1 when you leave your player sitting at the language selection screen but alas we only get treated to a few sound effects.

  Extras
Contract

What really stands out with this disc is the abundance of cool extras that are included as part of the first deluxe collector's edition to be released with the new RRP of $39.95. Trust me, it's worth it. Let's take a look at them individually.

  • Feature Commentary track with director Stephen Sommers and Editor Bob Ducsay. An interesting listen from the directors perspective and what he was trying to achieve with various scenes, with homeages to the original 1932 version and some insight into the special effects which is expanded on in other sections.
  • Building a better Mummy. This 49 minute documentary briefly touches on the history of the mummy in movies and looks at the efforts ILM put in to create a realistic representation of a rotted, walking corpse. A great little doco for all those fascinated by special effects and it's nice to see an aussie working in ILM with a vegemite jar on top of his monitor.
  • Deleted scenes. Not really deleted scenes but slight extensions to existing scenes which seemed to have been cut due to time constraints more than anything else. I'm glad they did.
  • Egyptology 101. A decent feature whereby we are treated to pages of information about Egyptian locations, gods, biblical plagues and the like.
  • Cast & Crew biographies. A wealth of information about the cast and director with some cast having links to trailers for another of their movies.
  • Visual Effects. This is a very cool section where visual effects supervisor, John Berton, narrates through 5 effects sequences from plate photography through to final print. Very interesting stuff if you're as interested as I am in the process involved for making such complex effects look so seemless.
  • 1 Theatrical trailer for the Mummy itself. The region 4 disc misses out on an alternate mummy trailer and 2 Universal showcase section trailers for two upcoming movies, For Love of the Game (Kevin Costners next baseball flick) and End of Days (Arnies new thriller).
  • DVD-Rom featuresFor those of us with a DVD-ROM drive we can peruse the DVD ROM content using the "PC Friendly" software supplied. What we get are neatly laid out web-pages that feature a macromedia game, pc-only screensavers, background images for your desktop, a link to the online website for sending your friends a mummy postcard (requires internet connectivity) and extensive cast and production notes.

There are only small differences between the region 1 and region 4 supplementary material (we are given production notes rather than 2 showcase trailers - probably for space reasons, who knows) but everything else is virtually identical. One thing to note though is that our menus use those consistent Universal icons whilst the region 1 disc has a heiragliphic option system. Only a slight difference. You'll also notice that on the 1st special features screen, the menu seems a soft and blurred as compared to the second screen. A noticeable difference between screens which promotes an inconsistency in the menu design.

  Overall  
Contract

The mummy is the perfect example of what dvd should be. A good, entertaining movie, great visuals, aurally entertaining and packed with extras. This is one of my favorite pop-corn movies of late and I highly recommend it for fans of those epic adventures of yesterday. It's not the new Indiana Jones but it sure feels like it at times.


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=218
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