Theatrical trailer - The Mummy, The Mummy Returns & The Mummy PC Game
3 Audio commentary - 1. Director and editor, 2. Brendan Fraser and 3. Kevin J. O'Connor, Oded Fehr and Arnold Vosloo
Featurette - Building a Better Mummy, Pharoah Lineage, Visual effects, Egyptology 101
DVD-ROM features - From Script to Scene, interactive Mummy game, screensavers, Mummy Returns premiere live webcast
Awards/Nominations - The Mummy Returns
The Mummy - Ultimate Edition
Universal/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment .
R4 . COLOR . 120 mins .
M15+ . PAL
Some people take Rock, Paper, Sissors too far.
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.
Did you hear that?
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.
This Ultimate Edition release comes on the heels of the Ultimate DVD tag that Terminator 2 received. Is there a higher tag that can be achieved if they ever decided to release this DVD again? The Last Edition? Whatever the case may be, does this Ultimate Edition expand on the original release enough to really be called ULTIMATE?
As with the plot, the video hasn't differed at all from the original release. The picture quality of the 2.35:1 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.
Listerine - powerful stuff.
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. The vibrant color of the day scenes is very impressive and shadow detail within the darker scenes, specifically the ancient interiors of the temples and the mummy itself as it lurks in the shadows, are on par with the best transfers out there.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack (384Kbps) 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 is sure to rattle anything that isn't nailed down.
What the Ultimate Edition adds on is a new half bit-rate dts soundtrack, preceeded by the piano dts trailer. Does it sound any better? You bet. Does it sound louder? You bet. Is it the ultimate version? You bet. Let me back that up by saying the respective audio levels were matched for select scenes and the Dolby track just couldn't reach the dynamic range of the dts soundtrack, it was struggling in some cases. Increasing the volume further just revealed the source to be harsher. The dts soundtrack was a much more pleasing and satisfying experience overall.
Token joke character at your service!
Let's not take anything away from Dolby Digital in this case as those of you not equipped with dts capability are still in for an entertaining sound experience.
Missing from this version are French, Italian and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks. Whilst it may annoy some, the original version caters for this deficiency as there is never going to be an alternate spoken language in dts, that's for sure.
How can one capitalise on an excellent collection of extras offered in the original Deluxe Collectors Edition released by Columbia Tristar? It seems they have used the hype of the sequel and it's theatrical release as a stepping stone for adding some Mummy Returns features. To do so, the DVD is now split across 2 discs, the first disc featuring the movie in both audio formats and not one, not two but three audio commentaries and some DVD-Rom content. The second disc house the collection of extras from the original release and with a pinch of new titilating additions.
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.
NEW - 2 more commentary tracks, the first with a subdued Brendan Fraser who takes us through the paces of someone watching their own movie and commenting on various Brendan specific instances. Whilst mildly entertaining, grouping him with the other actors would have been a much more enjoyable experience. The second features actors Kevin J. O'Connor, Oded Fehr and Arnold Vosloo which is a far more interesting perspective on the movie but still lacking in some ways. It's goog to see we aren't short changed in this department for those of you who find commentary tracks an excellent companion to your favorite movies.
NEW - DVD-Rom content included on the first disc is made up of the original content found on the first release in an archive section, followed by a demo of the mummy PC game and a 'from script to scene' feature.
Are you with Ansett? Absolutely!
Building a better Mummy. This 50 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.
2 Theatrical trailers for the Mummy and the Mummy Returns, the latter being added for this release and in Dolby Digital 5.1.
Mummy PC Game trailer a somewhat ordinary looking game in the 3D style of Tomb Raider.
NEW> - A Behind the Scenes of the Mummy Returns is a 10 minute look at the second movie. Having not seen the movie as yet, there seemed to be a few minor spoilers included that may flatten the anticipation for some people. Interviews with all people involved are included and it's interesting to see the difference of the actors voices in the natural as opposed to their onscreen characters.
NEW - A 4 minute Photo Montage of shots from both the movie and behind the scenes.
NEW - Pharoah Lineage is a look at the timeline of the various Pharoahs to rein in Egypt.
There is nothing missing from the original release other than the alternate language options provided in 5.1 French, Italian & Spanish. Given that the original release was lacking in extras with the region 1 version, this release is equal to our US cousins in every way so support the local release if you intend on buying.
She'll be coming round the mountain when she comes.
The mummy is the perfect example of what dvd should be. A good, entertaining movie, great visuals, aurally pleasing 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.
The new Ultimate Edition is just that with a good addition of extras to an already impressive array and an incredible dts soundtrack that will rock the very foundations of your Home Theatre. The choice is simple though, if you don't care much for dts sound and aren't too fussed with extras then there is no point in upgrading, otherwise what are you waiting for. As a first time buyer of this movie, this ULTIMATE edition, hopefully the final released edition, is THE way to go.