MUMMY, THE (ULTIMATE EDITION)
Reviewed May 13th, 2001 by Todd Terwilliger
With the eminent release of The Mummy Returns, Universal has seen fit to repackage and enhance its already excellent Mummy DVD with a two disc “ultimate” edition.
The High Priest of Emperor Seti I, Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo), committed a slight social faux pas by consorting with the emperor's mistress and, subsequently, murdering the emperor. Cursed, mummified alive, and buried in Hamunaptra, the City of the Dead and royal treasure vault, he remained undisturbed. Well, undisturbed until Rick O'Connell (Brendan Fraser), along with Evelyn and Jonathan Carnahan (Rachel Weisz and John Hannah, respectively), accidentally wake him up. Having unleashed a living curse into the world, it is up to O'Connell, et al. to put it back to sleep.
I do not mind saying that I loved The Mummy. There are those among you (you know who you are) that scoff and mutter under your breaths. This film is Indiana Jones Lite, I admit. However, since there are no new Indiana Jones features forthcoming, nor are there any Indiana Jones films on DVD at all, The Mummy is far and away the best next option, unless, of course, you prefer the adventures of Alain Quartermain.
Brendan Fraser surpassed all of my expectations in the lead role. He's no Harrison Ford but, then again, who is? John Hannah and Kevin J. O'Connor (Beni, the evil sidekick) provide great comedy relief and Rachel Weisz displays a nerdy beauty as the bookish librarian.
There are plenty of special effects, as one might expect, the mummy's face in the wall of sand being the most well known. The CGI is excellent. Animated mummy minions (oh my!) fly apart when struck like the 2,000 year old bags of bones that they are. While the visions of ancient Egypt look much too obviously like effects shots, over all the FX is well done.
The original Mummy disc was already an excellent looking disc. The new edition, while not better, retains the original's awesome transfer. The 2.35:1 transfer is anamorphic and lovely. The blues and tans that dominate much of the film look great while preserving nice, dark shadows. Flesh tones are not too pink or red and separate easily from the earth tones.
The Mummy contains both a Dolby Digital 5.1 track and a DTS encoded track. Both sound awesome. Of the two, I could not tell much difference between them. Both seemed equally well done. There is plenty of movement and use of the surrounds and neither skimps on the bass. All facets of a 5.1 system are well used here.
The extras included on this Ultimate Edition are almost identical to the earlier release with a few notable exceptions. The original disc has an isolated musical track. That has been dropped. Added are commentaries featuring Brendan Fraser, Oded Fehr, Kevin J. O'Conner and Arnold Vosloo. On the second disc are several features pertaining to The Mummy Returns, a trailer and highlights.
The Mummy is a great movie. Though I dislike the phrase, it would probably be considered a “popcorn movie”. Whatever you call it, it's a good time. The Ultimate Edition is an excellent package for those who did not buy the first release. However, for those who already own the earlier, excellent, disc, there may not be enough new here to warrant a second purchase.
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