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Mummy, The (1999) Print E-mail
Friday, 01 August 2008
Image“The Mummy” is a basic remake of the Karl Freund 1932 film of the same title, which starred Boris Karloff as Im-ho-tep.  This time around, Stephen Sommers writes and directs this blockbuster action/adventure.  Sommers’ experience previous to “The Mummy” had been limited, comprising mainly of 1994’s “The Jungle Book” remake and 1993’s “The Adventures of Huck Finn”.  And despite some pivotal inventions in the world of filmmaking with “The Mummy”, Stephen Sommers has not gone on to be a top Hollywood director.

Sommers’ in development project is the highly anticipated, live-action G.I Joe film.  Die hard fans of the 1980s cartoon could be in for a treat if Sommers brings some of his technological visions that were present in “The Mummy” to the film.

“The Mummy” is usually a forgotten film when asked to think of the most pivotal visual effects sequences and their impact on today’s films.  However, this film has a number of visual effect inventions that surprisingly hold up well nearly 10 years later.  The morphing sand effects have been used throughout Hollywood in recent years, including “Spider-Man 3.”

This adaptation of “The Mummy” brings Blockbuster stars and effects to the screen and a new generation of viewers.  Brendan Fraser (Encino Man, Bedazzled) stars as the Indiana Jones-like treasure hunter, Rick O’Connell.  Fraser was able to bring the slight humor in the script to life on the screen.  Rachel Weisz (Chain Reaction, Constantine) brings strength and beauty to the character of Evelyn (Evie) Carnahan.  Evie is a woman in the 1920s that struggles with chuvanism.  Longing to be a Bembridge Scholar, but being rejected for being a woman, Evie becomes a librarian in Egypt.  It is there that her brother, Jonathan (John Hannah) shows up with a map to the lost city of the dead, Hamunaptra.
Evie and her brother rescue Rick from the gallows with the promise that he show them the way to Hamunaptra.  The O’Connell-Caranhan time must race against the American team to reach the lost city first.  The two teams begin their archaeological dig at the site.  While the American team finds the curse of the Imhotep buried at the base of a statue, Evie and Rick find Imhotep himself, buried far underneath the statue.  Using the Book of the Dead, Evie awakens Imhotep, the bringer of the death and the Ten Plagues of Egypt.

Imhotep, bound by sacred law, must find the team that opened the chest and assimilate their bodies to regenerate.  In doing so he finds his sacrifice to bring back his love, Anck-su-namnun back from the dead.  His sacrifice is none other than Evie.  After capturing Evie, Imhotep travels back to Hamunaptra to perform the ritual.  Rick and two accomplices follow him there where the ultimate showdown begins.

The video quality of this Blu-ray is much the same as the HD DVD release.  The transfer was made from the same film print.  Minor dust appears randomly through the film as well as a few very obvious film scratches.  I was rather surprised these scratches were not repaired.  The image retains accurate and vibrant colors and fleshtones.  Details are sharp for the most part.  With the extensive amount of the CGI that this film has, sometimes the image flattens out.  Thankfully though, there is no pixel breakup or macroblocking.  Black levels are decent, but not impressive.  Part of this stems from the age of the transfer and the CGI effects.

The audio quality is vastly improved on this Blu-ray edition.  The HD DVD sported a Dolby Digital audio track, whereas this Blu-ray has been upgraded to a DTS-HD Master 5.1 audio track.  The dynamics are extremely well represented.  The high frequencies are not clipped as with previous releases.  Instead there is plenty of breathing room.  The surrounds are utilized well.  However, they do suffer a form a little lack of clarity.  The surround channel effects are often just front channel sounds that have had a high frequency-cut and moved to the rear.  The dialogue also has a few bouts of the disappearance, especially toward the end of the film.  You may find yourself reaching for the volume control.

Through all the different DVD releases of this film it is hard to keep track of the supplemental features that have been released in the past.  However, this disc does contain all the special features that were present on the HD DVD release.  However, all the footage is still only present in 480p.

The deleted scenes for this film are uneventful and don’t reveal much, nor are they extensive.  There are three feature commentary tracks that are sure to enlighten true fans of the film.  The first track is by director/writer Stephen Sommers and his editor Bob Ducsay.  The second commentary is by actor Brendan Fraser.  The final commentary is by a group of actors, Oded Fehr, Kevin J. O’Connor and Arnold Vosloo.  “Building a Better Mummy” is a documentary on the CGI of the film, and a lengthy one at that, coming in at about 50 minutes.  Other documentaries include, “An Army to Rule the World, Part 1” and “Unraveling the Legacy of ‘The Mummy’”.  Lastly there are some graphical interpretations of the movie scenes, “Visual and Special Effects Formation”, Storyboards to Final Film Comparison, and a Photograph Montage.  There is also a sneak peak of the third Mummy film, “Tomb of the Dragon Emperor”.  Exclusive to this HD version of the film are Universal’s U-Control and My Scenes.  The U-Control function requires Profile 1.1 or higher players and allows for a picture-in-picture function.

Overall, “The Mummy” is an entertaining blockbuster film adaptation with exceptional performances by Fraser and Weisz.  The visual effects hold up well on the Blu-ray format and the transfer in general is good.  You will not be disappointed in this release.  This is a recommended film for your collection

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