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THE MUMMY: DELUXE EDITION
Blu-ray Edition

Film review by Gordon Justesen
Technical specs by Michael Jacobson

Stars: Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, Arnold Vosloo, Kevin J. O’Connor, Jonathan Hyde
Director: Stephen Sommers
Audio: DTS HD
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Studio: Universal
Features: See Review
Length: 125 Minutes
Release Date: July 22, 2008

“Is it dangerous?”

“Well, you probably won’t live through it.”

“By Jove, do you really think so?!”

Film ***1/2

Had it not been for the fact that Star Wars: Episode I was just a few weeks away its release, The Mummy may have not resulted in the huge box office hit that it was. The movie, which arrived in theaters just a few weeks prior to The Phantom Menace, gave moviegoers an eye-popping extravaganza to feast off of until Star Wars invaded the world again. I raced over to the multiplex on its opening night, and was absolutely amazed. 

The Mummy is an outrageous and over-the-top triumph of adventure moviemaking and special effects, with a slight touch of a B-movie feel. Watching it, I was instantly reminded of the days of the Saturday Matinee serials of yesteryear, as well as the Indiana Jones movies. The Mummy itself is a remake of the 1932 Boris Karloff classic of the same name, but for me the new version should be credited as a solid attempt to bring back the entertainment style of the Saturday Matinee adventures. The plot of the movie is sort of corny to the point that numerous lines of dialogue come off as incredibly silly, but it never takes itself seriously, and there is so much energy, never a dull moment, and a lot of outrageously funny moments.

Set in Egypt in 1923, the movie follows a group of fortune seekers who journey to find immense treasure in the lost city of Hamunaptra, aka The City of the Dead, which is also rumored to be possessing a very deadly force, but of course that’s not going to stop our heroes from getting some serious loot, now is it? The hunt is lead by Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser, in a show-stealing performance), a disgruntled soldier of the French legionnaire, who’s assisted by the beautiful but clumsy Evelyn (Rachel Weisz), and her wimp of a brother, Jonathan (John Hannah).

Once in the lost city, the hunters do find what they were looking for, but they also make a big mistake in unintentionally awakening the mummified spirit of Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo), who’s been dead for 3,000 years. The mummy, once re-awaken, is nothing less of a pure, rotting corpse, but then he grows back his human form after killing so many victims and devouring numerous organs, after which he releases from his mouth what appears to be the biggest swarm of flies ever composed; at least that what it looks like, hehe. Imhotep intends to conclude a ritual where he will attempt to reawaken the woman who was the love of his life, and his affair with her was also the reason for his execution.

Once the mummy is resurrected, the rest of the movie develops into a nonstop thrill ride, laced with some truly state-of-the-art, special effects. Director Stephen Sommers, who also directed Deep Rising, another fantastic creature movie, seems destined for a career of making exciting movies of this form. Sommers brings the best approach to an adventure, which is to make a big special effects or action sequence as big as the previous one. There are many action scenes in The Mummy, all of which add up to such an extreme amount of eye candy, that it’ll probably make you somewhat dizzy afterwards. Credit should also go towards the leads in the cast, especially Brendan Fraser, who prior to this was mostly known for playing either nice guys or likeable goofballs. Fraser’s Rick O’Connell is in the true adventure hero form, and is loaded with a terrifically sharp, humorous wit.

Okay, so it’s not a movie that will make you think or teach you anything important, except maybe how to escape a collapsing ancient tomb in just under two minutes. The Mummy is a jaw-dropping, superbly crafted piece of entertainment, knockout special effects, and winning humor. A roller coaster ride that you don’t have to leave the house for.

Video ****

What was once already great gets even better in high definition.  The Mummy, with all its action and digital effects, looks sharper and more detailed than ever in Blu-ray.  From the dark tomb interiors to the bright sandy deserts to the classic interiors, every shot renders with incredible clarity and contrast, and make for a cornucopia of visual delights.

Audio ****

Wait til you kick in the DTS HD soundtrack...you'll know what this format is capable of very quickly.  Deep bass rumblings, explosive dynamic range, solid music and giant set pieces will keep you firmly immersed in the audio, with plenty of subwoofer and crossover effects.  Superbly done.

Features ****

Blu-ray offers some exclusive features, including "U-Control" which allows you to enjoy interactive features while watching the movie, as well as picture in picture cast and crew interviews and behind-the-scenes footage that are just a click away.

There are three separate commentary tracks, including one from Brendan Fraser, which gets my vote for best commentary track of the year. Fraser is consistently funny in the way he pokes fun at numerous parts in the movie, and even at himself. I was howling so many times at his comments, that it was actually difficult to detect when he wasn’t cracking jokes. The other two commentaries are supplied by co-stars Arnold Vosloo, Kevin J. O’Connor, and Oded Fehr on one track, and director Stephen Sommers and editor Bob Ducsay on the other track. Also included is the making-of documentary “Building a Better Mummy”, as well as an in-depth look some Egyptian artifacts in a segment titled “Egyptology 101”.

There is also a deleted scenes compilation, a look into the visual and special effects, storyboard and film comparisons, a photograph montage, and a special advanced look into the making of The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.

Summary:

The Mummy is as big and entertaining as adventure movies go. If you don’t take it too seriously, you’ll enjoy even more, as is the custom to movie of B-movie quality.

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