The Mummy/The Mummy Returns Deluxe Edition

Cover Art and Menu: 6/10
The covers of each movie are right in line with big action flicks. I do prefer the one for The Mummy because it’s got the cool sand face thing instead of the stars of the movie. They are Blu-Ray style with the blue borders top and bottom, but they do have the added slip covers. I still don’t get the whole slip cover idea. I say leave it off and lower the price.

The menus are the now standard Blu-Ray (boy’o’ boy I hate typing Blu-Ray, it’s a pain in the arse with its caps and dash…ugh!!) that slide in and out comfortably, but without much personality.

Features: 9/10
There are many many features on these two double disc Blu-Ray DVD’s, so be prepared for a long long night if you plan to watch, listen, and experience them all.

The Mummy Features

  • U-Control Picture In Picture (Blu-Ray Exclusive) – I don’t like the U-Control style of features, but if you are willing to put in the time and patience you will find several picture in picture bits and pieces throughout the movie that include things like behind the scenes and story board drawings.
  • Deleted Scenes – The Mummy is long enough, so these deleted scenes are better left out for the DVD extras.
  • Feature Commentaries – The Mummy has 4 different commentaries, which means you are seriously committing to lots of Mummy viewing. The one with just Brendon Fraser is cool, but a little bit weird to have just one guy talking about a movie alone.
  • Sneak Peek At The Mummy Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor – Trailer combined with some promo material.
  • Visual & Special Effects Formation – Some classic extras from back in the day that focus on the technology behind the then cutting edge movie making.
  • An Army To Rule The World Part 1 – More making of materials that cover the CGI and in-camera techniques used to make up the mummy army.
  • Unraveling The Legacy Of The Mummy – This is a cool look back at the original mummy movies from the 30’s. It’s on both discs, so be ware that they are doubling up on the extras:)
  • Building A Better Mummy – More CGI coverage.
  • Storyboard To Final Film Comparison – Side by side comparison of what the original vision of the movie was compared to the final cut.
  • Photograph Montage – Photos…we all know what those are. At least on Blu-Ray you can flick through very quickly.

The Mummy Returns Features

  • U-Control Picture In Picture (Blu-Ray Exclusive) – More U-Control features that you can’t access on any other part of the be prepared to watch the whole movie again because some picture in pictures are few and far between.
  • Outtakes – Ugh, not a feature people. This is quickly becoming filler for DVD’s.
  • Feature Commentary – This disc has less commentaries than The Mummy, but by now you might have had enough time with the mummy folks anyway:)
  • Sneak Peek At The Mummy Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor – Repeat extra from the first movie.
  • An Army To Rule The World Part 2 – More CGI background about the armies our heroes battle.
  • Unraveling The Legacy Of The Mummy – Repeat extra from the other movie.
  • Visual & Special Effects Formation – I’m not sure how many times I can say it, but this is more behind the scenes of the CGI and other techniques.
  • An Exclusive Conversation With The Rock – Discussion with Dwayne, the man behind the Scorpion King.
  • Spotlight On Location The Making Of The Mummy Returns – Talking heads and love fest from the cast and crew.
  • Storyboard To Final Film Comparison – Same as the other movie, but for this movie…you know what I mean.
  • Live “Forever May Not Be long Enough” Music Video – Ugh, not a feature..just a lame music video.

The Movie: 7/10
A true love story. That’s what The Mummy and The Mummy Returns are at heart. You could say there is some action, some adventure, mummies, iffy Egyptian mythology, cinematic interpretation of world history, and lots of cheeky one-liners all tossed in there too, just for fun. I didn’t really like these movies the first time I watched them. I wasn’t looking forward to seeing them again, hey, I’m being honest. This time I had more fun and discovered that the love story between the lead characters is the  of the heart whole shebang!

The action, adventure, faux history, it’s a lot more fun than I remember. I checked my critical eye and ear and brain at the door of our home theater and relaxed. That makes these Mummy movies a lot more enjoyable.

We meet our hero and heroine in precarious situations. It’s all a throwback to the action flicks of the 30’s and 40’s so we aren’t talking deep characters or complicated plots here folks. Rachael Weiss plays Evelyn, a librarian with a touch of adventure in her soul. Brandon Fraser plays Rick O’Connell, a sort of anti-hero kind of guy. Well, he starts out being rough and tumble, but quickly he becomes the noble type. Remember, I checked my critical brain at the door, so this character being a bit flimsy can’t bother me….well, not too much.

I’ll say that I’m not a fan of Rachael Weisz, but she’s got a touch of funniness that works for these movies. I wasn’t a fan of Fraser either, but miraculously I was turned around. I know, it’s weird. I’m not saying he’s moved up to my favorites list, but he’s pretty fun to watch, and has a certain sarcasm that’s not irritating. Not a rave review, but let’s just say I won’t avoid his movies from now on. 🙂

So, how did I like each movie? The Mummy is cheeky and has a lot of action from about 2/3 of the way in to the story. I like the build up and introduction to the characters. I know it’s a very simple kind of flick, with everything explained for you, but that’s fine when that’s what you expect. The story is interesting enough, if not a bit overly dramatic for such a tongue and cheek movie.

The Mummy Returns introduces the son of the O’Connell’s who is a good addition to the mix. The action starts sooner and the drama is a tiny bit deeper. This story takes us on more of an adventure with air crafts, jungles, skeletal pigmies, and more. It’s more of a wild ride and it has more of the corny one-liners, but overall I like Returns a few degrees more than The Mummy.

You will find the same kind of bad guys and minions that come with most of these types of movies, (i.e. Indiana Jones, James Bond, etc.) They make the stories more interesting even if they are not as sinister as I would want them to be.

My main complaint with these movies is that they need to be either really funny and over the top crazy, or more serious and bloody. I’m not into the middle ground where they do some creepy images and scary ideas, but then slap the corny stuff on top. I’ll have to keep looking for my perfect adventure flick.

Overall I enjoyed both movies a lot more than I thought I would a second time. I recommend them for a long Saturday night with the kids, popcorn, and snacks. They have their place in the movie watching world, and that’s it. Fun fun fun.

Video & Audio: (By Ascully) 9/10
As I said in the Podcast this week, The Mummy was one of my least favorite movies at the cinema in the last 10 years. But after seeing it on Blu-Ray this week in our own home theatre I have completely changed my mind on the experience. This section isn’t about my opinion of the movie, however, it’s about the quality of the audio/video.

The Mummy & The Mummy Returns comes on Blu-Ray disc in superb BD50 Deluxe Editions. The movies are almost 10 years old and as far as I am concerned they look better in the Blu-Ray release than they did at the cinema all those years ago.

Universal have chosen the DTS-HD master audio codec, which to me always sounds better than the Dolby Digital equivalent. The bass is low and rich while the highs are high and powerful, just as it should sound. It’s everything you could ask for and more from a action soundtrack. If you need a awesome demo sequence to test your home theatre you need look no further than the opening sequence to The Mummy Returns. Thousands of soldiers line up with the Scorpion King to do battle with the army of the dead. As the two rush towards each other the audio is almost overwhelming as you get swept up in the heat of the battle.

This is going to be a showoff piece in sound and picture for me for some time to come. I didn’t remember it sounding so good in the theater (and in our local theater it probably didn’t) which is a testament to the new HD format.

Overall I still don’t love these movies as much as I love other action adventures like Indy or Star Wars, but they are a lot of fun if not a bit cheesy in parts, but in terms of audio/video quality they are hard to beat.

Value: 7/10
I did like these movies better a second time around, but I still don’t have a desire to own them. I say rent them and enjoy the extra cash. If you are going to buy them, do it before the new Mummy movie comes out and you get a free ticket to see it. That helps with the value, but still, I won’t want to revisit the Mummy’s anytime soon so there’s no reason for me to shell out the Blu-Ray cash. The extras are pretty substantial, so that might bump up the value for some people, then again, renting them gets you all the extras just the same.

Overall Score 7/10