on April 28, 2008
There was already a 2-disc "Ultimate" Edition of The Mummy back in 2001, but it's no longer available. The upcoming release of The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor has prompted Universal to release a new edition of The Mummy with the major special features from the Ultimate Edition plus a few new ones. It will be only in widescreen (the Ultimate Edition had both wide and full).
The Mummy is a peculiar movie, an Indiana Jonesish adventure originally intended as a low-budget remake of a 1932 horror film called The Mummy (also being released in a new Special Edition) that got spun in several directions before Brendan Fraser and huge special effects were settled on. Fraser plays an adventurer with the French Foreign Legion in 1920s Egypt who gets into serious trouble with, among other beings, a mummy (sort of) with terrible powers. Rachel Weisz plays the beautiful Egyptologist who both causes trouble and solves it. Fraser isn't ideally suited to a Harrison Ford-type role, his natural center of gravity tending more to the comic, but it's hard not to like him. The movie is less scary than just fun, if you don't insist on everything making sense.
Here are the new special features:
-- "An Army To Rule The World Part 1" featurette
-- "Unraveling The Legacy Of The Mummy" featurette
-- a digital copy of the movie
-- a sneak peak at The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor
These are the features taken from the Ultimate Edition:
-- three audio commentaries:
. . . director Stephen Sommers and editor Bob Ducsay
. . . star Brendan Fraser
. . . actors Oded Fehr, Kevin J. O'Connor, Arnold Vostoo
-- "Building A Better Mummy," documentary about the making of the film (49:45)
-- "Visual And Special Effects Formation," on how the special effects were done
-- "Egyptology 101," text about aspects of Egyptian history
-- "Pharaoh Lineage," text on the history of the Egyptian Pharaohs
-- comparison of the storyboards and the movie (three brief snippets)
-- photo montage
-- theatrical trailer
The sequel, The Mummy Returns, is also being released in a 2-disc Deluxe Edition, also on July 8th; it's here.
"The Mummy" receives a very nice look Blu-ray transfer for this new edition of the movie. Capturing the adventurous elements of films like "Indiana Jones" and injecting it into the basic story for the 1932 film "The Mummy", Stephen Sommers creates a terrific, enteraining film. For those interested in a synposis of the plot, I'll provide it at the end of the review because you've probably already seen this.
The Blu-ray transfer looks quite good here with bold colors that more closely recall the original theatrical presentation than the DVD. The image is crisp and while there's evidently some digital noise reduction applied, Universal hasn't completely cleaned away all the film grain which is a good thing because when that's done you actually lose sharpness and clarity (it is restored with a loss of detail via Edge Enhancement like the recent reissue of "Patton" which went overboard with digitally cleaning up the film). The best thing that Universal could have done here was to leave the grain intact and dispense with the Edge Enhancement. I suspect that the same source was used for the Blu-ray as was used for the HD-DVD edition but that the Edge Enhancement is more transparent here because of higher resolution.
What does all of that mean? The film looks extremely good but could look brilliant. Still, on the whole this looks much better than the DVD edition.
The extras are still presented in 480p (which is standard DVD definition)so be aware those haven't been updated. However, Universal has made this a U-Control disc where you can customize the extras as you watch the film (something developed for and carried over from HD-DVD). You do get the ability to watch the visual commentary/extras while watching the film. All of the original extras from the DVD have been ported over for this edition. All of the extras and the film are on the single disc edition here (unlike the DVD which has most of the extras on a second disc).
Followed by the equally entertaining (and much bigger production of) "The Mummy Returns" and a fun entertaining (if lesser)spin-off film "The Scorpion King", "The Mummy" is worth picking up again even if you have the original DVD edition. Highly recommended.
Oh, and the plot? A group of explorers led by Evelyn (Rachel Weisz)and Rick (Brendan Fraiser)rush to find the riches of an Egyptian tomb and end up reviving Im-Ho-Tep (Arnold Vosloo)an Egyptian High Priest buried alive for his part in a conspiracy to kill the Pharoah. Brought back by the Egyptian Book of the Dead, Im-Ho-Tep takes revenge on those who plundered his tomb and seeks the Book of the Dead to bring back his beloved princess who helped him kill the Pharoah.
It is a great popcorn flick.
on May 3, 2000
When it comes to movie genres, horror is in my top five,probably after science fiction. However, the remake of the Mummy isnot a horror in the traditional sense. Most people associate modern horror with gore-laden special effects, forgetting that true fear comes from the unknown and urgency developed from carefully built up suspense. The 1999 remake of the Mummy isn't a horror film, unlike perhaps the Sixth Sense-which I wouldn't show my nieces or nephews, but the Mummy is just good clean fun. We are treated to a great ensemble of actors, breath taking sets and funky special effects, thanks to Industrial Light and Magic. The film also doesn't take itself at all seriously, making you laugh just as surely as you will thrill to the action sequences.
The film opens with a stunning view of Thebes-city of the Seti the First where we see the sphinx under construction (okay, so they missed by a few hundred miles on that one!). Anck-su-namun, the Pharaoh's untouchable mistress is continuing her affair with Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo)-a priest of probably Anubis. Getting caught in the act by Seti, they kill him just as the Medjai (who were actually the Egyptian police force) break down the doors. Anck-su-namun then kills herself as Imhotep escapes after promising to resurrect her. He and his priests steal Anck-su-namun's body and take it to Hamunaptra where he attempts to do that, but all is lost when the Medjai storm the sarneche where her body was being prepared. Imhotep is mummified alive for his crimes-cursed to spend an eternity undead locked within a sarcophagus, being eaten by nasty little scarab beetles.
Brendan Fraser stars as Rick O'Connell, a down on his luck Legionaire who led his garrison to the legendary city of Hamunaptra-the city of the dead in 1923 (Note: the city didn't really exist and is based possibly on the Necropolis of Egypt). They find the city, oh yes, but they also find hundreds a Tuareg warriors bent on killing everyone to prevent them from find the evil that dwells beneath the sand. O'Connell escapes after being chased too close to the statue of Anubis where Imhotep is buried and a small sand storm that whips up around the statue that frightens off his attackers, allowing O'Connell to escape with his life. The next time we see him it's three years later and he's about to be hanged for having a very good time.
It is in Cairo where we meet Evelyn Carnahan (Rachel Weisz), a beautiful and befuddled librarian desperate to prove herself an archaeologist to the sexist old-boy network in England. Rachel delivers a beautiful performance of the slightly nerdy expert of Egyptology. We also meet her lush brother, Jonathan Carnahan (John Hannah), who has stolen a puzzle box key from O'Connell that has a map to the fabled city of Hamunaptra. The two rush to find Rick after Evelyn's boss `accidentally' burns the map in a candle flame. They find him at the Cairo Prison where Evelyn must bargain with sleazy warden for O'Connell's life by promising him 25% of the riches they find in the fabled city.
From there the adventure of a life time comes to life as O'Connell reluctantly agrees to lead Evelyn and her brother, and the sleazy warden, across the desert sands to the ancient city. They also have a run in with the `bloody Americans', who are out to plunder Hamunaptra's riches, and the two groups must work together in order to survive-first by an attack by the Medjai, then after finding the Book of the Dead, Evelyn incants a spell that kind of...sort of...brings Imhotep back to life, whose sarcophagus they found earlier that day. The Americans steal Anck-su-namun's canopic jars-the vessels that stored her organs after they were removed. As the mummy comes back to life, it becomes a race to escape back to Cairo, followed by Imhotep who begins to kill the American thieves one at a time for their crime, using their life essence to rejuvenate himself in the process. Imhotep also develops a crush on Evelyn, who he plans to sacrifice so that Anck-su-namun many live again.
The Mummy, start to finish, is a wild romp that doesn't take itself too seriously. Thanks mostly to the interplay between the main characters who play off each other magically. It doesn't set out solely to scare, but does offer up some genuinely creepy moments. With exemplary production values-be they sets, effects or costumes, The Mummy delivers heaps of action, laughs and adventure of a type akin to Raiders of the Lost Ark, a fine pedigree to follow. But the Mummy also harkens back to a time when movies were made with a certain eye to quality-there is nothing in the film that made me lose my suspension of disbelief, because it is a solidly written yarn. It has unforgettable moments, be it O'Connell's back stabbing friend Beni as he runs through a collection of holy symbols and prayers in attempt to stave off the advancing mummy. Or Rick and Evelyn's budding romance and the interplay that captures these pleasantly goofy characters wonderfully.
The Mummy stands out as my favorite action film of 1999-beating out the Phantom Menace and the Matrix by a fair margin. The other bit of good news, besides this gem of a movie, is that they are making a sequel, and one can only hope that it is every bit as good as the first. This is an excellent film and can easily take a place next to some of the best action films of all time-like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Die Hard, The Terminator, Big Trouble in Little China, and Aliens. It delivers at every turn-excitement, adventure, a few scares, and romance. Great fun and I highly recommend the letter boxed version over the pan-and-scan so that viewers can see everything. END
on December 17, 1999
No doubt about it, this is a sharp flick. All the ingredients come together to make this a very entertaining film. Naturally there's plenty of action which takes place against some great sets and is enhanced by impressive special effects. But there's also a good deal of suspense (as you would expect in a Mummy movie), and plenty of humourous one-liners as well.
It's sort of like a '90s version of Indiana Jones and will probably be considered just as much a classic in years to come.
on April 11, 2012
I bought the Blu-Ray edition of "The Mummy" about a year and a half ago, and it is a great disc!
I had already owned a VHS copy of the film and the 2-Disc Ultimate Edition DVD. The Blu-Ray release essentially includes MOST of the features from the 2-Disc DVD (Although I think some of the text-based special features may have been omitted, but I'm not 100% on that, just don't remember seeing them in the menu), plus a few new featurettes, mainly advertisments for the third film.
The picture quality is very nice. The image is a lot sharper, and some of the effects look more detailed and lifelike. (Particularly the opening shot of the Sphinx being built) In addition, the desert photography (mainly the gorgeous dunes) benefit dramatically from the sharper image and more vibrant colors. It honestly looked better to me on this Blu-Ray than I remember it looking in the theater. Definitely worth the upgrade to Blu-Ray! Looks a LOT better than the DVD did.
Sound is also great, and sounds a little bit clearer and sharper than the DVD release.
The film itself is also great fun! A fun adventure with elements of romance and a touch of horror!
Worth buying for fans who are upgrading the DVD collection, or who haven't seen it yet!
on March 13, 2001
"The Mummy" is one of those unique movies that really delivers in all fields. It's a rip-roaring adventure in the vein of the Indianna Jones films, while incorporating chills and humor into its story as well. It has all the basics of the 1932 original version of the movie, but this version is much peppier, much more entertaining, and takes on both a serious and a comedic approach. This, combined with the use of cutting-edge special effects and a knockout cast of actors, make the movie a prime example of typical summer fun that turns into a lot more than just that.
Borrowing the plot of the old movie, the high priest Imhotep is condemned to forever be cursed for having a torrid love affair with the Pharaoh's mistress, Anck-Su-Namun. He is given a ritual burial, which involves being buried alive in a coffin full of flesh-eating scarabs. This gives the movie a chance to show itself off as fashionable horror, not going into the extremely graphic details while giving us slight chills in the spine. This will carry on throughout the rest of the film, which is one of its better aspects.
Moving ahead in the film to the 1930's, Rick O'Connell, a roughneck who also has his charms, crosses paths with librarian Evelyn Carnahan and her gold-digging brother Jonathon, who has a map that leads to the ancient city of Hamunaptra. O'Connell agrees to take them there, and soon, it becomes a race of who will get there first to retrieve the treasure rumored to be hidden there. Upon investigating the interiors of the city, they come across a book, and soon they unleash Imhotep and all of his curses on the world. This is the point at which the movie becomes a race against time to stop the mummy before he completes the steps to becoming whole again.
The movie has a lot going for it, and the fact that it realizes its status as an action adventure/romance is what keeps it going. The movie never really stops moving; there are certain scenes that move a bit slower to allow for character development and such, but this movie is mostly fast-paced action and thrills, delivering a tense and throttling experience which will make you cheer and smile. When the plagues begin descending upon the land, our heroes must move even faster to stop the curse, and as they do, so does the movie.
The movie is undeniably fun. There is a lot of comic relief thrown into the mix of the plot, and is a combination of one-liners from characters as well as goofy body language and actions which will have you rolling with laughter. The character of Beni is the centerpiece for the comic relief; he is the turncoat who deserts the Americans to aide Imhotep in his search for the items he needs to regenerate. He is cumbersome and gangly, and the quiver in his voice is a riot. one scene in particular involves Beni pulling out a collection of sacred symbols and chanting foreign verses to try and ward of the mummy. Comic genius!
There are a lot of special effects employed for this film, and they do well in telling the story where regular camera shots could not. The most stunning of these effects is the ongoing regeneration of the mummy, who goes from moldy, rotting corpse to partial skin and muscles, slowing becoming whole. The many layers of his body are seen in meticulous detail, each movement matched to the specific body part. These effects are seamless, and work very well in this film. Most of the other effects involve the plagues brought down by Imhotep, which include immense sandstorms and flocks of scarabs. The scarabs are the most believable effect here, and through animation, the filmmakers are able to create thousands of them, creating the illusion that danger comes in numbers.
There is also some moments that border on the extreme, but not entirely, and the movie is admirable in the way that it does not cross that line. The regeneration sequences show Imhotep's form as being dried out instead of wet and gooey, which makes us go "Ew" without making us vomit. As Imhotep takes his victims one by one, the filmmakers show this by using lots of sound effects and creating the illusion instead of showing us the actual event. All we see are the leftovers, which, like Imhotep, are dry and decrepit.
The cast employed for the movie is remarkable, and gives us one of the best performances for a film of this genre ever. Brendan Fraser plays Rick O'Connell, and he is the ideal embodiment of an action hero. He's not so much a young Indianna Jones as he is his own action figure, and his character becomes something for other action heroes to be modeled after. Rachel Weisz is sweet and humorous as the lovely Evelyn, and she also makes a remarkable damsel in distress as well. She has guts, which is wonderfully portrayed in her acting ability and charisma. Arnold Vosloo plays the evil Imhotep, the perfect person for the role. He makes us believe in the fact that the mummy is not really evil; he is only doing what he was destined to do by reviving his long-lost love. Two of the supporting roles, John Hannah as Jonathon, Evelyn's brother, and Kevin J. O'Conner as Beni, do a masterful job of adding comedy and liveliness to the story,
As a serious horror film, "The Mummy" would not be as good. It would seem more confused and muddled. It's light-heartedness and comedy make it something better, giving us a healthy, even balance of laughs, thrills and chills. It's a movie for young and old alike, and becomes an interesting spin on the original. It gives the old story a fresh look while keeping the old scare tactics used before. It's just plain fun!
on April 26, 2001
Boy, was I surprised when I saw this sitting on store shelves. The first Mummy DVD was chock full of extras, but this is awesome. I was wondering if it was worth putting down ... extra ...($$) for it, so trust me when I say that this disc is worth owning for every possible reason. New Audio Commentaries by Brendan Fraser,and Oded Fehr(the leader of the magi), Kevin J. O'Connor(Benny), and Arnold Vosloo( the man himself, The Mummy). The Making of The Mummy. Egyptology 101. Deleted Scenes, Visual and Special Effects, Photograph Montage, Pharoh Lineage, and you get the traler for, not only The Mummy, but The Mummy Returns as well.Plus, an insiders look at The Making of the Mummy Returns. If you have a DVD-Rom drive you can watch a live webcast premier of The Mummy Returns, Script to Screen translations, Screen Savers, and a demo for The Mummy PC Game. So, all and all it is worth every penny. the new commentaries are great and now I can't wait to see The Mummy Returns. Did I mention that the movie itself is great too. Lots of good action scenes, great acting, terrific story, sweet visual effects, and a long run-time(2 hours 5 minutes) make this all the more worth buying. If you own the original Mummy DVD, buy this disc, If you don't own that one, buy this disc. With all it's got going for it, this is the edition to own.
on March 25, 2000
I didn't care for the film when I first saw it in the theater, but I have to admit I was with friends who were vocally underwhelmed by it and in a multiplex cinema where sound from another film was very intrusive. Since seeing it on full screen, I have purchased the DVD and have to admit the picture definitely grows on a person. The "ouch" of the obvious historical goofs (If the pyramids--which are on the Giza plateau near Cairo--can be seen from Thebes about 500 miles south, it must have been one hell of a clear day! ) gives way to the supreme satisfaction of searching them all out! There is an entire web site just dedicated to the Mummy's historical inaccuracies, so one has to know some very bright people were as entertained as I by this movie. In fact if I were doing the sequel, I'd probably include a few, letting it be well known, just to keep the history buffs entertained. My chief disappointment in the film is that the reason for Imhotep's passion for Ankhesenamon is not really very clear. I realize she looks better than most of us with her clothing painted on her body, but I rather doubt that beauty alone would be sufficient to account for the priest's near obsession with the lady. I couldn't help wondering what she has that the rest of us don't, when Imhotep's only concern was to spend eternity with her. I suspect if she's just beautiful, the guy could be designing his own peculiar brand of hell! Actually, with what I know of history and with the information I received from the film, I came up with my own very satisfactory solution. Perhaps Mr. Sommers will enlarge on the history of the couple in the next film. Mr. Frasier's hero was very energetic and engaging. One could hardly avoid comparing his efforts to keep his own lady alive to Imhotep's plight. In many ways the two characters are much alike, which makes their ultimate contest that much more poignant. Ms Weis was delightfully dizzy, reminding me that to be very bright is not necessarily to be very "together." Mr Vosloo's Imhotep is quite good. Over and over I am amazed by the gentleman's capacity to almost physically remake himself. His ability to imply history for his characters is notable, as is his ability to convey meaning through body language and facial expression. Probably one of the best characters however, is Benny, O'Connell's erswhile "friend." His capacity for self-preservation and self-advancement is delightful. Perhaps he represents just a little bit of all of us when he runs for cover in the face of adversity. .
on May 8, 2001
For the Ultimate DVD of "THE MUMMY". This offering is much expanded from the previous DVD release. It offers the film in regular and widescreen versions, and in addition to the commentary from writer/director Steven Sommers and editor Bob Duscay that was included in the previous release, it also contains two additional commentaries, one from star Brendan Fraser, and one that includes Oded Fehr, Arnold Vosloo, And Kevin J. O'Connor. To hear that many separate versions of what went on during filming is marvelous! We also get deleted scenes, documentaries, previews of the sequel, trailers, and a gorgeous photo montage on two DVDs that encompass just about everything you could possibly want to know about mummies and movies. And at the heart of it all? A terrific film that never fails to make me jump, laugh, gasp, and feel good. Of course, Brendan Fraser is fabulous, but the performances of the supporting cast are also amazing, particularly John Hannah in the uncharacteristic role of a comic Englishman. Worth having in your collection.
on December 8, 1999
What a great movie this is.I enjoyed every second(I'm sure you will).
*The movie is a visual masterpiece.The visual and sound FX are breath-taking.
*Althouhg it's a sci-fi movie,it actualy has a plot!
*Brendan Fraser was terrific.I never though he could be so.
*Rachel Weisz was terrific too.Real eye candy.
*Very beautiful desert settings.
*Fast and intense camera movements.
*A super cool villain.
*Definitely the hottest and coolest extras you will ever find.In fact,the extras are enough reason to buy this DVD.
*Although Stephen Sommers did a better job than any other director in trying to authenticate the Arabs,they weren't 100%.There were some Lebanese accents in Egypt,and a lot of the language isn't clear enough.
*Some overacting in jokes,namely Rachel Weisz's brother(in the movie).
*Arabs are either:degenerate scum(the prison warden),low wiesels(that mummy's sidekick),killers and a lot of other negativities.