The Mummy

Deluxe Collector's Edition

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Details At A Glance

Category Action/Horror Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - 1.78:1 16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0 
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1999 Commentary Tracks Yes, 1 - Stephen Sommers (Director) & Bob Ducsey (Editor)
Running Time 119:40 minutes Other Extras Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-Making Of: Building A Better Mummy (47:52)
Featurette: Visual & Special Effects Formation
DVD-ROM Extras: Notes, Game, Postcards, Screensavers
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Deleted Scenes (3)
Notes: Egyptology 101
Production Notes
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (78:50)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 2,4 Director Stephen Sommers

Columbia Tristar
Starring Brendan Fraser
Rachel Weisz
John Hannah
Arnold Vosloo
Jonathan Hyde
Kevin J. O'Connor
Case Transparent
RRP $39.95 Music Jerry Goldsmith

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384Kb/s)
Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking No
Subtitles English
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, a little

Plot Synopsis

    When I saw The Mummy theatrically, I was very very unimpressed. In fact, I ranked it up there with Godzilla as one of the biggest movie disappointments I had ever seen. I was all set to enjoy a really scary horror movie, but what I got instead was a poor-man's Indiana Jones. It was with some trepidation, therefore, that I sat down to review this DVD.

    The DVD experience of this movie was a complete revelation to me, and a completely different experience to the theatrical one. Instead of a cheap Indiana Jones, I experienced a genuinely very scary movie, with thrill-a-minute action and with lots of wisecracks thrown in for good measure. In short, I loved this movie on DVD. I would have to say that this is due in no small part to the much more satisfying aural experience afforded by the home theatre environment, where musical stabs were far more effective in creating shocks and little subtle surrounding effects were all that more real and frightening than they were in the cinema.

    Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo) is a high priest in ancient Egypt. He dares to loves the Pharaoh's concubine, and slays the Pharaoh in a fit of passion. For this heinous crime, he is buried alive with flesh-eating beetles. His lover commits suicide and is buried alongside, but not before Imhotep vows to return and avenge his death and reunite with his lover. So is born the curse of The Mummy.

    We fast-forward some 3,000 years. Rick O'Connell (Brendan Fraser) is an adventurer who stumbles upon the city of Hamunaptra, the burial place of Imhotep. He leads Egyptologists Evelyn (Rachel Weisz) and Jonathan (John Hannah) to the city, where they awaken the mummy and set off his curse. A comical foil to all of this action and horror is provided by Beni (Kevin J. O'Connor).

    There are some sensational special effects spread throughout this movie, including some extremely realistic and frightening Mummy effects.

Transfer Quality


    This is basically a superb transfer, with some minor caveats. It falls just short of reference quality.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer was exceptionally sharp and clear, with a tremendous amount of fine detail discernible in the picture at all times, other than the odd deliberately softly focussed shots. This is an amazingly clear transfer, but this level of sharpness does lead to a few minor problems, described below. Shadow detail is exceptional, with fine gradations revealed in the darker shots, and no low level noise apparent.

    The colours were very strongly rendered, almost to the point of oversaturation in some of the indoor scenes, however I will say that I recall this characteristic of the movie from my theatrical viewing of the movie, so it is not a transfer fault but rather a deliberate cinematographic choice on the part of the filmmakers. A lot of desert footage tended to have a very strong reddish characteristic about them which again I recall from the original theatrical presentation. Some scenes, in bright daylight, were very vibrant and brightly coloured and made an interesting contrast to the indoor scenes.

    There were no MPEG artefacts seen. Film to video artefacts consisted of some aliasing in pans over some of the very finely detailed scenes, such as early shots of the gold doors, the gold room later on, and many scenes of the modern-day Hamunaptra. This was a shame, although it only affected scenes momentarily. It was this artefact which made me mark this transfer down slightly, though the benefit of the extreme sharpness of this transfer is clearly evident at all other times. Film artefacts were rare, but the rare ones that were there were somewhat off-putting, as they tended to be relatively large scratches on the negative, and hence white in appearance rather than black.

    Subtitles are used to indicate Egyptian translations and locations. These were provided via a subtitle stream on the DVD rather than being burned into the original print, which is a much better way of providing this functionality. I felt that the location names were not on the screen for a sufficient length of time, but this is a very minor quibble.

    This disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change placed during Chapter 12, at 78:50. The layer change is well placed, coming at the end of an action sequence, and is minimally intrusive.


    This is a superb soundtrack, and is of reference quality.

    There are five audio tracks on this DVD; English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Italian Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, and an English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack. I listened to both the default English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and to the English Audio Commentary soundtrack.

    Dialogue was always very clear and very easy to understand.

    There were no audio sync problems with this disc.

    The score by Jerry Goldsmith is admirably suited to the on-screen action, with big, bold themes dominating when necessary and more subtle Middle-Eastern-style themes adding atmosphere when appropriate. Of particular note with this movie is the extremely effective use of musical stabs to accentuate the horror aspects of the on-screen action.

    The surround channels were continuously and aggressively used to support the on-screen action, but never at the expense of dialogue intelligibility. The soundfield places you directly in the middle of the action, which takes place all around you. Unlike many action movies, the surrounding effect does not disappear when the action stops, but rather continues on in a subtle fashion throughout virtually the entire movie. Hence, this soundtrack is an extremely immersive experience, and an extremely aurally exciting one as well. Top marks to the sound designers for this one, especially for the creepier noises which are extremely ominous and unsettling.

    The .1 channel was aggressively but evenly used throughout the movie to support the soundtrack. It is very well integrated into the overall soundtrack, never calling attention to itself, but clearly adding a much needed bottom end onto the more exciting sequences.


    There is an excellent selection of extras on this disc. The quality and quantity of extras leads me to declare the extras section of this DVD as of reference quality, which is a good thing considering that this DVD heralds the introduction of a higher price point for Deluxe Collector's Editions by Columbia Tristar and Universal in Region 4 - this disc carries a recommended retail price of $39.95.

Menu Animation & Audio

    An eerie audio-visual experience awaits when you view the menus, which are all 16x9 enhanced.

Featurette-Making Of: Building A Better Mummy

    This is an exceptionally good Making Of featurette, and is full of a wealth of interesting and pertinent information. Clocking in at just under 48 minutes, this is a very substantial extra.

Audio Commentary - Stephen Sommers (Director) & Bob Ducsey (Editor)

    This is an excellent commentary, with a great deal of interesting information about the making of the movie (and indeed some subtle faults that they point out). This is one of the best audio commentaries I have listened to, and is definitely well worth the time spent listening to it.

Featurette - Visual & Special Effects Formation

    This showcases 5 distinct scenes, presenting them in 4 stages of completeness, from the original plate as shot to the final composited shot to the shot as seen in the movie. A commentary by the Visual Effects Supervisor accompanies these clips. These are a fascinating look at the coming together of the visual effects process, but they would have been better presented strung together rather than as 20 separate clips. Another minor annoyance is that on completion of each clip, the menu selection returns to the same selection rather than forwarding on to the next logical selection. A third minor annoyance is that the majority of the clips are presented non-16x9 enhanced, whereas the menu to select them and the final clips are 16x9 enhanced, which meant a lot of manual switching back and forth for me.

    Having made all of these minor criticisms, I would like to reiterate that this is indeed an excellent and very interesting extra, and definitely worth a good look.

DVD-ROM Material

    This basically appears to be a copy of The Mummy web site, and features detailed Cast & Crew and Production Notes, a cute but uninspiring Macromedia Flash Mummy game, electronic Postcards and Screensavers/Icons/Wallpaper. Nothing particular inspiring and standalone owners can rest assured that they are not missing out on anything essential.

Cast & Crew Biographies

Deleted Scenes (3)

Egyptology 101

    Detailed notes about ancient Egyptian civilization including their beliefs. A reasonably interesting read.

Production Notes

Theatrical Trailer

R4 vs R1

    The Region 4 version of this DVD misses out on;     There are no substantial extras missing which would sway me to recommend one version over the other.


    The Mummy was a revelation on DVD for me after being totally unimpressed at the theatre. This is a great DVD.

    The video quality is generally magnificent, with a tremendous amount of detail revealed in this image. Unfortunately, this is very slightly marred by some resultant aliasing in a very few scenes.

    The audio quality is magnificent, and is of reference quality.

    The extras are magnificent, and are of reference quality and quantity.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna
13th December 1999
Amended 24th December 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Toshiba 2109, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer