Mummy, The: Deluxe Collector's Edition (Remastered) (1999)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Sell-Through Release Status Unknown

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Stephen Sommers (Director) & Bob Ducsay (Editor)
Audio Commentary-Brendan Fraser (Actor)
Deleted Scenes-Visual & Special Effects Formation
Featurette-Visual and Special Effects (5 x 4)
Storyboard Comparisons-3
Gallery-Photograph Montage
Theatrical Trailer-Egyptology 101
dts Trailer-Piano
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 119:40 (Case: 118)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (59:21) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Stephen Sommers
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Brendan Fraser
Rachel Weisz
John Hannah
Arnold Vosloo
Jonathan Hyde
Kevin J. O'Connor
Case ?
RPI $36.95 Music Jerry Goldsmith


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Danish
Dutch
Finnish
Norwegian
Swedish
Icelandic
Hebrew
English Audio Commentary
Danish Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
Finnish Audio Commentary
Norwegian Audio Commentary
Swedish Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
Danish Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
Finnish Audio Commentary
Norwegian Audio Commentary
Swedish Audio Commentary
English Titling
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The Mummy, from director Stephen Sommers (Deep Rising), is in some ways a remake of earlier versions of similar films, especially the original 1932 film. Of course, the special effects in this new film are somewhat better!  Seriously though, the film does draw on elements from those early films. This 1999 release is a film of a much larger scale, both visually and story-wise, and brings in many elements from comparatively more recent films such as the Raiders trilogy.

    Basically, the film starts off with Imhotep, played by South African actor Arnold Vosloo (1492, Darkman II), a priest in ancient Egypt who dares to fall in love with Anck su Namun, one of the wives of the Pharaoh. The two of them conspire to murder the Pharaoh and are then caught. Imhotep is then buried alive in Hamunaptra to be eaten by flesh-eating scarab beetles.

    His lover, Anck su Namun is also buried nearby.

    The bulk of the film actually takes place around 3000 years later, in the Egypt of the early 20th century. We are introduced to adventurer and explorer Rick O'Connell, played by Brendan Fraser (Encino Man, George of the Jungle). We also meet the lovely researcher Evelyn (Rachel Weisz - Chain Reaction) and her bumbling and greedy brother Jonathon, played by Scottish actor John Hannah (Sliding Doors, Four Weddings and a Funeral).

    The main story is basically the battle between these few 'good guys' versus the resurrected Imhotep with his legion of equally reanimated mummies. Of course, along the way there's the requisite romance building up between Rick and Evelyn, as well as plenty of intentionally light moments that combine to make this film an enjoyable action romp that's pretty well made and offers reasonable performances from the cast (within the context of the genre).

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    In some ways I was a little disappointed with the quality of the video transfer on this DVD. I remember being very impressed with previous releases but perhaps other DVDs that I've watched since then have impressed me more. There are also more artefacts present in this transfer than I seem to recall in previous versions. Perhaps this was taken from a different master to the previous releases, although I don't understand why that would be necessary.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    It is a sharp transfer throughout, except for a noticeably soft focus image at 56:12. Shadow detail (and there is plenty of shadow) is good throughout as expected for a fairly recent big-budget movie.

    However, the inherent sharpness may have given rise to a great amount of aliasing. Some particularly bad examples of this occur at 8:42 with the brick wall pattern, the gold doors and other gold surfaces, the desert scenes at 11:26 and the turning water wheels at 18:30.

    More disturbing are the fine vertical lines that run briefly from top to bottom of the frame at 6:58 and again at 8:39. I certainly don't remember seeing these in earlier releases. Likewise for the four dark spots and smearing that appears on-screen for about 8 seconds at 53:58.

    There is also slight grain visible in some of the bright sky shots, especially at 86:33.

    There are some small film artefacts, both negative (white spots) and positive (scratches) throughout the film, but never to an extent where they become distracting. A particularly large positive mark occurs at 90:30.

    The cinematographer, Adrian Biddle (1492, Event Horizon, The World is Not Enough), helps the director dish up a visual palette that is always rich, strong and vibrant but never oversaturated nor with any trace of colour bleeding.

    The in-film subtitles of Egyptian translations were not burned into the image but utilised one of the DVD's subtitle tracks. I sampled the additional English subtitle track and found that it was accurate and well-synced to the on-screen dialogue.

    The layer change, at 59:21, was noticeable on my player as it paused for about 0.5 seconds during a scene. There was no dialogue interrupted, just motion and music, but I still feel it should have been placed better.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The soundtracks on this release are provided in Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1. The commentary tracks are in Dolby Digital 2.0. I was annoyed that this was one of those DVDs where you cannot change the soundtrack on the fly. For each change, one had to enter the menu and select the appropriate soundtrack (including for the 2 commentaries). This made it more difficult to make "on the spot" comparisons between the 2 digital formats in particular scenes.

    The original Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack was well regarded in reviews of the first DVD release in 1999. I had previously encountered the DTS soundtrack as part of the Ultimate Edition release in 2001. I listened to this latest release in both Digital formats and found the difference between Dolby Digital and DTS was quite apparent. The latter had a far better bottom end and a generally 'richer' feel to it.

    Both options offered clear dialogue which was well synced with the actors' lip movements. Some dialogue sounded a bit unrealistic, given the surroundings. This was probably due to slightly incorrect ADR implementation.

    The music, by veteran composer Jerry Goldsmith (Star Trek Insurrection, Air Force One, Cassandra Crossing), follows the on-screen action well at all times whether they are big battle scenes, spooky underground shots, or scenes of majestic sweeping scenery.

    The surrounds were well used throughout the film whether to carry music, directional effects or just ambient noise. I still felt there could have been greater use in terms of directional effects as many scenes that could have included bullets whizzing into the rear speakers were left wanting. Some examples of good directional effects include the flapping of the batwings in the right surround speaker at 73:58 and the biplane flying towards and over the camera at 89:23.

   The subwoofer was used well during the entire film to carry the lower end sounds. This helped effectively build the menace in some scenes. However, in some scenes (eg 110:05 when the ruins collapse), I thought the the sub could have contributed more towards making the thumps more solid.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The menu was not animated and was just a background montage of images from the film with looped excerpts from the film's music. I seem to remember the menus in both previous DVD releases being far richer and containing animation.

Audio Commentary by Director and Editor

    The interaction between the Director, Stephen Sommers, and the editor, Bob Duscay, and the continuous stream of comments they made helped to make this one of the better commentary tracks I've listened to. Almost their entire commentary matches what is occurring, or is about to occur on-screen and includes plenty of discussion about behind the scenes problems as well as mistakes that were left in the final print.

Audio Commentary by Brendan Fraser

   This I found nowhere near as enjoyable as the other commentary track. Brendan does this whole commentary himself and was somewhat stilted and understandably self-conscious. There were quite a few gaps although he does make a few funny comments and many self-deprecating remarks. However, I felt this would have been far better had they teamed him with Rachel Weisz or John Hannah, or even both of them.

DTS trailer

   It's always nice to see and hear this short and pleasant DTS trailer.

  Deleted Scenes  (2:15)

    Three deleted scenes from the film presented as one short feature. They are in 2.35:1 but not 16x9 enhanced. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 but not surround encoded. While the picture and sound quality is noticeably inferior to the actual film, these have obviously been cut late in production, as the visual and sound effects are in place. This feature would have benefited from some commentary about why they were deleted.

Visual and Special Effects

    This brings up a menu from which you can choose from 5 scenes in the film and follow them right though from initial plate photography to how they actually appeared on screen. Good commentary is provided throughout by the Visual Effects Supervisor, John Betton.

   This would have been better if each clip played automatically after the previous one rather than having to select it manually from the menu. There is a mix of screen formats including 4:3, 1.85:1 non 16x9 enhanced, 2.35:1 non 16x9 enhanced, and 2.35:1 16x9 enhanced.

Trailer 

    The original pre-release trailer is presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital 2.0, non surround encoded sound.

Photo Montage  (4:19)

    An automatically advancing collection of lots of colour photos from the film. Many are simply screen shots, but others include promotional photos as well as behind the scenes views which are more interesting. Music from the film plays in the background.

Storyboard to Film Comparison

    This short featurette shows the storyboard and the actual final result for three separate scenes. The storyboard and the corresponding images from the film are shown simultaneously on a horizontally split screen. A nice little featurette for enthusiasts.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There doesn't seem to a corresponding release in R1 as yet. However, comparing this latest R4 version with the R1 "Widescreen Collector's Edition" released in 2000, the Region 4 misses out on:

    Comparing our latest release with the previous R4 release, the Ultimate Edition, shows that the latest release misses out on:

   Neither of these two releases misses out on anything offered on the latest R4 release.

Summary

    This DVD marks the third release of this film on DVD in Region 4. There was the original Collector's Edition released towards the end of 1999 as a single disc with only Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (no DTS). In 2001, the 2-disc Ultimate Edition version was released which had DTS 5.1 audio. Now there's this version which seems to be a cut down (to 1 disc) version of the Ultimate Edition. It has Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio as well as 2 commentary tracks and a few extras. I think this release has replaced the 2-disc version.

    Of course, having the DTS soundtrack on this latest incarnation is great, but is it worth sacrificing the many, and better, extras on the previous 2 disc Ultimate Edition release? We now miss out on the 3rd commentary track as well as the enjoyable 47 minute feature amongst other extras such as the animated menus, other trailers and production notes.

    It appears that this is now the only version available in R4. The price has dropped a little, but then it's only a single disc now, so the value hasn't really increased. I'm not convinced that this new release is warranted. Perhaps there's a Superbit version on its way, which of course won't have any extras at all!

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Satish Rajah (don't read my bio!)
Sunday, August 24, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-344 Multi-Region, using S-Video output
DisplaySony KV-XA34M31 80cm. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2801
SpeakersMain: Mission 753; Centre: Mission m7c2; rear: Mission 77DS; Sub: JBL PB10

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Universal is now the distributor - aeon (if you must, read my bio)
Just be thankful it's not 4:3 - gRANT (Read my bio, mmm... uncompressed surround audio)