The Mummy Returns (Superbit) (2001)

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Released 9-Sep-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Adventure Dolby Digital Trailer-City
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 124:14 (Case: 129)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (63:53) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Stephen Sommers
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Brendan Fraser
Rachel Weisz
John Hannah
Arnold Vosloo
Oded Fehr
Patricia Velasquez
The Rock
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Alan Silvestri


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/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
Dutch
Hindi
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Whenever I hear the word Egypt I instantly think of sand, heat, pyramids and The Mummy movies. I have a deep fascination for the land, its people, and especially its past. I suppose that is why this movie and its predecessor bring such exciting feelings and emotions in their own special ways. I already boast both The Mummy and The Mummy Returns as apart of my collection, and I was positively excited when I heard the Superbit version was on the way. Just how much better could this version be?

    For those not yet familiar with it, the concept of a Superbit title is to put a higher quality video and audio transfer onto the DVD compared to the original release of the same title. There is nothing "technically" special about this, contrary to what the Columbia Pictures Superbit website would have you believe. In fact, because a better master can be used, there would actually be less work on behalf of the disc authors, and it should be cheaper to produce. The disc authors would not have to spend time, and therefore money, carefully checking that the compression levels used to shrink the size of the final product do not result in unsightly problems when viewed by the consumer. If you want my personal opinion, Superbit versions should be the standard, and not seen as a higher quality than the usual offering. Certainly there would be less space for extras (which is not always the case, however), but let's face it - some of the extras that have been included on some Region 4 DVDs of late are practically worthless anyway. But I digress, and had better get back to the movie itself.

    Tony has already done a magnificent review of the The Mummy Returns: Collector's Edition release, so read that if you are after a rundown on the plot.

    With such a magnificent disc, which also contains the finest Columbia Tristar animated logo you will ever see in standard definition DVD, why are the worst quality audio trailers included? Depending on the soundtrack you pick, you will either see the Dolby Digital "City" trailer or the DTS "Digital Experience" trailer. Why not "Egypt" for Dolby which has a higher quality level but also has the camera searching its way through caverns until it finds the Dolby logo. Certainly more fitting for a movie set in the land of the pyramids. For the DTS track, give me the short "Piano" version any day with its resonating sound and high quality worthy of inclusion on a Superbit DVD.

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

Transfer Quality

Video

     The video transfer of this movie is superb, and is of reference quality.

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

    As you would expect, the transfer is extremely clear and extremely sharp in every scene. Just look at 3:09 where the scorpion is moving the grains of sand as it walks for a typical example of the incredible detail. Or if you are still not convinced, try 70:28 where you can see the individual grains of sand moving under the feet of a camel this time. Or the superb clarity of the naked flames flickering at 84:23. Shadow detail is perfect, and while the brightly lit deserts pose no problems, the amount of detail in the dark caverns and night scenes are exemplary. There is no low level noise.

    The colours were faultless, with rich yellows, oranges and reds at 57:48 during a setting sun being one of a million examples. At the other end of the colour spectrum there are the deep blues, greys and deep black of the night sky at 59:45. The flames are coloured so well that the image at 18:56 almost gives off heat.

    There was not a speck of MPEG artefacts to be seen. Aliasing is also nonexistent. Through the whole movie I could only find two film artefacts. One was a small black speck and another which was in the form of a hair at 76:57. The trick is you will have to frame advance through this second in time to see how faint and well it has been touched up from the original source. But when played normally it will be invisible to nearly everyone.

    This is an RSDL disc, with the layer change being impossible to find exactly. I think it is between Chapters 10 and 11 at 63:53. The Denon failed to show any layer change and using computer software I was also unable to find a layer mark which appears to be a trait of all the Superbit titles I have tried. My laptop does however give a motor stepping noise at this point so that is the far from technical analysis on tracking down a layer change. In short that's d*** good news and shows how smooth the layer change is.

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

Audio

    This is a magnificent audio transfer, and is of reference quality.

    There are two audio tracks on this DVD. The default is an English dts 5.1 soundtrack. There is also an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track. I listened to both soundtracks.

    The dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times. Audio sync was not a problem at all with this transfer, and was completely spot on.

    The musical score, by the legendary Alan Silvestri, was powerful and a perfect fit for the film. The peaks and troughs of sound together with the way they have been mixed across the 5.1 channels suited the scenes well. The music did not drown out the dialogue at any point during the movie.

    The dynamics and fidelity are wide and expansive with surround channels very aggressively used for ambience, music, and for lots of special effects. There was an excellent use of split surrounds and imaging amongst all the channels providing a complete immersive feeling. The dts track did a better job of imaging, with the sound transferring cleanly across and around the soundstage. The sound seemed to hang at exact points in the room, whereas the Dolby Digital track seemed to place them closer towards each speaker.

    The subwoofer was very active during the action sequences, and placed an excellent bottom end on these sequences.

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

Extras

     There are no extras, you will need the Collectors Edition for those.

Menu

    The menu design is the same as the other Superbit titles I have in the collection. They start with a Superbit logo spinning towards the screen and some sound then falling silent at a 4 option menu. The choices are Play Movie, Audio Set Up, Subtitles and Scene Selections. The Scene selections are fixed images rather than snippets of each moving scene.

R4 vs R1

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

    There is no Region 1 version of this title available.

Summary

    This Superbit version contains improvements to both the audio and video portions, but naturally you miss all the extras. When I hold the Collectors Edition in one hand, and the Superbit release in the other, it is a hard choice to pick a favourite. The 2 disc Collectors Edition has a massive amount of extras and the audio commentary is one of the most informative that I have ever heard.

    The video quality is superb, and is of reference quality.

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

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Peter Mellor (read my bio)
Monday, November 17, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1600, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Aconda 9381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete
SpeakersWhatmough Classic Series C31 (Mains); C06 (Centre); M10 (Rears); Magnat Vector Needle Sub25A Active SubWoofer

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Comments (Add)
What are the main file sizes? - Ben H (My biography. Go on have a read...) REPLY POSTED
Is it any better - REPLY POSTED
headbutt cut for this edition -