Talos the Mummy (1998)

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Released 22-May-2001

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Audio
Trailer-The Mummy Returns
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 115:17
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (65:37) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Russell Mulcahy
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Jason Scott Lee
Louise Lombard
Sean Pertwee
Lysette Anthony
Michael Lerner
Jack Davenport
Honor Blackman
Christopher Lee
Shelley Duvall
Case ?
RPI $36.95 Music Stefano Mainetti


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Pan & Scan English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes, Fosters Lager
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Talos the Mummy is not a fabulous movie. This DVD doesn't do it justice, either.

    I suspect that this DVD has been released as a cross-promotional deal with The Mummy Returns (coming soon to a cinema near you!) - the only trailer on this disc is for The Mummy Returns - but I don't know why; this movie has little to do with it. They are both about a mummy, and hence Egypt, but that's pretty much it.

    Talos the Mummy (a.k.a. Tale of the Mummy) concerns Talos, a man thrown out of Greece as a trouble-maker who made himself popular in Egypt, and seduced the pharaoh's daughter. The pharaoh's army stormed his temple, but he'd already managed to escape them via a complex plan to re-incarnate himself thousands of years later at the next alignment of the four inner planets. (You've heard of suspension of disbelief? You better put your disbelief in strong suspenders.)

    His tomb is excavated early in the 20th Century by Christopher Lee. As his party open it, they are struck down by some really dreadful special effects. Christopher Lee attempts to prevent the problem spreading by blowing up the entrance (and himself) with dynamite. Decades later, his journal is returned to his grand-daughter (the beautiful Louise Lombard), and a new expedition unearths the tomb. This time we get a look inside. Interesting - a stone sarcophagus (very heavy) has been suspended in the middle of an immense chamber by some kind of rope for thousands of years - I recommend buying shares in that rope company! One of the party is struck down, and another dies of greed, but this expedition brings the sarcophagus and the mummy wrappings it contains back to London. About a year later, as the planets start to come into alignment, murders start to occur, murders in which the only common element is the disappearance of a bodily organ (eyes, lungs, etc). There are lots of badly-done special effects involved in these murders; some of them involving vast quantities of yellowish bandages which we are supposed to believe are the mummy's wrappings.

    I can't go on. The mummy attacks, the pretty girl is threatened, people get together to try to rescue her - you know.

    Anyway, when I say dreadful special effects, I mean dreadful. They clearly spent quite a bit of money on their effects, and then botched using them. For example, between 8:30 and 9:00, there is a special effect involving half a man's face. The effect is quite neat (and, I'd guess, expensive), but the alignment between the effect and the man's face drifts - the effect jaw and the man's jaw start out aligned, but they move - it ruins the effect totally.

    Russell Mulcahy seems to believe that the mummy's attacks will be more dramatic if he makes them difficult to watch. The results are almost stroboscopic. I'd liken the effect to running a couple of sequences of film through a mulcher, then pasting the frames together at random.

    If you want to switch your brain off, I suppose you might not hate this film too much. But then we have to deal with what the DVD mastering has done...

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is not a great movie, and it has been treated to a pretty average transfer.

    The movie was made in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, but the transfer is 1.33:1 - it must be Pan and Scan, because you can't make a 2.35:1 anamorphic image into a Full Frame. It is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer has some sequences that are nice and sharp (around 39:20, for example), but the rest is a little bit soft. Shadow detail is generally OK. There is little low level noise.

    Colour is generally fine, although the opening sequence looked a bit off.

    There are some nasty artefacts concerning lights - a hurricane lamp and some electric torchs - there are light streaks across the picture from the light source; in a couple of cases they stretch right across the image. We get a scattering of normal film artefacts (flecks, hairs, dust), but nothing to worry about. There are a couple of cases of colour bleed, but again, nothing much to worry about. Aliassing was rather well controlled.

    The disc is RSDL with the layer change at 65:37. It is not a good layer change - Jason Scott Lee freezes solid for most of a second.

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

Audio

    The only soundtrack is English Dolby Digital 2.0. There are no subtitles at all.

    Dialogue is mostly clear, but there are several lapses, particularly with Sean Pertwee. I wouldn't have minded switching on subtitles for some of his dialogue, except that there aren't any.

    I didn't notice any failures in audio sync, although the mummy construct's lips didn't always gel with the dialogue - more a CGI problem, I think.

    The score was OK, although a bit raucous at times. Sort of generic B-movie music.

    Nothing from the surrounds or subwoofer.

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

Extras

    We get two extras, and one of them is an advertisement for another movie.

Menu

    The menu is static, with a bit of sound on the main menu.

Trailer

    This is a trailer for The Mummy Returns. It is presented in an aspect ratio of roughly 1.66:1 non-16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. It's nice and sharp, and generally shows up the main movie. At the end of 1:41 minutes it says Coming May 2001...

Filmographies

    This is a list of the films associated with Russell Mulcahy, and eight of the actors. This movie is credited as Talos the Mummy for seven of the filmographies, and Tale of the Mummy for the other two. I was amused to note that Christopher Lee was in a movie called The Mummy that was made in 1959.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

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

The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on: The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on:     This is a tough one - do you want the Widescreen picture with a 5.1 soundtrack, or a Pan-and-Scan picture with 2.0 sound, but longer running time? If you really want this movie, I'd suggest the R1 - get it over with sooner, and more enjoyably.

Summary

    Talos The Mummy is a so-so horror movie, presented fairly poorly on DVD.

    The video quality is not good.

    The audio quality is fair.

    The extras are minimal.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Wednesday, May 23, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-737, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW10HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics matte white screen with a gain of 1.0 (280cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left and Right: Krix Euphonix, Centre: Krix KDX-C Rears: Krix KDX-M, Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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