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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Monster > Zombie > Comedy > Fantasy > Adventure > The Mummy + The Mummy Returns (2-Disc Deluxe Edition DVDs + Deluxe Edition Blu-Ray) + The Scorpion King (Blu-Ray)

The Mummy + The Mummy Returns (2-Disc Deluxe Edition DVDs + Deluxe Edition Blu-Ray) + The Scorpion King (Blu-Ray)

 

 

The Mummy + The Mummy Returns (DVDs + Blu-Rays)

Picture: B-/B+/B-/B+     Sound: B-/B+/B-/B+     Extras: A-     Films: B/B-

 

The Scorpion King (Blu-Ray)

Picture: B+     Sound: B+     Extras: C-     Film: C

 

 

If anyone in 1999 was expecting a faithful recreation of the 1932 Boris Karloff film, they were cracking open the wrong tomb.  The 1999 Brendan Fraser ‘remake’ or rehashing of the classic film, goes in a completely different, but not necessarily ‘bad’ direction.  The Stephen Sommers’ retelling of a classic tale uses similar happenings, character names, and other inspirational morsels from the 1932 standard, but other than that not much is the same.  The 1999 Mummy is more in the vein of an action/adventure, treasure tale like that of the Indiana Jones films or the more recent National Treasure films (all of which are reviewed elsewhere on this site).  This reviewer personally loved both The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, but does not hold the same esteem for the less than stellar Mummy Returns spin-off, The Scorpion King.

 

The newer films in no way can be compared to the original Karloff film, because they are at such opposite ends of the spectrum.  Essentially, besides the fact that the films share a name, nothing else is truly the same.  The intensity of the original horror film is switched out for fast paced action with tons of special effects and just a dash of comedy. 

 

Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz (Constantine), John Hannah, and Arnold Vosloo (24) are the headliners in the first two Mummy films and work extremely well together in bringing elements of action, adventure, and comedy to the picture.  The Mummy is just a fun action tale that surely wasn’t going to win any Oscars, but did capture the audiences’ attention quite well.  It brought a degree of heroics and classic adventure back to the cinema that had not been seen in a decade, since the last Indiana Jones film.  The Mummy does not have the same exact appeal as Indiana Jones, nor does it have the staying power, but it did and does give the audience a taste of that ‘swing into action,’ ‘kick down the door’ escapade that they desired.  It is a good flick that is 2 hours of pure, entertaining fun.

 

The Mummy Returns adds actor Freddie Boath to the cast as Rick (Fraser) and Evelyn’s (Weisz) mischievous son, Alex; the story of the second Mummy film really being more of the action of the first, just not done quite as well.  The Mummy Returns has better special effects than the first film, with the exception of ‘The Scorpion King’ whose CGI presence is just awful and is more reminiscent of bad Claymation like that of Clash of the Titans (yea I said it).  The story is nothing new and really is like The Mummy: Part 2; but is not a horrible thing, just based on the fact that the first film was so fun.  The whole cast reunites, with a few additional players this time around.  The only downside to The Mummy Returns is that (as with most sequels) they tried to make the film much bigger, but it did not necessarily get any better; rather it just stayed at the same level.  The addition of the couple’s son was ‘blah’ as were some other elements, but in the end it still squeezed by as a good action flick once again.

 

Now there is no need to divert your eyes, but it may be a good idea.  The Scorpion King was just a bad idea, flat out.  The film is full of well choreographed action and battle sequences, as well as having fairly well done CGI incorporated throughout; the problem however remains in EVERYTHING ELSE.  The acting is feeble, Dwayne Johnson (when he still went by ‘The Rock’) having not quite yet round his groove with any sort of acting, is more or less cast to be the muscle behind a weak film.  ‘The Rock’s’ role is reminiscent of some early Schwarzenegger roles, but lacks the charisma as well as good supporting cast.  All in all, The Scorpion King plays out and is exposed for exactly what it is, a pathetic attempt to milk the success of The Mummy films for all that they are worth.  Even certain A-list stars like the misused Michael Clarke Duncan could not revive this corpse of a film.

 

Due to the films having been previously reviewed on this site, the plot summaries as well some further (and very different) opinions/analysis can be found at the links below when covered in the now-defunct HD-DVD format:

 

The Mummy

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/4838/The+Mummy+(1999/HD-DVD)

 

The Mummy Returns

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/4859/The+Mummy+Returns+(HD-DVD)

 

The Scorpion King

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/4768/The+Scorpion+King+(HD-DVD/DVD

 

 

 

The technical features on these mummified remains are all around solid.  The picture on The Mummy, The Mummy Returns and The Scorpion King Blu-Ray releases is presented as a 1080p High Definition Widescreen.  The picture quality on all three releases is quite excellent having very well balanced colors, nice contrast, no light/dark issues, and an overall crisp image.  The picture on the DVD releases of the two Mummy films, which are stated as being ‘digitally restored,’ seem to be an upgrade from any of the previous (and plentiful) Mummy DVD releases, but does not compare to the Blu-Rays.  The DVDs matched up to the Blu-Rays have obvious comparative short comings in areas of crispness and color and whereas by no means bad, Blu-Ray is the way to go.  The sound on all three Blu-Rays is presented as an English DTS-HD Master Audio (MA) 5.1 Surround for the first time on home video release (surpassing the HD-DVD soundtracks) and is one of the best sounding mixes the films have experienced; the previous DVD releases being very lackluster and even the Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 on the HD release not living up to expectations.  The sound ‘booms’ and the full sound stage is used; even the more nauseatingly bad parts of The Scorpion King sound decent in the DTS track.  Also it should be mentioned that this reviewer feels the full score from the first Mummy film is amazing, standing the test of time and here on Blu-Ray it sounds better than ever.

 

The Extras are immense and impressive on both the DVD and Blu-Ray releases of The Mummy films; with over 5 never before seen features on each.  The Blu-Rays have an additional Blu-Ray Exclusive U-Control feature that allows the viewer the ‘go beyond’ and control the movie viewing experience by simultaneously watching cast interviews and behind the scenes footage, all while enjoying the film.  Personally this viewer like doing one or the other (with the exception of audio commentaries), but some viewers/fans may like to ‘go beyond’ more than I do.

 

The extras found on The Scorpion King Blu-Ray are slim and only offer fans a single feature commentary with director Chuck Russell.  The Blu-Ray Exclusive U-Control feature is also available on this release, but once again was just distracting and a bore.

 

The plethora of features that are available on both the Blu-Ray and DVD releases of The Mummy and The Mummy Returns are as follows:

 

The Mummy (DVD + Blu-Ray)

 

Disc 1:

 

Deleted Scenes and three feature-length audio commentary tracks, one with Director Stephen Sommers and Editor Bob Ducsay, one with actor Brendan Fraser and one with actor Oded Fehr, Kevin J O’Connor, and Arnold Vosloo

 

Disc 2:

 

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor Sneak Peek

Digital Copy of the Mummy **NOT available on Blu-Ray**

An Army to Rule the World – Part 1

Unraveling, The Legacy of the Mummy

Visual and Special Effects Information

Building a Better Mummy

Storyboard to Final Film Comparison

Photograph Montage

Egyptology 101

- A text heavy feature that explains different aspects like Hieroglyphics and Artifacts.

Pharaoh Lineage

- A text heavy feature that explains different aspects like Hieroglyphics and Artifacts.

Theatrical Trailer

          -   A well done trailer that made this reviewer want to see the film all over again.

 

 

The Mummy Returns (DVD + Blu-Ray)

 

Disc 1:

 

Outtakes and a feature length audio commentary with Director/Writer Stephen Sommers and Executive Producer/Editor Bob Ducsay

 

Disc 2:

 

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor Sneak Peek

Digital Copy of the Mummy **NOT available on Blu-Ray**

An Army to Rule the World – Part 2

Unraveling, The Legacy of the Mummy

Visual and Special Effects Information

An Exclusive Conversation with ‘The Rock’

Spotlight on Location: The Making of The Mummy Returns

Egyptology 201 featuring a text heavy feature that explains different aspects like Hieroglyphics and Artifacts.

Original Theatrical Trailer

Storyboard to Final Film Comparison

The band Live with their tie-in ‘Forever May Not Be Long Enough’ Music Video

 

 

The extras are all around impressive.  Besides that there is a multitude of features to chose from the extras are truly entertaining and have a rewatchable quality that fans of the film series will enjoy.  The commentaries are insightful and regardless of anyone’s feelings toward Stephen Sommers’ works, you can’t say he did not put his heart and mind into these films.  The behind the scenes featurettes are interesting and give some solid information on where the visual/creative entities behind the films want to take the venture.  Overall, both of these sets were very well done and fans will be more than happy to view and sift through all the bonus material.

 

It is more than certain that The Scorpion King was a horrible mistake of a film that was more concerned with money than preserving creativity.  The Mummy films, however, are exciting, adventurous, and can still entertain fans fully to this day.  As long as you don’t get too wrapped up in The Mummy’s past, the newer Mummy films are to be reborn for.

 

 

-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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