The Mummy – Blu-Ray Review

Do you remember Brendan Fraser? How about those tragically forgotten Mummy Movies he did in the late 1990’s- early 2000’s right before he fell off the face of the earth.  Well I do, and with the recent reboot of The Mummy (okay is it a reboot, it’s different but kind of the same right, I can’t keep up anymore) coming out I thought it would be appropriate to revisit these three gems, and yes there are three, with the recent re-releases I found at Target.  For me, like most of you reading this I imagine, were quite young when the Fraser Mummy movies started to come out and did not really realize what they tried to represent.  Having now announced this new film Universal Pictures has made it no secret that they plan on releasing several more reboots in their “Dark Universe” series of films (next up is the Bride of Frankenstein) it is possible that we may start to see films of this caliber pop up again.  

 

Many of us got into films after the resurgence of the 70’s and did not realize how much the film industry had changed as a result. However, many of the films that were being made up until that point were cookie-cutter-esque and even earned the title of “Popcorn Flicks” or movies with mindless enjoyment and not much substance.  These films usually depicted a hero, a damsel in distress, and a somewhat ill-thought out plot (this, of course, is the order in which everything was picked out). Remind you of anything? Yes, as hard as it is to believe The Mummy with Brendan Fraser was an ode to those films that once graced the silver screen for so many years.  More specifically the monster flicks that fell into this format.  However manufactured the format may be, the real question is nearly twenty years later can this film still entertain us with the same amount of thrill?

The Film

Our story follows a young librarian working in Egypt, who is trying to fit in desperately with her peers.  After her brother, Jonathan comes to her with a rare artifact, she finds out that it may lead her to the lost city of Hamunaptra.  The problem is the only person who can lead her there is about to be hung.  After negotiating his release, Rick O’Connell agrees to take her there and back.  After accidentally awakening Imhotep, a high priest who was buried alive for crimes against his Pharoah, they soon find themselves fighting to stay alive.  Can they solve the mystery of how to defeat Imhotep before he manages to kill everyone and become immortal, or is their fate sealed like so many others?

The film manages to do well to the films of the 1900’s that it is paying a slight homage to.  A large part of this is due to the grandiose stunts and plotlines that it follows.  Fraser plays into this format perfectly, playing the classic hero motif to a “t”.  At his side is Rachel Weisz, who is finally starting to pop up in films again, who plays an interesting combination of a damsel in distress combined with incredibly intelligent.  It just works, and especially for the time in which it was released, it is no surprise it did so well.  I mean there is a still a Universal Studios ride based off the films (it is amazing in case you are wondering).

 

The Film 3.5/5

Picture Quality

At the time of its release, it was held in high regard for its outstanding special effects.  Keeping in mind that this was around the time of the release of The Matrix, and it seems that every film that came out was trying to jump on the grand effects train.  The Mummy did well to keep the effects as simple and practical as possible while still offering show stopping and horrifying moments.    What is most outstanding about all of this, is that the effects still feel larger than life all these years later.  The digital effects seem exemplary considering how long ago the film came out.  Blu-Ray works as the perfect vessel for this release and I am excited to have the higher definition version of the film to enjoy time and again.  

 

 

Picture Quality 3.5/5

Audio Quality

This is where I was a bit concerned with the time has gone by since the initial release. However, my fears were quickly put at ease as the film started.  The volume seemed rather consistent, throughout which is surprising considering the varying levels of sound from scene to scene. Jerry Goldsmith does well to give us a score that both fits with the homage and fits in with the times of the films release date.  It is both exciting and grandiose.  

 

Audio 5/5

 

Packaging

I rather enjoy the newly released packaging for this film and its sequels.  It is about time these films, however mediocre in the grand scheme, got a renewed look and Blu-ray release.  The artwork does well to accentuate the action and moments that take place in the film, and it simply looks great on the shelf.  Even more so, I really love the inclusion of the digital copy, this is exactly the kind of film I want to put on ten minutes before bed or simply enjoy in the background.  It feels both familiar and comforting, as many films can get after so many viewings. We do get a rather nice feeling slipcover and it nearly reminds me of the recently re-released Harry Potter films that came out not too long ago.  Simple and fun.

 

The Packaging ⅘

Special Features

I didn’t really know what to expect all these many years later for this release in regards to included special features.  I was happy to see that there were quite a few extras included and that a lot of them wanted to make sure that people understood how this film was meant to carry on a time-honored tradition in the mummy films of the years before.  Many of the features focus heavily on the special effects and how they were achieved which is very interesting considering many of the effects holds up well against the years that have come to pass.  The Special features included in this release are as follows:

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Feature Commentaries
  • The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor Sneak Peek
  • Visual and Special Effects Formation
    • City of Thebes
      • Plate Photography
      • Visual Effect Elements
      • Composed Shot
      • Final Feature Sequence
        • Each aspect gives us more and more insight on how the final shots came to be.
    • Scarab Burial
      • Plate Photography
      • Visual Effect Elements
      • Composed Shot
      • Final Feature Sequence
    • Serious Trouble
      • Plate Photography
      • Visual Effect Elements
      • Composed Shot
      • Final Feature Sequence
    • Imhotep Eats Scarab
      • Plate Photography
      • Visual Effect Elements
      • Composed Shot
      • Final Feature Sequence
    • Rick Rescues Evelyn
      • Plate Photography
      • Visual Effect Elements
      • Composed Shot
      • Final Feature Sequence
  • An Army to Rule the World, Part 1
    • This is a short featurette of how the mummies came to be a combination of funny and scary throughout the film.  This is also part 1 of 2 the second part shows up in The Mummy Returns.
  • Unraveling the Legacy of The Mummy
    • We get to see just how much they were attempting to pay homage to the Orginal Mummy film in the 1930’s.
  • Building a better Mummy
    • Director and producers take us through how much influence the original mummy movie had on this film.
  • Storyboard to Final Film Comparison
    • Anubis Chamber
    • Desert Sandstorm
    • The Sahara
    • Final Fight
    • Hangman’s Noose
    • Scarab Run
    • Trouble in Cairo
  • Photograph Montage

Special Features 5/5

Overall

The film is STILL just plain fun, even this many years later I enjoyed every minute of it.  Fraser is dynamite and I miss seeing him in films like this, by that I mean good films, and often. The film itself is a modern approach to the cookie cutter films of oh so long ago and it does well to stay unique and grandiose enough to seem breathtaking at moments.  One thing you just can’t manufacture is the Fraser/Weisz onscreen dynamic.  It is, to this day, one of my favorite on-screen couples. It is just hard to top.  Whether or not the films that would follow would reach the same magnitude and overall acceptance from audiences makes no difference that this film is just plain enjoyable. You can purchase this edition HERE.

Overall 4/5 -Still Highly Entertaining