The MummyUniversal (Blu-ray)
Deep in the Egyptian desert, a handful of people searching for a long-lost treasure have just unearthed a 3,000 year old legacy of terror. Combining the thrills of a rousing adventure with the suspense of Universal's legendary 1932 horror classic, The Mummy is a true nonstop action epic, filled with dazzling visual effects, top-notch talent and superb storytelling.
Well for those who don't know by now The Mummy is an action packed blockbuster about an evil force that is accidentally released and wants to bring his dead lover back to life. I can probably go into more depth but really I'm sure we've all seen this several times. I really enjoyed this film although it does suffer from some bad lines and gimmickry, but it is the pure definition of popcorn fun.
Universal makes its debut on Blu-ray with all of the Mummy series and each of them sports an all new encode. Luckily I still have my HD DVD copies to do some comparisons with. The previous HD DVD editions sported good transfers but Universal has made some improvements. The image looks a bit cleaner in terms of nicks and scratches and detail overall is improved. While this didn’t result in a night and day difference, it was still pretty obvious. Fine object textures and dimensionality improve the most. This film is still the weakest in presentation though. The film has a very back and forth look to it in terms of overall quality, mainly from the stock footage used for locales. The special effects are also a bit softer than the later sequel and stand out a bit more. The image does have a slightly enhanced look to it at times. Medium to long shots look a tad edgy with some very minor haloing at times. Close-ups looked very natural though with great fine detail and no signs of sharpening.
Universal is going all out on the audio front and looks to be favoring the DTS-HD Master Audio route similar to Fox. This movie has always had a fun soundtrack and the lossless mix makes the most of the action with deep bass and plenty of surround effects. When I compared it to the previous Dolby Digital Plus mix on HD DVD the differences were pretty slight. The DTS mix seems a bit heavier on the bottom end and seems a bit more visceral. I’m of mixed opinion on this. The bass seems a bit bloated in comparison to the DD+ mix. The effect adds body to the mix and I’m sure bass junkies will be happy with the difference. Clarity and spatial quality are pretty much the same but the DD+ mix never left me wanting in the first place. Overall this is still a great sound design and a seriously fun ride.
Instead of merely porting over the extras from the previous HD DVD, Universal has really stepped up and taken full advantage of the Bonus View features Blu-ray offers. You get full “U-Control” features including picture-in-picture interviews and on-set footage. This is by far the best picture-in-picture setup on Blu-ray today. You simply turn on the feature and using the enter key you can toggle the PiP on and off seamlessly throughout the movie. Universal has also included all of the extras from the previous releases including production design features, interviews, a feature commentary and storyboard comparisons. You also get a sneak peek of the upcoming Mummy movie and a free movie pass to see it.
Universal has certainly delivered with their first Blu-ray releases. There are some great extras here and I love the fact that Universal has done new audio and video encodes rather than recycling past efforts. While the improvements aren’t huge over the past HD DVD release, the new supplements and improved video do make this a worthwhile investment for fans of the film.