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Mummy Returns, The (Blu-ray Review)

3 Aug, 2008 By: John Gaudiosi

Mummy Returns

$29.98 Blu-ray

Rated 'PG-13.'
Stars Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, Dwayne Johnson, John Hannah, Arnold Vosloo, Oded Fehr.

With Brendan Fraser back in The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (in theaters Aug. 1), Universal has trotted out the second film in the series, 1999's The Mummy Returns, for Blu-ray Disc. Fraser always seems to be having fun as he fights supernatural foes and makes daring escapes.

When it comes to presentation and sound, The Mummy Returns is excellent. The 35mm Panavision print has all the intensity and visual clarity of the HD DVD versions, if not more. The film is presented in 1080p and the action really comes to life on a home theater system. The films sports DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio surround, which was not available on the HD DVD releases in 2006, which used Dolby Digital Plus.

Audiophiles will fall in love with 'The Mummy' films, which offer the perfect blend of orchestral score, action and dialogue (even if said dialogue is often more cheesy than entertaining).

In terms of special features, this Blu-ray has the new-and-improved U-Control picture-in-picture option that was first introduced by Universal on HD DVD. This BD upgrade, which takes advantage of the Bonus View capability (on Profile 1.1 players and all PlayStation 3 consoles), allows viewers to toggle PIP on or off any time.

With featurettes consisting of cast and crew interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and storyboard comparisons, this mode always has something interesting going on in the small window, with not too much dead space.

In addition, U-Control — now with a new format logo and color screen — allows fans to bookmark their favorite parts of the movies to quickly come back to at any time.

The packages contain a code that allows viewers to print a coupon to apply toward a ticket to see the new big-screen “Mummy” adventure, and also includes a three-minute featurette promoting the new movie. Also included are the commentary tracks and featurettes brought over from the HD DVD and DVD versions of the films. Unfortunately, all of the extras on these BD movies are in standard-definition.

For those who purchased the HD DVD versions of 'The Mummy Returns,' there's no reason for another investment. But those film fans who've waited for high-definition versions will get a slightly better BD experience at a good price.

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