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Scorpion King, The (Blu-ray Review)

3 Aug, 2008 By: John Gaudiosi

Scorpion King

$29.98 Blu-ray

Rated 'PG-13.'
Stars Dwayne Johnson, Kelly Hu, Michael Clarke Duncan, Bernard Hill.

With The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor in theaters Aug. 1, and the direct-to-video prequel The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior due Aug. 19, Universal has served up the first three films in the franchise on high-definition.

The Scorpion King, a 2002 prequel to the first two "Mummy" films, let Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson show he could make the successful jump from professional wrestling to the big screen.

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

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 package contains a code that allows viewers to print a coupon to apply toward a ticket to see the new big-screen “Mummy” adventure. The new Scorpion King Blu-ray includes a three-minute featurette promoting the new "Mummy" movie, as well as commentary tracks and featurettes brought over from the HD DVD and DVD versions of the films. Unfortunately, all the ported extras are in standard-definition.

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

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