‘The Mummy Returns’ Blu-ray Review
Sequels are either hit or miss, and ‘The Mummy Returns’ is a better effort than even the original film on many different levels. While the formula stays the same as an action adventure, what also helps this film is that almost the entire cast, directors, and writers return from ‘The Mummy’ which rarely ever happens with sequels. There were a few new elements that were thrown into the mix for the ‘The Mummy Returns’ that made it even more enjoyable than the original and I really liked the original.
One can sit there and ask how do you make a sequel to a film like ‘The Mummy’ without making this a direct rip off of the original? It is something that is handled very easily. Add a few more new characters in the mix, a twist or two, and we have ‘The Mummy Returns’ which works on so many levels. What we have here is the introduction of a new character, The Scorpion King, which is played by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. While The Scorpion King is not used much in the film, his role plays an important part in the chain of events towards the end of the film and also as an introduction to the character for a spin off film titled ‘The Scorpion King’. Imhotep played again by Arnold Vosloo with his woman Anck Su Namun played by Patricia Velasquez, are the ones that unleash ‘The Scorpion King’ from his sleep.
Both returning are Brandon Fraser and Rachel Weisz reprising their roles as Rick O’Connell and Evelyn Carnahan, except this time they have a son together and are married. This adds yet another layer to the mix for ‘The Mummy Returns’ and to add to that, their son unleashes some trouble on the family. We also have John Hannah returning as the goofball comedic brother of Evelyn as Jonathan. Not only do they have to worry about The Mummy, there is also The Scorpion King, and the thousands of undead that have been unleashed. The writing and directing crew took the original ‘The Mummy’ formula and amped up a notch. This time it is not just the O’Connell family alone, they also have some help from some of their friends from the original film.
When Universal first announced that ‘The Mummy Returns’ would be releasing this summer on Blu-ray with the death of HD DVD; Universal also said that this would be a remaster of the film. This movie was produced with digital in mind, so you can tell with the quality of the picture. With the HD DVD version looking so beautiful to begin with, I was thinking to myself how much better will ‘The Mummy Returns’ look on Blu-ray. The transfer looks pristine to my eyes and cleaner than the HD DVD version. I have seen this film in the theaters, numerous times on DVD, and now on all high definition formats. I just wish that more catalog titles received this kind of treatment. On the audio front, we get a significant upgrade over the HD DVD with DTS-HD Lossless Master Audio versus the Dolby Digital Plus mix for the HD DVD. Having DTS-HD makes a huge difference with an action heavy film like ‘The Mummy Returns’ where all my speakers were working like a horse during the entire film. Dialogue was very clear too, exciting for me too because it is the one area that I look at the most due to poor mixes on many films that I have watched.
While it may seem like an over bloated mess with all these extra elements that were added to ‘The Mummy Returns’, not once does it hinder the film. The few extra characters really help add to the film. Not once was I bored with the film and it doesn’t suffer from the sequel syndrome either, which is a good thing. ‘The Mummy Returns’ introduces us to ‘The Scorpion King’ which wasn’t that bad of a film either and sets up the stage for the sequel releasing this August in theaters, ‘The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor’. Any former HD DVD or current DVD owners don’t hesitate to pick this film up on Blu-ray; it is also a demo worthy experience.