The Mummy ReturnsUniversal (Blu-ray)
An ancient legacy of terror is unleashed when the accursed mummy, Imhotep, is resurrected - along with a force even more powerful: The Scorpion King. Now, as the fate of all mankind hangs in the balance, Rick O'Connell and his wife Evie embark on a daring, desperate race to save their son - and the world - from unspeakable evil.
After The Mummy did so well in theaters, you knew there was going to be an inevitable sequel. Luckily, the full cast returned along with the same director. The result is a sequel that is actually a bit better than the original in my opinion. The balance of comedy and action, along with a more refined production design, results in a fun ride!
Universal delivers a new encode for this one on Blu-ray and the results are great. Detail and dimension are outstanding and I can honestly say this is a nice step up from the already great looking HD DVD. The master looks like it was cleaned up a bit from the HD DVD release. While fine film grain is still preserved, the print wear isn’t as obvious. Fine object detail and dimension are also a bit better when compared directly against the previous HD release. I loved the depth of image in this release and the special effects took a nice step up from the first film in quality and quantity. A solid re-release from Universal.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 delivers on this one. Bass is a bit more aggressive than the HD DVD release but the rest of the mix is pretty much the same. This was a big budget summer film and Universal went all out on the sound design and budget. The mix is quite dynamic and makes full use of the surround soundstage. I love the balance of the special effects, score and dialogue as the room is completely filled during the more intense battle sequences. There are also lots of cool discrete surround effects that heighten the experience. This has always been a really fun mix and this new lossless encode certainly delivers the goods.
Universal includes full “U-Control” interactivity again with simple access to a PiP interviews and on-set footage from the production. Again, this is by far the best interactive picture-in-picture feature I’ve seen yet on Blu-ray. You also get a boatload of features from the previous DVD and HD DVD release including production features, a feature commentary and looks at the locations and special effects. The same behind the scenes look at the next film is also included along with a free ticket to the new film.
Universal has certainly made a strong first offering on Blu-ray and I’m excited to see them supporting the format with great A/V quality and solid supplements. They’ve certainly set the bar for picture-in-picture interactivity. Fans of this one will be more than pleased with the new A/V presentation which is a nice improvement over the already solid HD DVD. Highly recommended!