The Mummy Returns
With the success of the first film, a sequel was sure to follow. Fraser and Weisz continue their onscreen chemistry, and John Hannah is as funny as ever as Rachel's brother, Jonathan. The introduction of the Scorpion King sets up the franchise spinoff (also available on Blu-ray). With many of the same elements from the first film, The Mummy Returns doesn't break any new ground, but it's still a lot of mindless fun with loads of action and improved special effects.
Watching The Mummy and The Mummy Returns on consecutive nights really showed how far special effects improved from 1999 to 2001, but they are still easy to pick out in the 1080p VC-1 encode. Deep greens and blues highlight a vivid and lush color palette, which occasionally borders on oversaturated. Interior shots offer exceptional detail, but the exterior visuals are outstanding without any post-processing enhancements that tend to ruin a good picture. The only issue preventing a perfect score is the shadow detail, which suffers on occasion with indistinct backgrounds.
The soundtrack is one of the best I have ever heard on either HD DVD or Blu-ray. The surround channels are very active with discrete effects and seamless panning from front to back. The dynamic range is full with generous bass, and unlike The Mummy, the powerful mix doesn't drown out the dialog. If you are looking for a demo showpiece, The Mummy Returns delivers a best-in-class experience.
Universal's "U-Control" Profile 1.1 PIP featurette is the highlight of the otherwise undistinguished bonus materials. A commentary track from director Stephen Sommers and co-producer/editor Bob Ducsay is available with some SD material looking at the special effects, outtakes, and an HBO "Spotlight on Location." As with The Mummy, there is a sneak peak at The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor and a free ticket to see the film.
With many of the same elements as the first film, The Mummy Returns is a fun popcorn movie. There is end-to-end action in this fun tale with near-reference video and a first-rate soundtrack. Recommended.
Release Date: July 22, 2008
Film: 6 out of 10
Picture: 9 out of 10
Sound: 10 out of 10
JVC DLA-RS1 projector
Stewart FireHawk screen (76.5" wide, 16:9)
Onkyo PR-SC885 pre/pro
Anthem PVA-7 Amplifier
Belkin PF60 power conditioner
M&K S-150s (L, C, R)
M&K SS-150s (LS, RS, SBL, SBR)
SVS PC-Ultra subwoofer
Monoprice HDMI cables (source to pre/pro)
Best Deal analog-audio cables
PureLink HDC Fiber Optic HDMI Cable System (15 meters) from pre/pro to projector