Universal has a huge backlog of Monster films dating back to the early 1930’s that are still popular today. One of those monster films was the 1932 version of ‘The Mummy’ starring Boris Karloff. In the 90’s, Universal decided to revisit its popular monster franchise with a new version of ‘The Mummy’, but on a larger scale with an enormous budget. While the original ‘The Mummy’ was a horror film, the 1999 remake is a pure action adventure film. While I am a fan of horror films this is one thing that I am ok with, because this could have spelled disaster if they tried to go the horror route.

I do also want to note, that ‘The Mummy’ and ‘The Mummy Returns’ were my first HD DVD purchases when I first jumped on to the format. I am very happy that Universal chose to release these two films as their first on Blu-ray, plus we also have ‘The Mummy Tomb of the Dragon Emperor’coming out on August 1.

Brendan Fraser stars as Rick O’Connell who is at an archaeological dig in Egypt. He meets Evelyn played by Rachel Weisz and her brother Jonathan played by John Hannah. This is where things go crazy from the beginning as Fraser screws things up and awakens Imhotep played by Arnold Vosloo whom is ‘The Mummy’. Imhotep is not so happy to have woken up and even worse, he is looking for his love Anck Su Namun played by the beautiful Particia Velasquez. Imhotep got into huge trouble for falling in love with the Pharaoh’s mistress Anck Su Namun and he was tied up as mummy. Fraser opens up the door for The Mummies curse which is hell bent on destroying everything in his path.

Albeit all the CGI used in the film, I still find the environments used here in Egypt to be rather beautiful and awe struck visuals. While the CGI is implemented all over the film and very noticeable in many scenes, it doesn’t detract from the fun of this movie. The acting in ‘The Mummy’ is great and the chemistry between Fraser and Weisz is just fantastic as they work well together. Fraser has always been a good actor and playing his parts very well, but here he almost takes that ‘Indiana Jones’ type of approach with comedic lines inserted to make him goofy but serious at the same time. Weisz is yet another beauty added to the film that adds to the madness of the story. Vosloo plays Imhotep/Mummy very well and looks very menacing and someone you wouldn’t cross.

When Universal first announced that ‘The Mummy’ would be releasing this summer on Blu-ray with the death of HD DVD, they also said that this would be a remaster of the film. With the HD DVD version looking so beautiful to begin with, I was thinking to myself how much better will ‘The Mummy’ 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’ 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.

I don’t usually cover the extras, but those that own the HD DVD version and are hesitant to make the jump, all the extras from the HD DVD have been ported over. ‘The Mummy’ is a fun filled action adventure film that I can watch over and over due to the movie taking the ‘Indiana Jones’ formula and adding a lot more comedic elements. As Universal was the powerhouse on HD DVD, they are making their debut on Blu-ray with a catalog title that puts to shame many other large studios that release sub par catalog titles at higher price points. This week, you can grab ‘The Mummy’, ‘The Mummy Returns’, and ‘The Scorpion King’ for as low as $17.99 at some retailers. I am glad to see that Universal is going to show long time Blu-ray dedicated studios on how to release in a high definition format.

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