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4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Review: THE MUMMY

Sep 11 Posted by in DVD/Blu-ray, Reviews | Comments

In ancient Egypt, Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) is first in line to succeed her father, until her step-mother gives birth to a son. Angry and determined to claim her throne, she summons a demon from the underworld to help her sacrifice her family in exchange for giving the being a corporeal body. However she is captured an mummified by her father’s priests before she can complete the ceremony.

In the present, Sgt. Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) and buddy Cpl. Chris Vail (Jake Johnson), use their position as Long Range Reconnaissance soldiers for the U.S. Army to do some treasure hunting in Iraq. They manage to locate and unearth Ahmanet’s tomb, but just as they prepare to explore its contents, they find themselves staring face-to-face with Morton’s commanding officer, Col. Greenway (Courtney B. Vance) and Jennifer Halsey (Annabelle Wallis), the woman Morton slept with the night before in order to steal a map. Greenway orders the men to assist Halsey in retrieving the contents of the tomb. However, in the process they accidentally unleash the deadly mummy, who sets out to complete the ritual she started centuries earlier…and seems to have her sights set on Morton as the corporeal host for her demon. With the help of the mysterious Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe), head of the top secret Prodigium organization, they must try to capture and stop this supernatural creature before she can wreak her havoc on the world.

Marvel and DC (to a lesser degree) have found massive success turning their individual superhero properties into larger, shared-world cinematic universes. Universal hopes to do the same with its Universal Monsters properties, and The Mummy is the film to kick off this larger Dark Universe cinematic world. In addition to introducing viewers to the mummy creature, the film also sets up this larger entity of Prodigium, which serves as the organization trying to contain all of these monsters and supernatural threats.

The Mummy has some truly epic action sequences that are a blast to watch. The film also blends a lot of humor in with the action and horror. There are some really witty one-liners and other jokes mixed into the more serious moments. However, overall I found myself a bit disappointed by the film. I was a huge fan of the 1999 incarnation of the Mummy franchise, and while the 2017 special effects blow that film away, it’s the story that is a bit lacking in this latest version of The Mummy. The 2017 version felt more like a chain of one action sequence after the next linked by a very loose story, rather than a fully realized, interesting narrative with well-developed characters. And the motivations behind the mummy creature never felt properly fleshed out (no pun intended).

The larger world the film sets up may be interesting to explore in future films, but I hope there is more thought given to the stories and characters in those future installments, and that those films are not just a series of impressive action sequences. That said, The Mummy does still make for an entertaining film in that aspect—while the story is a bit slow and weak, the action sequences are quite impressive and make the film definitely worth checking out just for those impressive spectacles alone.

Fans of the film will not be disappointed with this 4K UltraHD release, which provides stellar picture and sound and a solid selection of bonus material. The 4K picture provides a noticeable step-up from the Blu-ray (which looks quite nice on its own). The picture is crisp and clean with no noticeable grain (except, of course, when Ahmanet is brewing up a sand storm). Darker scenes, such as the main characters exploring the underground tomb, show increased detail on the 4K release. Colors also look richer, especially the orange glow of the Ahmanet flashbacks, and the outdoor scenes with Ahmanet in the sand look stunning. The Atmos soundtrack provides a wonderfully-immersive experience. In the opening of the film Morton and Vail come under fire, and you feel like you are right there, with the bullets bouncing all around your living room. As the characters enter the underground chamber you can hear the echoes reverberate, and the rocks sounds like they are falling from overhead.

The 4K UHD release also includes a nice selection of bonus material, though most of it can only be found on the Blu-ray disc. The extras include four deleted/extended scenes, a 21-minute discussion between Tom Cruise and director Alex Kurtzman, over 45 minutes of behind-the-scenes featurettes, an animated graphic novel prequel, and an audio commentary with the director and several cast members.

The 4K and Blu-ray discs comes packed in standard UHD keepcase with a slipcover. The case also includes an insert with a code to redeem UltraViolet & iTunes digital copies of the film as well as a second insert with a code for a bonus free digital movie.



What’s Included:

Film: (1:50:06)

    4K Ultra HD:

    • 2160p / Widescreen 2.40:1
    • HDR
    • Audio: English Dolby Atmos, Spanish 5.1 DTS Digital Surround, French 5.1 DTS Digital Surround
    • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

    Blu-ray:

    • 1080p / Widescreen 2.40:1
    • Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Descriptive Video Service, Spanish 5.1 DTS Digital Surround, French 5.1 DTS Digital Surround
    • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

    Digital HD (for redemption deadline, see NBCUcodes.com):

    • Digital 4K/HD copy redeemable via Fandango Now (UltraViolet) OR iTunes
    • Additional bonus digital movie (expires 3/18/2018), redeemable at upherewards.com. The list of available titles currently includes Suffragette, You, Me and Dupree, Far and Away, Eliminators, Dragon Nest: Warrior’s Dawn, and The Man With The Iron Fists 2.

    Extras:
    All of the bonus features can be found on the Blu-ray disc. Only the audio commentary can also be found on the UHD disc.

    • Deleted and Extended Scenes (4:42)
      Four deleted/extended scenes. Play All or select from “Beautiful, Cunning, and Ruthless”, “Your Friend is Alive”, “Sand in My Mouth” and “She’s Escaped”.
    • Cruise & Kurtzman: A Conversation (21:15)
      Star Tom Cruise and director Alex Kurtzman have an intimate discussion about how the film came about, working together again, casting the film and working with the other actors, taking inspiration from the old Universal monster films, the balance of practical and CGI effects, kicking off the Dark Universe cinematic universe, and more. Includes behind-the-scenes footage and clips from the film.
    • Rooted in Reality (6:52)
      The cast and filmmakers talk about grounding the film in science and the modern world while honoring the tradition and horror of the monster movies. Includes behind-the-scenes footage, production photos/artwork, and interviews with director/producer/co-writer Alex Kurtzman, stars Tom Cruise (“Nick Morton”), Russell Crowe (“Henry Jekyll”) & Annabelle Wallis (“Jenny Halsey”), producers Chris Morgan & Sean Daniel, production designer Jon Hutman, animation supervisor Glen McIntosh, executive producer Jeb Brody, set decorator Jille Azis, supervising art director Frank Walsh, and Natural History Museum curator James MacLaine.
    • Life in Zero-G: Creating the Plane Crash (7:32)
      A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the amazing plane crash sequence, which was actually partially filmed in zero gravity conditions! Includes interviews with stars Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis, director Alex Kurtzman, executive producer Jeb Brody, special effects supervisor Dominic Tuohy, Zero-G pilot Jean-François Clervoy, visual effects supervisor Erik Nash, 2nd unit director/stunt coordinator Wade Eastwood, 2nd unit director of photography Andrew Rowlands, and property master David Cheesman.
    • Meet Ahmanet (7:39)
      A look at the character Ahmanet, casting the role, and the actress behind the mummy. Includes behind-the-scenes footage, camera test footage, production photos/artwork and interviews with director Alex Kurtzman, executive producer Jeb Brody, stars Sofia Boutella (“Ahmanet”) & Tom Cruise, visual effects supervisor Erik Nash, hair and makeup designer Lizzie Yianni Georgiou, special makeup effects designer David White, animation supervisor Glen McIntosh, 2nd unit director/stunt coordinator Wade Eastwood, and undead/dancer Claudia Hughes.
    • Cruise in Action (6:09)
      Behind-the-scenes look at some of the film’s biggest stunts. Includes interviews with director Alex Kurtzman, actors Jake Johnson (“Sgt. Vail”), Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis & Sofia Boutella, 2nd unit director/stunt coordinator Wade Eastwood, executive producer Jeb Brody, special effects supervisor Dominic Tuohy, producers Sean Daniel & Sarah Bradshaw, and picture vehicles supervisor Graham Kelly.
    • Becoming Jekyll and Hyde (7:10)
      The cast an filmmakers discuss working with Russell Crowe, his new take on the roles of Jekyll and Hyde and Henry’s office set. Includes behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with actors Russell Crowe, Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis & Marwan Kenzari (“Malik”), executive producer Jeb Brody, producer Sean Daniel, director Alex Kurtzman, production designer Jon Hutman, costume designer Penny Rose, set decorator Jille Azis, property master David Cheesman, and editor Gina Hirsch.
    • Choreographed Chaos (6:35)
      Behind-the-scenes look at the big showdown in the museum halls and streets of London. Includes interviews with producer Sean Daniel, visual effects supervisor Erik Nash, production designer Jon Hutman, director Alex Kurtzman, executive producer Jeb Brody, associate producer Kevin Elam, and actors Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis & Sofia Boutella.
    • Nick Morton: In Search of a Soul (5:43)
      A look at the character of Nick Morton, and whether or not he is good or evil. Includes behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with executive producer Jeb Brody, director Alex Kurtzman, and actors Tom Cruise & Annabelle Wallis.
    • Ahmanet Reborn Animated Graphic Novel (3:52)
      This animated graphic short explores Ahmanet’s descent into the underworld as she transforms into the Goddess of Chaos and Wrath.
    • Feature Commentary (1:50:05)
      Entertaining audio commentary with director/producer Alex Kurtzman, and cast members Jake Johnson (“Vail”), Annabelle Wallis (“Jennifer Halsey”) & Sofia Boutella (“The Mummy”). The cast is seeing the film for the first time as they talk about it. It’s so great to have cast members on an audio commentary—it seems like most of the film commentaries these days don’t include them. The participants share lots of fun production stories. However, they sometimes talk over one another.

     


    Final Thoughts:

    My Rating
    Film:
    Video:
    Audio:
    Extras:
    Recommended

    While I didn’t enjoy the story of The Mummy in this 2017 reboot as much as that of the 1999 version, the special effects and action sequences of this version easily blow that film away. The 4K UltraHD release provides stellar picture and sound along with a solid selection of bonus materials that is sure to please fans of the film. This film is the first installment of Universal’s new Dark Universe cinematic universe, and I look forward to seeing how this larger world is fleshed out as more of these monster film reboots are produced.