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The Mummy: Ultimate Edition

Most people go to movies for plebeian thrills, and Raiders of the Lost Ark is damn near perfect in that regard — its light mix of adventure, humor, violence and romance has seldom been duplicated, not even by its flawed sequels. The Mummy, however, comes as close as anything over the past several years. The best way to describe this goofy popcorn ensemble adventure is that it's what would happen if you crossed Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom with a zombie horror film by way of a Ray Harryhausen fighting-skeleton epic — then made it sillier. The plot is straight out of an old Hollywood serial: A ragtag bunch of adventurers in 1930s Egypt accidentally unleash an undead, nigh-invulnerable, utterly evil Egyptian priest. Then they spend the rest of the movie trying to kill him. Also in keeping with old serials, the characters are broadly sketched and numerous, and the underrrated Brendan Fraser brings a light touch and genuine comic timing to his Indiana Jones-ish lead role. However, people who are going in expecting a total creep-out will be disappointed; there's some pretty broad comedy here — but remember, it's not a horror movie, it's a monster movie. Big difference. Universal's The Mummy: Ultimate Edition improves upon their previous "Collector's Edition" discs by including both anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) and pan-and-scan (1.33:1) transfers on separate discs. Audio is available DTS 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 (English only) on the widescreen version; on the full-frame transfer are Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks in English and French, and an additional Dolby 2.0 Surround track in Spanish. Supplements include a commentary with director Stephen Sommers and editor Bob Ducsay (from the previous disc), a commentary by Brendan Fraser, and another track with actors Oded Fehr, Kevin J. O'Connor, and Arnold Vosloo; the 50-minute "Building a Better Mummy" documentary; the text-based "Egyptology 101"; a featurette on "The Mummy Returns"; storyboard-to-film comparisons; a photo montage; a textual "pharaoh lineage" supplement; a feature on the visual and special effects dissecting five passages of the film; three deleted scenes; and trailers.
—Alexandra DuPont

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