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Dark Mechanicus JSG | Fortified Bunker, USSA | 05/05/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Let me say this right now: if you want a film about disaffected, angst-ridden French intellectuals whispering in seedy hotel rooms about the oppressiveness of their lives, then The Mummy & its brother-in-wrappings The Mummy Returns are not for you. On the other hand, if you're up for two frenetic hours of eye-popping special effects, occasionally breath-taking cinematography, a fast-paced and relentless story that doesn't drag, brilliantly choreagraphed action and melee scenes, and the lovely Rachel Weisz, then you could do far worse than buy this handsomely bound and bonus-stuffed Collectors Edition. In General: The stories in both films are fast-paced, frenetic, and mercifully concise; the reborn evil sorceror Imhotep's race against the Scorpion King to command the armies of Anubis the second film is slightly more engaging than the first movie, which is basically an effects-pumped retread of the classic 1930's Boris Karloff vehicle. Both movies are charmingly ghoulish and appropriately grotesque: scarab beetles devour their screaming victims, Egyptian sealed tomb death traps scald their victims to jelly, and the putrefying mummy, face bulging with grubs and maggots, proffers kisses to a cringing heroine! All of this is shot with cinematic aplomb and a complete suspension of disbelief that nonetheless takes itself not a whit seriously---and the result is that both films manage to out-swashbuckle the last two Indiana Jones films, and equal the thrills of the original. High-points: Director Stephen Sommers is a master at directing action scenes, a talent which cannot be praised too highly; if only Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson had Sommers to restore order to LOTR's muddled and uninspired melee sequences. Sommers, like George Lucas, keeps the audience apprised of where the action is and where the next blow is coming from, which enhances the suspense of the fight sequences. The climactic battle scene of Mummy Returns, where bedouins are pitted against an army of jackal-headed undead, is one of the more horrific battle sequences in cinematic history. The acting is competent all around, with Rachel Weisz consummately fetching, Brendan Fraser hamming it up, Arnold Vasloo menacing as the reborn Imhotep, and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson pulling off a final thrilling fight sequence with a warrior-scorpion body he might want to borrow for the WWF ring. Both films are offered up with ambience, panache, thrills, and enough Egyptian exotica to sate Ramses himself. The films have all the staples of Saturday cinema and then some: zombie pygmies, dastardly red-robed villains, a fog-shrouded Victorian London teeming with the unquiet, the smouldering confines of the Scorpion King's temple chamber, a well-choreagraphed cat-fight between the heroine and Imhotep's lost love, and scarab beetles, mummies, ghouls, and king cobras galore! The Mummy films rank as two of the most satisfying horror/adventure movies ever made, perfect for imaginative 10-year olds (in spirit and body) the world over."
Great set, great movies.
James Robert Dator | Greensboro, NC USA | 03/19/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For some reason this DVD set has been released in region four before anywhere else and has been on the Australian shelves going on 4 months now. So needless to say I can comment on this set.The two mummy films 'The Mummy' and 'The Mummy returns' are each fabulous films in there own right. This is due to one simple reason. That is the fabulous mixing of action and comedy that gives the films a lot of their charm.We meet Rick O'Connoll (Brendan Fraser) in the first film when he is deserted by his legionnaire cronies and finds himself left in the ancient city of Hamunaptra with a mummy waiting to awake. He meets Evelyn (Rachel Weisz) and her brother (John Hannah) who rescue him from a hanging as they are in search of the city of the dead. It all goes wrong when in exploring Evee reads from the book of the dead and awakes the Mummy (Arnold Vosloo) who is ready to resurrect his dead love Anuk Sun Amun (Patricia Velasquez) and is reluctant to have anyone stand in their way. The first film is essentially and action film however it can be enjoyed on a number of levels through the comedy, horror and romantic interludes that director Stephen Sommers ties in to the film. It's great to see such a classic horror character of the Mummy resurrected in a new film and it works so well.'The Mummy Returns' is exactly that. The Mummy, Prince Ihmotep is resurrected again to hunt and kill The Scorpion King (The Rock) legend says that whoever kills the scorpion king will get to command the armies of the underworld... and therefore take over the world. The film is set 10 years after the first film with Evee and Rick having a young son Alex, who mistakenly puts on the bracelet of anubis which will not only lead him to the scorpion king, but also kill him after one week. This means Rick is faced with a race against time when Alex is kidnapped.'The Mummy returns' has all the charm of the first film and then some. The action is intensified as is the comedic moments, which makes 'The Mummy Returns' such a fabulous film. Although the film is a sequel it works on its own as well, which allows the audience to engage the 2 films at any times. The only specific difference between the two titles is the first 'Mummy' seems to have more or a 'continuous watchability' it always seems I reach for my 'Mummy: Ultimate Edition' before my 'Mummy Returns' but nevertheless the films are great. The 2 DVD's are fabulous, the sound and picture are equally brilliant to the quality of the films. In the Australian edition a 35mm film frame was given with the box set allowing it to work as a collector's item. Nevertheless the box set is well worth buying just to sit back and enjoy two modern pieces of cinema, which are fun, entertaining and have great story lines."
Excellent films and excellent value for money
K. Anderson | UK | 01/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you haven't seen 'The Mummy' and it's fantastic sequel, 'The Mummy Returns' then you've really missed out on two of the most brilliant action/adventure films of our time.In 'The Mummy', ex-Foreign Legionnaire Rick O'Connell (Brendan Fraser), librarian, Evelyn Carnahan (Rachel Weisz) and her brother, all round scoundrel, Jonathan (John Hannah), travel to the City of the Dead, Hamunaptra. Here they accidentally unleash, Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo), a ancient Eqyptian priest who was cursed with the Hom-Dai - buried alive with flesh-eating scarabs.For years, Hamunaptra has been guarded by the warrior descendants of the Pharoah's bodyguard who condemned Imhotep to his death, the Medjai. Their leader is, Ardeth Bay (Oded Fehr), and he joins forces with Rick and Jonathan as they try to save Evelyn from being killed by Imhotep when he kidnaps her in order to use her in a ritual that will bring back the soul of his long lost love, Anck-su-namun.'The Mummy Returns' takes place ten years on from the original. The now married, Evelyn and Rick, along with their son, Alex, have discovered the bracelet of Anubis that once belonged to the Scorpion King. Evil doers need this bracelet to raise the army of Anubis to take over the world. In order to help them, the baddies raise, Imhotep, with the aid of a woman who is the reincarnation of Anck-su-namun.Ardeth turns up at Rick and Evie's house in London after following the baddies there. Alex is wearing the bracelet and has started a chain reaction which leads Rick, Evie, Ardeth and Jonathan back to Egypt when the boy is kidnapped.The special effects in these films are amazing and it's action from the word go. All the character's are very easy to like, even Imhotep is a sympathetic figure when you realise everything he did was for love. My personal favourite though is the mysterious Medjai leader, Ardeth Bay - luckily he appears more in the sequel which was a plus for me. In fact, the character of Ardeth was going to die in the first film but, Oded Fehr, portrayed him so charismatically that the writer, Stephen Sommers, changed his mind and let him live for the sequel. 'The Mummy' DVD includes commentary from Brendan Fraser on his own or Oded Fehr, Arnold Vosloo and Kevin J.O'Connor (Beni) - I recommend listening to the three men as they are very funny and you learn alot.The bonus disks contain many extra's including outtakes (from 'The Mummy Returns' - look out for the Star Trek homage), interviews with the writer, Stephen Sommers and The Rock (Scorpion King), facts on Egpyt and a music video.There's so much on them that it'll keep you busy for hours. Plus, the case it comes in is also well thought out and the disks actually form part of a big picture that opens out.This really is excellent value for money, well packaged and extremely interesting. Buy it, you won't be disappointed."
Adventure is Reborn
Brendan L. Agnew | Nowheresville, OK, USA | 04/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Oh, I REALLY hate mummies."
- Rick O'ConnellAfter cutting his teeth on family friendly adventures like Disney's Huck Finn and The Jungle Book, writer/director Steven Sommers was given the task of remaking The Mummy for a new generation of moviegoers. Taking pages from Raiders of the Lost Ark and drawing on his own experience from previous movies, Sommers crafted a fun supernatural adventure that plays like a true matinee. And it is a true wonder.It is the 1920's. Rick O'Connell, adventurer and mercanary, is sprung from jail by a beautiful British librarian and her questionable brother in the hopes that he will lead them to the lost city of Hamunaptra, City of the Dead, said to contain the wealth of Egypt. However, there is a twist. 3000 years ago, the High Priest Imhotep was imprisoned in the Hamunaptra for his part in murdering the Pharoh. Cursed with the Hom-dai, he would become incredibly powerful should he ever be awakened. Guess what happens.The plot is fairly cliched and predictable, but enjoyable nontheless. Imhotep is, while rather evil, a person whose actions can be at least understood as he tries to ressurect his true love. The main cast is equally entertaining and impressive, with Brendan Frasier doing a fantastic Harrison Ford impersonation as O'Connell, Racheal Weis showing depth in her female lead character, and John Hannah providing some great physical comedy. Special note goes to Oded Fehr as the Med-jai warrior, Ardeth Bay. There are some great one-liners and some fantastic banter.Like Raiders, The Mummy is an action movie, and the action delivers. Sommers has a specific style of directing that is equally reminiscent of Spielberg and Micheal Curtiz, and he knows how to do GOOD adventure. The action pieces are just as tense and enjoyable as anything from Dr. Jones's exploits, but it never feels recycled or tired. From the opening confrontation between the French Foriegn Legion and the bandit Tuaregs (which is reminiscent of Van Damme's Legionaire, only not bad) to the final fight and escape from the City of the Dead, Sommers keeps the pace tight and exciting, and the characters impressive, entertaining, and funny.This movie does NOT take itself seriously, it's honest about it, and it is does so for a reason. It only asks that we have fun while watching. And this is a very easy thing to do. 5/52001 saw a sequel to The Mummy hit theaters, featuring the return of the entire principal cast from the first movie, and adding Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to the mix as the evil Scorpion King.Eight years after the events of the first movie, Rick O'Connell and Evylyn Carnahan have settled down, married, and have a son. A son who takes after his parents FAR too much. After accidentally beginning a countdown to Armageddon by opening the bracelet of the Scorpion King, young Alex is kidnapped. Imhotep has been awakened once again, and it's up to the adventurous parents to rescue him.Aided by the super-cool Arab ninja, Ardeth Bay, the pair set off on a race across Egypt to reach the Oasis of Am Sher before the Scorpion King's army of Anubis Warriors is used to enslave the world. The audience gets more background about each of the main charcters, from a strange tatoo that could signal Rick as a sacred warrior, to strange visions of the ancient world that show Evy as an Egyptian princess. It all ties into the story cohesively and systematically, but it is nice to get a fresh view of the characters that worked so well in the first film.Just like its predecessor, The Mummy Returns is a saturday matinee style adventure movie where the fate of the main characters, and often the world, hang in the balance again and again. There are more set pieces, bigger special effects, nastier monsters, and generally more of EVERYTHING. However, it never feels like it's only "more of the same," because Sommers always manages to make it fresh, like the chase through London on a double-decker bus, or the skirmish in Am Sher with a savage tribe of Pygmy mummies. Additionally, in the pre-Lord of the Rings era of early 2001, The Mummy Returns featured two of the biggest and most impressive battles scenes on screen, reminiscent of Spartacus and Braveheart in their scope.Most importantly, however, The Mummy Returns does not suffer from sequelitis. The story and characters translate so seamlessly from the first film that it feels as though is is merely a continuation of the first movie, rather than a sequel made to make some extra cash. The relationships have evolved, the characters, though wiser, are still just as endearing, and the story ties in more with the first movie than you would think. Additionally, it's nice to see an adventurer stick with his love interest, rather than finding new hubbies each movie, ala Indiana Jones and James Bond.All the acting in the second film is equally solid as the first, with the same tongue-in-cheek situational humor that makes the movie subtely poke fun at itserlf even as the characters are in dire peril. This kind of attitude toward the adventure movie keeps the mood light, even through some of the darker twists the plot takes. We know how it's going to end, and it's a heck of a lot of fun to watch this movie get there. Like its predecessor, The Mummy Returns is a case study in great matinee adventure, adding a modern twist to the genre. 5/5The extras on the DVDs are worth the price of admission and then some. Along with the falleries and trailers, the "Making of" segments on both movies are comprehensive and informative, with behind-the-scenes looks at the cast, locations, and visual effects. However, the commentary tracks on both Mummy movies are the best segment. Steven Sommers and editor Ducsay share experiences about the shoot, stories about the actors, and keep the back and forth both entertaining and interesting, and they seem to be having a generally good time all the way through.The complete package is one of the best adventure sagas in Hollywood today. The DVD quality is fantastic, and the extras are some of the best available. It's not going to become a timeless classic, but The Mummy Collection is the best way to kill an afternoon since Raiders of the Lost Ark."
Fun and fabulous
Brendan L. Agnew | 04/04/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm certainly no fan of Brendan Frasier, but in these two movies, well, he sort of grew on me. I actually didn't like the first movie originally, but after seeing the second one I gave the first another try, and now I almost like it better than the sequel. What draws me to these is the atmosphere - everything dealing with the ancient Egyptian ruins is wonderfully portrayed. I really felt as if I was in some fabulous, lost civilization. And when they do flashbacks to ancient times, the imagery is breathtaking. The special effects - which are either as subtle or spectacular as the scene calls for - are blended so seamlessly with the live-action stuff that you don't even notice they're special effects.The action in both movies moves along nicely, and the characters are likable and sympathetic. I found myself rooting for them - yes, even Frasier's character. In the second movie the bad guys (Imhotep and Anck Su Namun) steal the show, but it's just the sort of release from the goody-goody lead characters that is needed to keep the movie from getting too sugary sweet. I've watched these movies every time they'e been on TV, so I've seen both probably five times, but still feel the need to buy the DVD's. They're just that good. If you want to forget all about reality for a couple of hours and travel to an exotic place for an exciting adventure, check these out."