With The Mummy 3 having hit theaters this summer, it’s not surprising to see Universal release The Mummy and The Mummy Returns on Blu-ray Disc to capitalize on moviegoers’ fascination with all things perfumed and exhumed. As we discussed in our full-length Blu-ray reviews of The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, the original film, like its theatrical counterpart, makes for a relatively impressive Blu-ray presentation, in video and audio as well as bonus features.
Just a few weeks after those films made their Blu-ray debut, D-BOX Technologies released an update for both that enables owners of a D-BOX Motion Controller and Actuators to literally ride along with Brendan Fraser and the rest of the team as they seek to once again banish Imhotep to the land of the less-than-living. The result in The Mummy makes for an impressive ride, both from a technical and immersion standpoint, and it serves as a great introduction to all things D-BOX.
Editor’s Note: to learn about D-BOX, check out our “What is D-BOX?” contributed article from D-BOX Technologies and our “How To” article about hooking up a D-BOX system to a PS3 or other Blu-ray player.
During the course of its two hours, The Mummy provides a diverse mix of scenes and action, setting the stage for an equally diverse mix of D-BOX movements. On occasion the seat or sofa — whatever you have attached to the D-BOX platform — will literally pan with the camera’s cinematic movements, but those are by far the most subtle of the motion codes. One step up from those subtle motions is the visceral thump that the Motion Controller delivers to your back and seat whenever characters fire their automatic weapons or, better yet, their shotguns.
In each case, the thumps graduate in intensity depending on the weapon at hand, as well as their respective distance from the camera. As gunfire gets closer to the viewer, so too does the thump of gunfire grow in intensity in your chair itself.
The most compelling D-BOX movements in The Mummy, however, are logically saved for the final third of the film, when the on-screen action intensifies and Imhotep truly makes his presence felt. The most memorable sequence from The Mummy, Brendan Fraser’s biplane flight through an Imhotep-possessed sandstorm, is also by far the most memorable D-BOX experience. Before Imhotep raises the desert sands, he slams his fist into the ground to blast the sand into the air. In the minutes leading up to this punch, the D-BOX movement is relatively calm as it follows the camera and acts almost like a tangible lullaby. This is truly the calm before the storm.
At the precise moment Imhotep slams the ground, the D-BOX Actuators spring into action with a jolt that coincides with a visceral thump reverberating through the chair. Quite literally, this motion made us jump — a perfect movement companion to the on-screen action. Once the sandstorm takes to the air, however, the movement really kicks in, with the platform following the biplane’s motions through the sandstorm and, better yet, tipping realistically toward the ground as the plane glides down a steep desert mesa.
Oddly enough, the second most-memorable D-BOX scene in The Mummy takes place when Imhotep is trying to resurrect Anuck-Su-Na-Mun, his long-since mummified lover. As Imhotep calls upon her soul, it appears in a purple cloud hat rolls over the altar like a roiling purple fog. Whereas this is nothing more than a neat CG effect for standard moviegoers, those who own a D-BOX actually feel as though they’re riding atop this purple wave, a very different and more-subtle motion than the biplane scene, but one that’s only marginally less impressive. If nothing else, it really shows the diversity of motion that the D-BOX platform is capable of re-creating.
As fun an adventure as it may be, The Mummy isn’t exactly the best Blu-ray release this summer. However, the inclusion of D-BOX Motion Code definitely increases its allure, not to mention the overall immersion you experience while watching it. In fact, watching The Mummy with a D-BOX platform actually makes the film a pleasure to watch — an impressive feat, considering Brendan Fraser isn’t always associated with “compelling film.” It’s also a darn fine way to show off a D-BOX system to friends and family. We should know; we’ve done that many times already, and each person has left smiling.
- Score: 8.5
— Jonas Allen