The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor – 4K UHD Blu-ray Review


Film Title: The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
Release Date: 2008
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 112 minutes
Region Coding: Region Free
Studio: Universal
Audio Formats: DTS:X
High Dynamic Range: HDR (HDR10)
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Formats Available: 4K UHD Blu-ray
Versions Available: 4K Blu-ray or 4K Ultimate Trilogy
Director: Rob Cohen
Cast: Brendan FraserJohn HannahJet LiMaria BelloMichelle YeohLuke Ford , Anthony Chau-Sang Wong

Mummy_3_01The Movie

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” finds the treasure hunting O’Connell family looking for the lost tomb of Emperor Han (Jet Li). We learn that Emperor Han was cursed by Zi Yuan centuries ago, transforming Han and his army into…wait for it….mummies. We transport to the year 1946, to find Rick (Brendan Fraser) and Evelyn (Maria Bello). The O’Connell family, due to their success at this treasure hunting gig, are asked by the British government to escort “The Eye of Shangri-La” to China. This stone is capable of resurrecting Han, thus pointing the way to Shangri-La and the eternal pool of life. Soon, the O’Connell’s are betrayed by family friend Professor Roger Wilson, who hopes to gain something of sorts by helping a General Yang (Anthony Chau-Sang Wong) resurrect Han and his army. What results is a film that, essentially, is a re-telling of the second film; however, is mostly successful to the new locales used.

Even though “Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” tends to steal a lot of its material from the predecessor in the series in “The Mummy Returns”, this film is still able to hold its own mainly due to the varying locales featured, as well as the addition of Jet Li. Having been a fan of Li for quite sometime now (seriously see “Unleashed” if you haven’t), I was pleased when I found out he was being added to this one. Not only does he add international appeal for a franchise, but the fact that he almost always does his own stunts, helps to add sense of reality to a film.

Movie Rating: 3.5 (out of 5)

the-mummy-tomb-of-the-dragon-emperor2Video Quality

According to the technical specifications on IMDb, the third film “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor“, presented in the 2:40:1 aspect ratio, was shot on 35MM and Super 35MM film using the Arricam LT, Arriflex 235, and Arriflex 435 ES cameras. This is presented in full 2160p 4K resolution with HDR (HDR10) High Dynamic Range.

While the other two “Mummy” films looked quite impressive on 4K UHD Blu-ray, I was blown away by the image quality here. Colors are fantastic, whether the barren whites of snow, or the hot, warm yellows of the desert. HDR allows some of the darker sequences to have that next level pop to them. Facial close-ups result in accurate flesh tones, while wider shots never falter or lose quality. Physical detail, like that of the multiple different locales, as well as the varying outfits worn, showcase finite detail like that of stitches in the clothing, and textures of the building. Truly excellent work here, Universal.

Video Quality Rating: 5 (out of 5)

2008_the_mummy_tomb_of_the_dragon_emperor_004Audio Quality

Audio here on the 4K UHD Blu-ray is in the DTS:X immersive sound format. Just worth noting that the standard Blu-ray Disc version contained DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, in comparison. That core is still there in the DTS:X for those who don’t have height speakers to experience the “:X” part. It just goes back to a DTS-HD 7.1 MA core, and if needed then essentially a DTS core.

The first thing I noticed to this mix, was how active the low-end was. LFE is deep, immersive and intense throughout. The action sequences during the chase in China are some of the best demo moments of the entire trilogy. Dialogue is well reproduced with no instance of drop out, while he surrounds are active, with bullets zipping by, as well as the robust score creating a fine, detailed aural experience. Note: The ending battle between Rick and Han is something to witness… Check it out. Impressive.

Audio Quality Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)

still-of-jet-li-in-the-mummy_-tomb-of-the-dragon-emperor-(2008)-large-picture.jpgBonus Materials

  • A Digital Copy of the film is included, which is compatible with iTunes, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video and more. You redeem this with a code on paper insert in the various forms of packaging.

The 4K UHD Blu-ray includes no bonus materials what-so-ever, aside from subtitles and audio tracks in a few other languages. The Blu-ray Disc of the film is where the bonus contents are to be found.

On the Blu-ray Disc you will find the following:

  • Audio Commentary with Director Rob Cohen
  • Deleted Scenes (SD) – Roughly 11 minutes of deleted scenes are shown.
  • The Making of – This runs 23 minutes in length and focuses on how the film was made, from the weapons used.
  • From City to Desert (HD) – This runs 15 minutes and focuses on the varying locales used in the film.
  • Legacy of the Terra Cotta (HD) – This runs 13 minutes and looks at the history of the film.
  • A Call to Action: The Casting Process (SD) – This runs just shy of 5 minutes and looks at the different actors, and their involvement in the film.
  • Preparing for Battle with Brendan Fraser and Jet Li (SD) – This runs around 11 minutes and focuses on Jet Li and his fight sequences with Fraser.
  •  Jet Li: Crafting the Emperor Mummy (SD) –  This runs 8 minutes and focuses on the varying CGI effects used on Li’s character.
  • Creating New and Supernatural Worlds (SD) –  This runs around 8 minutes and focuses on the different sets used.

Overall, no new supplements are found on this release, with Universal just porting over the features found on the previous Blu-ray release.

Bonus Materials Rating: 2 (out of 5)

Closing Thoughts

While this film wasn’t deemed a ‘success’ by some folks (it DID gross over $400 million the box office Worldwide), I’ve always found it to be not as bad as its reputation states. The new locales, as well as the addition of Jet Li make this one worth watching if you haven’t.

On its 4K UHD debut, Universal has done this release proud with an impressive V/A presentation. While it was disappointing to see no new supplements, the release comes recommended, whether you decide to purchase the film solo or as part of the trilogy.

Lastly, it’s worth noting here that the individual releases are available like this for “The Mummy” franchise films from Universal, as well as the 2017 version, but it’s most important to emphasize that there is a box set on 4K UHD Blu-ray that has 3 of the films in the franchise called “The Mummy Ultimate Trilogy.” This is a much more affordable choice for most consumers if they enjoy all three of the films in the franchise.

In terms of 4K UHD Blu-ray release, this gets:
4.5 (out of 5) for video quality
4.5 (out of 5) for audio quality
2 (out of 5) for bonus materials

Overall Verdict:
Good Sequel / Excellent 4K

Available as:

the_mummy_tomb_of_the_dragon_emperor_4k2017 4K UHD Blu-ray

2017 4K “Ultimate Trilogy” Box Set