By Marc Bernardin
Updated April 24, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
The Mummy: Keith Hamshere

Timed to the upcoming theatrical release of ”The Mummy Returns” comes The Mummy Ultimate Edition, the DVD of the first Brendan Fraser horror adventure throwback. We’ll not get into the somewhat deplorable move on Universal’s part to release this two disc package a little more than a year after the company offered up the ”Collector’s” edition — after all, who other than collectors would even think about shelling out the cash to buy this thing twice? — and concentrate on whether the ”Ultimate” Mummy is worth it.

It all boils down to what you get now that you didn’t get before. For starters, the first disc includes two new commentaries to join the holdover track by director Stephen Sommers and editor Bob Ducsay: one from the amiable Brendan Fraser and another from supporting cast members Oded Fehr, Kevin J. O’Connor, and Arnold Vosloo. (As is usually the case, the supporting players have the better anecdotes, and the fact that the three of them were in the same room helps make it more of a jovial, conversational reunion than Fraser’s one man band track.) The 45 minute ”making of” doc and the stale text based Egyptology 101 supplement were lifted from the Collector’s Edition.

The biggest offense of the set comes on the second disc: Among the visual effects breakdowns and storyboard comparisons sits a 20 minute behind the scenes look at ”The Mummy Returns,” which manages to give away a couple of major plot points. Seeing as this DVD is targeted squarely at the same kind of people who hate spoilers, why ruin the experience for them? To sum up: Is this a bad disc? No, and if you don’t already have this movie, this is the version you oughta buy. Does it show a fundamental lack of respect for the diehard fan? Bet your britches.

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