I recently picked up a couple of the newer IMAX 3D releases, and also had a chance to get an advanced copy of "Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs." Who doesn't love mummies after all? If nothing else, the 3D presentation should make the desert look great! While my experience with these 3D IMAX films has ranged from great (The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti) to not-so-good (Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia) to painful (Ultimate G's: Zac's Flying Dream), I wasn't sure what to expect of this film. A melding of science, history and archeology--the film is an interesting introduction to a number of topics. It is, however, definitely geared toward those with a limited knowledge base in these particular subjects.
Narrative: Largely an educational effort, the film combines modern scientists with dramatic recreations. There is a certain cheesy appeal to the actors portraying their historical counterparts, but they service brief snippets of history as opposed to any in-depth story. The film wants to convince us of the scientific and medical advances that studying the mummies can provide, but it's not a particularly compelling argument as presented. The film is most intriguing in its archeological component. I am, by nature, fascinated and fairly well versed on mummies--so nothing was groundbreaking. Geared at the pre-teen to early teen market, however, the film is a nice blend of material.
Features: Not a huge selling point, by any means, a "making of" featurette is provided that is approximately half as long as the original production. With the expansion of the DVD market, we've become pretty savvy about special effects and green screen technology--so there's nothing here that goes beyond rudimentary movie making. There are also a few trailers provided.
3D: OK, I know this is all anyone really cares about--but I'm telling you, if you aren't interested in the topic than the 3D can't really salvage any story. For the most part, this is integrated 3D and very little attempts to slap you in the face or pop out of your screen. If this is a prerequisite, there are better 3D options available. I, personally, thought the film looked lovely with the extra depth. The desert vistas and archeological ruins are captured in vivid detail and as I'm not planning an Egyptian sojourn anytime soon--this was easily my favorite aspect of the film! About 3 1/2 stars or 4 stars for younger audiences. KGHarris, 3/11.