From a decayed mummy, encased in a clay shell, to vast armies of terracotta soldiers and the risen dead, Digital Domain served up some gory visual effects for The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.


One of this summer’s big action adventure films, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is the third installment of Universal Picture’s Mummy franchise.

This time around the action moves from Egypt to China, where Jet Li plays the Mummy of the title – Emperor Qin, a ruthless Chinese ruler from 50BC who has been cursed to an eternity trapped in a terracotta casing.

Unearthed and awoken by Alex O’Connell, the now grown-up son of Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) and his British wife Evelyn, the Emperor Mummy is on a mission to reawake his army, which has been transformed into terracotta soldiers.

The film’s many visual effects posed some unique challenges for director Rob Cohen, who took over the helm of the franchise from Stephen Sommers. Cohen turned to visual effects houses Digital Domain and Rhythm & Hues, splitting the effects shots between the two based on each company’s speciality.

While R&H delivered most of the film’s creature work – including a three-headed dragon, and a Yeti – Digital Domain was responsible for the terracotta warriors and the Jet Li-inspired CG emperor mummy, as well as the major battles scenes between rival armies of undead warriors.