Web Campaigns: Mummy Returns, Tomb Raider, A.I.

The Mummy Returns
The Mummy Returns  
© 2001 Universal  
As is the case with almost all official sites, you'll need the latest Flash plug-in to take advantage of "The Mummy Return's" full offerings. The download is worth it, however, because this site is a fine example of just how cool Flash can be. The animated menus and hidden goodies give it the feel of a collector's DVD.

You can waste a lot of time at this site engaging in mindlessly entertaining tasks such as searching for characters in mazes and chucking knives at homicidal mummies. Unfortunately, time is also wasted in less interesting ways because the navigation isn't intuitive. For example, if you want to find production stills you'll have to click on the "British Museum" area then click on "Art Gallery." A site map would alleviate the confusion for most people, but I would have been better served by blinking text directing me straight to the Rachel Weisz pictures.

When you've had your fill of scuttling scarabs and moaning mummies, check out our "Mummy Returns" review.

Premiere: 5/04/01

Tomb Raider
Tomb Raider  
© 2001 Paramount  
Upon entering this beast, the site becomes a full-screen affair that wraps every pixel of your monitor in a "Tomb Raider" glow. Be warned, Tombraider.com is hard to hide from peeking coworkers and meddling managers.

While it's doubtful "Tomb Raider" the movie will have much substance, the Web site actually has some depth. Typical fare, such as movie stills and the trailer, is mixed with extensive production information, including a rare look into the months of pre-production it takes to assemble a big-budget movie. If you're looking for a laugh, click on the "Who is Lara Croft?" link to see how Lara has morphed from a videogame vixen to a protagonist with a tumultuous history. It's revisionist character development at its best.

Premiere: 6/15/01

© 2001 Dreamworks/Warner Bros.  
The official site for Steven Spielberg's "A.I." is par for the course, but the marketing wizards at DreamWorks and Warner Bros. certainly aren't slacking. Someone (or something?) has devised a complicated viral marketing campaign that takes hints from the "A.I." trailer and sprinkles them like breadcrumbs across various "A.I."-related Web sites. The trailer hints expand exponentially, with current estimates linking almost 40 separate sites to the project. The result is a global scavenger hunt that's attracting a lot of attention.

What's interesting is that DreamWorks and Warner Bros., co-producers of the film, haven't officially acknowledged the campaign, so there aren't any hard-and-fast rules to follow. Web surfers are left to their own devices, which allows an entire generation of geeks to feel like the Thomas Magnum of the digital age (minus the Ferrari and the Hawaiian estate).

You can get a jump on the hunt by visiting Coming Attractions, Ain't It Cool News, and the Cloudmakers forum at Yahoo Groups. Each of these sites contains clues and hunting tips. For general information, check out articles from Wired and ZDNet.

Premiere: 6/29/01

Posted: 05/03/01