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Logo - The Mummy Returns - Universal Pictures

 Universal Pictures, VHS, DVD, 2001, Rated PG-13, 2 hr. 1 min.

The latest installment of The Mummy series comes 2 years after the original took audiences by storm. The story is set ten years after the original where we find Rick O'Connell (Brendan Frazier) and Evelyn (Rachel Weisz) living a storybook life including, a large English estate, wealth, jobs they enjoy, and a young son, Alex (Freddie Boath) who is strong willed, intelligent, and precocious. Of course this ends quicker than you can say sequel as the O'Connells are once again charged with saving the world.

This time it's not just the mummy they have to worry about as the movie starts with the story of the Scorpion King (The Rock) who, 5000 years ago, prayed to Anubis to give him the power to defeat his enemies in exchange for his soul. With the army of Anubis he quickly defeats his enemies but no sooner than he does Anubis claims his soul. This would pretty much end the sequel if it weren't for those pesky loopholes the Egyptian deities are so fond of. It seems that once every 5000 years The Scorpion King can be reborn to conquer the world.

Enter The Mummy, Imhotep, (Arnold Vosloo), and enter he must because it's a Hollywood production and big box office villains are never destroyed even if it really looks like they were in previous films. Imhotep's followers have reincarnated Anck-Su-Namun (Patricia Velasquez) and plan to do the same for Imhotep so he can be on hand to battle The Scorpion King and take control of the army of Anubis so he can rule the world. With me so far?

Back to the O'Connells, they throw a monkey wrench into the Imhotep's plans once again when they find The Scorpion King's golden bracelet which is actually a map to his temple and the key that awakens the king. Alex being a curious child gets the bracelet stuck on his wrist. Of course it can't be removed so Imhotep and his followers must take the child with them. Now all  the O'Connells have to do is save their son, defeat The Mummy, destroy The Scorpion King, send back the Army of Anubis, and save the world.

A very over the top story has to be matched with some over the top visuals. For the most part the special effects in The Mummy Returns are quite good even if they are a tad repetitive. If you enjoyed the effects in The Mummy you'll see virtually all of them again with a few new ones some of which work while others don't. Notable among the good effects were the pygmy cannibals who inhabited the oasis around The Scorpion King's temple. Perhaps the single worst effect in the film was that of The Rock as the undead Scorpion King which looked like it belonged more in an early 90's video game rather than a multimillion dollar Hollywood movie.

While the special effects were good and the plot had blockbuster written all over it the writing was awful. The dialog was thin and unimaginative and the story was weak. While this is a work of fiction it would have been nice to take a break from the action to develop the characters a bit more. For example, Ardeth Bay (Oded Fehr) is the leader of a secret society whose membership numbers thousands. In the sparsely populated desert every male member of a family must be part of this secret society. How secret can it be then? It would also have been nice to feel that the O'Connells actually cared about their son. Throughout the movie they fight to get him back but it just doesn't feel right. It also would have been nice if they could have figured out a way to show that Rick and Evie cared about each other in some other way than constantly embracing at awkward moments.

Another notable downfall was the final battle between Ardeth Bay's society and the Army of Anubis. Outnumbered and attacked by the undead legions of Anubis' army they suffered no casualties. The movie is purely fiction but let's not get ridiculous. Did they run out of fake blood or were they trying so hard to get that PG-13 rating that they couldn't afford a body or two?

The Mummy Returns borrows heavily from other movies. Perhaps the best part watching the movie was pointing out the direct rips. See if you can identify elements taken directly from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Indiana Jones, and African Queen.

While the action is fast paced and plentiful and the effects are decent the lack of good dialog and a meaty story makes the film over all just passable. If you haven't already seen The Mummy Returns wait until it comes out on DVD. If you just have to see it in the theater don't expect much because The Mummy Returns just doesn't deliver. Let's hope that director Chuck Russel gets it right in the third movie of The Mummy series, The Scorpion King, which will be a prequel to The Mummy

For more information about The Mummy Returns visit Universal Picture's official website for The Mummy and The Mummy Returns.


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QUICK FACTS

Studio

Universal Pictures

Genre

Action / Adventure / Horror

Rating

PG-13

Length

121 Minutes

Color

Yes

Sound

Yes

 

CAST

Actor / Actress

Character

Brendan Frazier

Rick O'Connell

Rachel Weisz

Evelyn O'Connell / Nefertiri

John Hannah

Jonathan

Arnold Vosloo

Imhotep / The Mummy

Oded Fehr

Ardeth Bay

Patricia Velasquez

Meela / Anck-Su-Namun

Freddie Boath

Alex

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

The Scorpion King

 

CREW

Stephen Sommers

Director / Writer

Bob Ducsay

Executive Producer / Editor

Don Zepfel

Executive Producer

Adrian Biddle

Director of Photography

Allan Cameron

Production Designer

John Berton

Visual Effects Supervisor

John Bloomfield

Costume Designer

Alan Silvestri

Composer

Neil Corbould

Special Effects Supervisor

Reviewed by: Hauntmaster 05/05/2001

 

 

 

 

 

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