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The Mummy Returns

The Mummy Returns

A Band Aid Solution?

by Johnny Bray

One thing for which I'll give The Mummy Returns credit is promoting the movie based on the world's shortest supporting performance. Months before it even came out, there was mega-hype about The Rock starring as The Scorpion King. Everyone involved with the film was stating how happy they were with his performance, and how he's clearly the star of the film.

Anyone who went to see this movie to see The Rock was undoubtedly disappointed. He appears for the first five minutes, and that's it. His dialogue is a mere two lines (both spoken in an ancient language), and he yells about six times. The rest of his performance is fighting and walking. So how is it much different than his act on the WWF?

Or maybe that's what they wanted...

Fortunately, I'm neither a fan of wrestling, nor The Rock, so his participation in the film was irrelevant to me. However, I did really enjoy the first Mummy, and was looking forward to this one.

The Mummy Returns is everything you loved about the first one, without any sort of interesting story, and with the addition of two annoying new characters. It picks up eight or ten years after the events in the first one (some sources say eight and some sources say ten, so pick whichever you like); Rick and Evelyn are now married, and have an eight-year-old son (which leads me to believe that it's ten years after the first one - even though one of the producers even says it's eight). Evelyn (Rachel Weisz) is still interested in mummies, and Rick (Brendan Fraser) always comes along for whatever reason.

Another group of people is interested in digging up Imhotep again. Why? I have no idea. From what I gather, they want to dig him up because he's the only one "tough enough" to fight The Scorpion King. What I can't figure out is why they want to wake up The Scorpion King if all he's going to do is cause trouble for everyone (even the bad guys). There's some mishmash about killing him in order to take control of his army and, in turn, take over the world. But once The Scorpion King dies, his army disappears. So that may make it difficult to take control of his army. Oh, and here's another question for you: why is the reincarnation of Anck Su-Namum suddenly involved? Why did Imhotep want to sacrifice Evelyn if he had a perfectly good reincarnation of his girlfriend already available?

Normally I try to avoid asking questions like that. But there's so much here that just doesn't make any sense to me. It's clear that the "story" to this movie was made after the first one had already become a success.

Anyway, all the main actors from the first film are here: Fraser, Weisz, Arnold Vosloo, Oded Fehr, John Hannah and Patricia Velasquez. Freddie Boath plays the O'Connell's eight-year-old son. Note to Hollywood: not all kids necessarily have to be really annoying, and a hundred times smarter than the bad guys. We're also introduced to Izzy (Shaun Parkes), the annoying sidekick whose purpose is to do two things: 1) introduce a whole bunch of fancy technology that helps the heroes in their hour of need, and 2) show up right when it looks like the heroes can't possibly get out of this one. Stephen Sommers also returns as writer and director.

At least it looks like he had fun.

It's also interesting to note how technologically advanced the ancient Egyptians were. They have fancy keys and doorlocks, and even a holographic map contained inside a bracelet. Once you put it on, it shows you the exact way to the location of The Scorpion King. Boy, I really wish we had that kind of thing in this day and age. We'd never have to worry about folding up a map again. Kudos to those Egyptians.

The 1999 version of The Mummy was the perfect combination of action, adventure, and humor. The Mummy Returns is trying to give us more of all three, and ends up overloading us. Though it's not as horrible as you would think after reading this review, it's definitely not up to par with the first one. Just sit back and watch it, and try not to ask as many questions as I did. I'm sure it's much more enjoyable that way.

As far as the DVD goes, the picture and sound are great. We get 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen (16x9 TV compatible), and 5.1 Dolby Digital. Both are used very well in a movie like this.

The extras, though they look good on the back of the box, are pretty lame. Included are an exclusive conversation with The Rock (which is actually a five-minute promotional interview), a bunch of promotional crap for The Scorpion King (the movie; which comes out next summer), a "Spotlight on Location" (several promotional interviews), a feature commentary (the only decent feature), visual and special effects formation, outtakes, a Live music video, Egyptology 201 and the trailer.

Before the movie starts, you're subjected to a sneak peek (i.e. theatrical trailer) to next summer's The Scorpion King. Let's just say it looks pretty bad. Universal needs to learn not to use their DVDs as a means of promotion for other movies. I really can wait for the inevitable The Mummy Returns: The Ultimate Edition DVD that will conveniently come out about a month before The Scorpion King hits theatres. It will undoubtedly contain a second disc, and two extra features (which will both be related to The Scorpion King in some way).

The Mummy Returns, from Universal Home Video
130 min. anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 TV compatible, Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, Arnold Vosloo, Oded Fehr, Patricia Velasquez and The Rock
Produced by James Jacks, Sean Daniel
Written and Directed by Stephen Sommers


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Updated May 13, 2006