It is a time of celebration here at Universal Monsters Universe. Not only did we officially launch but we are also celebrating “March of Mummies,” during which we have covered everything about The Mummy including a discussion of the 1932 film, a review of the 1999 film and its subsequent soundtrack, theme park ride and toys. In 2001, Universal released a sequel, The Mummy Returns bringing back Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser), Evelyn “Evy” O’Connell (Rachel Weisz), Jonathan Carnahan (John Hannah), Imhotep (Arnold Vasloo), Ardeth Bay (Oded Fehr) and Anck-su-Namun (Patricia Velasquez). They also introduced two new main characters, Alex O’Connell (Freddie Boath) and The Scorpion King (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson).
In the year 3067 B.C., the Scorpion King and his army were driven out of Thebes by Egyptian forces and forced to wander the desert in retreat where they all perished except him. He prays to Anubis to spare his life and defeat his enemies. Anubis answers, giving the Scorpion King control of his armies in exchange for eternal control of the Scorpion King’s soul.
It is 1933, ten years after the events at Hamunaptra. Rick and Evy are married and have a son named Alex who accompanies them on their expedition in Egypt where they find the bracelet of Anubis. After barely escaping the tomb, they head back to London where Alex gets too curious and puts the bracelet on, showing him a map to the Oasis of Ahm Shere. He is kidnapped and becomes the hostage of a resurrected Imhotep. It is up to Rick, Evy, Jonathan and Ardeth to save him and stop Imhotep…forever.
The Mummy Returns is an excellent movie but unlike the first one, it is purely meant to be an action-adventure film. There are plenty of mummies such as soldier mummies and new pygmy mummies in the Oasis of Ahm Shere. There are new characters like the cult members, led by British Museum curator Baltus Hafez (Alun Armstrong) and his enforcer Lock-Nah (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), who resurrect Imhotep and kidnaps Alex. Rick hires an old friend named Izzy (Shaun Parkes) who flies a blimp-looking vehicle reminiscent of something out of Treasure Planet. Ardeth Bay is much more involved in this movie in the sense he stays with Rick from the beginning and not with the Medjai. Jonathan still provides great comic relief and comes off as more of a child than Alex.
Evy is not the naive, clumsy museum worker from the first movie anymore. She knows how to handle herself in a fight and is more aware of the world around her. She even snipes cult members from a cliff in the oasis.
Anck-su-Namun is physically reincarnated as Meela, who leads the cult on the mission to resurrect Imhotep to be reunited with him.
Speaking of fighting, there is plenty of it in this movie from the priests breaking into the O’Connell home to the final battle with the Scorpion King, who is now just a CGI version of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson with a scorpion’s body. I was a bit disappointed that The Rock only appeared live in the opening scenes but after seeing The Scorpion King, it made sense as not to take away from either movie. The best fight scene in the movie is when Evy, who in a past life was Nefertiri, fights Anck-su-Namun to see who Pharaoh Seti I would have guard the bracelet of Anubis. It was done beautifully. The actresses were so in sync and the choreography was fantastic.
I want to add that if I had to save a woman, I would do it the way Rick saves Evy. He jumps over a wall of fire, scoops her up, gets her to safety, then grabs his gun and shoots at the cult members. That might be one of the greatest movie rescue scenes ever.
The Mummy Returns was a very well-done movie and I enjoyed every minute of it. The acting was just as great as the first one and there was plenty of adventure but I did enjoy The Mummy a bit more. It hearkened back to the 1932 classic and had that vintage movie feel to it. Jerry Goldsmith scored the movie beautifully and his music gave the movie a romantic quality. The Mummy Returns felt more like a cross between Indiana Jones and The Lost World: Jurassic Park, without the dinosaurs. The ending credit song, “Forever May Not Be Long Enough” by Live, is a catchy tune and added to that action-adventure tone of the movie. I would recommend this movie for The Mummy lovers and for lovers of action and adventure movies.
UMU gives The Mummy Returns four stars!