The MUMMY Rises Again
Rarely does a sequel live up to the original but The Mummy Returns comes close. Moviegoers apparently agree, making The Mummy Returns top at the box office with $5,729,351 in ticket sales in its first weekend.
Written and directed by Steven Somers, this long awaited second installment to the Mummy series (with the prequel The Scorpion King due out later this year or next) is set in 1935, ten years after the events from the first film. Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) and Evelyn ‘Evie’ Carnahan (Rachel Weisz) are now married with a nine-year old son, Alex (played by newcomer Freddie Boath) who embodies both his father’s sense of adventure and his mother’s smarts.
Turns out that, once again, Imhotep, the bad guy from the first film who tried to take over the world, has risen from the dead. This time he has an accomplice, his reincarnated love Anck-Su-Namun (Patricia Velazquez). But this time he’s also got a new goal: to get control of the Scorpion King’s (Dwayne Johnson, a.k.a. The Rock) invincible army of decaying dog-like warriors and to take over the world.
To accomplish this feat, Imhotep needs an artifact that just happens to be in the possession of Alex O’Connell. Alex is kidnapped and off goes the whole O’Connell family after him, including Evie’s comical brother Jonathan (John Hannah) and the black clad desert guy Ardeth Bay (Oded Fehr).
The rest off the movie is basically eye candy--but good eye candy--with evil (but funny) pygmies, two huge field battles, Imhotep’s tidal wave, cool fight scenes, an air balloon, more crawl-under-your-skin (literally) bugs, and –you guessed it--more cool fight scenes.
One highlight of the movie, besides the visual effects, is Alex O’Connell. Alex isn’t as annoying as most movie kids. He’s the classic kid, but maybe just a little too smart for a nine-year old. He adds some comedic relief by doing such things as pestering his captor all the way to their destination with the question of “are we there yet?”, and by saying to the Mummy, “My dad’s gonna kick your ass!”
The only letdown in The Mummy Returns is the Scorpion King. The much advertised appearance of WWF’s The Rock is just that - an appearance. All you see of Dwayne Johnson is his snarling and grunting in the first five minutes of the movie--something he does anyway in his day job. We don’t see him again until the end when he’s a half-human, half scorpion creature-computer generated and badly rendered. The CGI makes the scorpion part of the body look okay, but the human half looks like a bad action figure toy--definitely not the same quality as the rest of the CGI’s in the film.
The Mummy Returns has blown out of the starting gate with high tickets sales and marks the beginning of the summer film boom. If you're a fan of the first Mummy you will lose yourself in the fun of this one. And, as long as you don’t take the movie more seriously than it takes itself, it is worth the price of admission.