Action Movie October Edition: The Mummy Returns

(So sorry again for the delay, this week I have been scrambling to do things for Biketoberfest and it’s been exhausting.)

It is time for Action Movie Friday, where I treat an action movie like an action movie and not like a drama and stuff. All movie reviews are subjective and while I may like something, you might think it’s shit, and vice versa!

Title: The Mummy Returns
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release: 2001
Genre: action, horror, adventure
Starring: Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, Arnold Vosloo, Oded Fehr, Patricia Velasquez, Freddie Boath, Alun Armstrong, Dwayne Johnson, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
Director: Stephen Sommers
Writer: Stephen Sommers
Distributor: Universal
Budget: $98 Million
Box Office: $435 Million

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 47%

Gingersnaps Rating: 3 3/4 Gingersnaps!

Summary:

The past returns to haunt Evelyn and Rick O’Connell when the mummy Imhotep is dug up from the ruins of Hamunaptra. It is the egyptian year of the Scorpion and Imhotep and Anuk-Sa-Namun intend to take over the armies of the fabled Scorpion King and take over the world. They just need the key to show them the way, the bracelet of Anubis. A key that Evelyn is destined to protect and her and Rick’s son puts on starting them all on a quest to get to the resting place of the Scorpion King first. When Alex is kidnapped, it becomes a race against time and against Imhotep to beat the Scorpion King and save the world. All they need is a magic carpet.

Review:

Supposedly the morning after the Mummy opened in cinemas back in 1999, Universal called the director and went “We’re going to need another one.” And so The Mummy Returns was greenlit. Just like that. And there was much scrambling and figuring what the hell they were going to do when they’d destroyed the city and so on and so forth. So in the time honored tradition of every franchise, they decided to come up with a bigger bad guy!

Instead of directly facing off with Imhotep and Anuk-sa-namun, they become competitors in a race to get to the Scorpion King, kill said King and take over the army of Anubis that the Scorpion King commands. Cue a kidnapping and a long chase that involves visiting famous Egyptian temples and historical sites that ends with a lot of fighting. So it ends up being that the Mummy Returns is much less of a horror story and more of an adventure story. If the first movie hadn’t been adventure heavy, the tonal difference would have been shocking. If I was reviewing horror stories and giving out scary pumpkin or skull or ghost cookies, I would have to say that this failed as a horror story. Thankfully, I’m reviewing action movies and we’ll see how well this did as an action story.

Because this is more of an action story than a horror story, they plow right through what it took about an hour and a half to do in the first movie in reviving Imhotep and straight into a reincarnation plot. The past is still heavily influencing the present in the Mummy Returns. The story is once again about the parallels of the two love stories and what love really means. There was some mixing up of pyramids and triangles and the usual religious mix ups. Alex was an adorable example of how dangerous smart and clever children can be. (Apparently the actor loved the first movie so much he had it memorized and the crew used HIM as the movie expert.) But overall it’s as Rick says “Just like old times, huh?” And the old times was a fun film with witty dialogue and a happy ending that felt complete. That was again achieved here. One cookie.

There actually wasn’t a bit unnecessary explosion even by my lax and loose standards. No cookie.

The fight scenes however, were sufficiently entertaining. Evelyn has learned a lot from Rick and remembers skills from her past life. The weapons she and Anuk-sa-namun use are totally unrealistic to Egyptian culture, but it is so fun you almost can’t care. Ardeth Bay and Lock Na fight. Imhotep and Rick fight. There are mummies and a giant scorpion monster to fight. So lots of fun fights with visual gags. One cookie.

Evelyn and Anuk-Sa-Namun are once again the centerpieces of the story. Anuk-Sa-Namun is the villainess who in both of their lives, Evelyn is trying to thwart. In the beginning of the movie, Anuk-Sa-Namun is shown to be clever, smart and cruel as well as beautiful. She knows where Imhotep is, has lots of men to help her get to him and isn’t afraid to use death and threats of death to get her way. Once her memories are restored to her, she becomes less of a main player and Imhotep takes over. Which is sad because the reincarnated Anuk-Sa-Namun was fascinating, the original wasn’t nearly as clever. Her idea to get out of marriage with the Pharaoh to be with Imhotep was to kill Seti, then kill herself and have Imhotep resurrect her. Just saying, when death becomes involved, your death, it is a bad plan. Evelyn is once again smart and brave. She refuses to be passive and fights to the best of her ability. So, one cookie.

Once again, if you are an Egyptologist or a historian, this movie is going to drive you up the wall. Sai’s weren’t used in ancient Egypt. I feel that Evelyn’s clothes were far too ‘modern’ in feel. (Cold shoulder shirts in the 1930’s?) And they broke the rules of what Imhotep could do from the first movie. Water is not sand. I’m sorry. He had the power over the sands and would bring 10 plagues of Egypt. Not shove water about willy nilly. I know they were trying to recreate the sand scene from the first movie without it being exactly the same, but it broke their rules. I’m going to take out one bite of the cookie for that. Otherwise, nothing else really pulled me out of the movie.

The Mummy Returns is just as fun as the first Mummy movie. The director really understood what made the first movie good and continued with it. However it lacked a good explosion and didn’t stick to its own universal rules. Three and Three Quarter Cookies!

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