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The Mummy Returns (2001)

A movie directed by Stephen Sommers

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Unraveling Legends

  • Jun 26, 2008
  • by
Pros: fun, humorous, good adventure, endearing characters

Cons: slapdash CGI and an anticlimactic villain

The Bottom Line: Enjoyable but flawed...

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot.

"No harm ever came from opening a chest." ~Evie

"Yeah, right, and no harm ever came from reading a book. You remember how that one went?" ~Rick

Rick and Evelyn O'Connell, along with their capricious son Alex, have discovered the bracelet of the legendary Scorpion King who sold his soul to Anubis for the use of his invincible army. Resurrected by Meela, the latest incarnation of his beloved Anck Su Namun, Imhotep is back and ready to battle the Scorpion King for control of this invincible army!

Unfortunately for the O'Connells, Alex accidentally set in motion an irreversible confrontation with this terrifying figure from ancient legends and the bracelet is now locked on his wrist! Leave it to their son to start the next Apocalypse. When Imhotep swipes their son to act as navigator, the O'Connells are in hot pursuit and it is a race to save not only their son, but the world!

What is the meaning behind Evie's powerful visions of the past? Will Jonathan ever be able to hold onto any of the fabulous wealth he comes across? Will the O'Connells survive legendary perils and successfully confront both Imhotep and the Scorpion King? Will Imhotep's henchmen be driven insane by the clever and troublesome Alex? Only the gods know for sure!

~~~~My Thoughts ~~~~

"There is a fine line between coincidence and fate." ~Ardeth Bay

This 2001 family action adventure film earns a mildly cautionary rating mainly for violence, but there is perhaps even less of parental concern in this film than in the first of this Stephen Sommers' trilogy. The Scorpion King was a horrible addition to these works, in my opinion, and even old Arnie's "Conan" is still a better film than the Scorpion King. So, I wouldn't recommend wasting your time with that one. But does The Mummy Returns stand up to the original? Mostly, and here's why...

There's more action, the main characters are beginning to develop and show growth, and while the basic story remains relatively simplistic, the characters and action flesh it out nicely. The addition of Alex is natural and compliments both Rick and Evie very well. Each is able to grow as a character largely through their parenting of this child. Alex himself is a wonderfully comedic character simply by being a bright child, and this realism lends strength to an improbable situation.

The personal chemistry between Rick and Evie has blossomed into an ease with each other as people, a comfort with the skills of their partner that allows them to relax into their own, and yet they are still as innocently infatuated with each other as ever. Reminiscent of the eternal romance between Gomez and Morticia Addams actually, their relationship has achieved that perfect balance between work and play that couples rarely find, especially when they work together.

Alex: "Lady, I don't behave for my parents, what makes you think I'm going to do it for you?"

Meela: "Because your parents wouldn't slip poisonous snakes in your bed while you were sleeping."

I found the use of Reincarnation in this film to be quite interesting. Only the thriller, Dead Again, has really exploited this concept in a truly superlative manner, thus far. However, I was impressed that a simple action adventure film would tackle the subject at all, and I thought they did rather a nice job of making it work for them on a number of levels. It certainly made an interesting note within the relationship between Imhotep and Anck Su Namun! It kind of gives one hope that even the shameless Jonathan may find some spiritual enlightenment within this lifetime. Meela manages to be more chilling and menacing than Imhotep in this film, rather surprising from a mere mortal.

"Knowing my brother-in-law, he probably deserves whatever you're about to do to him. But this is my house. I have certain rules about snakes and dismemberment." ~ Rick

Humor is still solidly in place throughout the film with some running gags established in the first film making an appearance. The story is relatively simplistic, but still acceptable for an adventure film. I think audience may have been looking for a more developed plot this second time around. Sets, confrontations with villains, and even costuming are more elaborate this time around, so what doesn't work? It is inevitable that some confusion results when dealing with the subject of Reincarnation

Some of the CGI comes off as rather slapdash, particularly the Scorpion King himself, which is a big let down. This makes a lot of the final battle a bit anti-climactic. This is a creature who evokes fear and respect from Imhotep, but isn't really very impressive to viewers... which weakens both villains and through them, the heroes. The undead Pygmies were more impressive! This is probably the biggest failing of a rather decent second film in a trilogy.

Both Brendan Fraser and Dwayne Johnson showed some major dedication during filming. Fraser tore a spinal disk, cracked a rib, and injured his knees during The Mummy Returns, and Johnson suffered from food poisoning and sunstroke! I think it's a real shame that Rachel Weisz chose not to return for the final film in this trilogy, due out August 1st, 2008. Her character has been delightful, and this film fleshed Evie out far more than the first film. I hope that they were able to deal with Evie's absence in a good way, as I have enjoyed the first two even after repeated viewings and would hate for this to be a major downfall in the final film.

The Mummy Returns contains a rather large flaw, but it is still quite a gem for family entertainment. For the most part, it is a clever and amusing adventure carried well by endearing characters. They do a great job at giving us the illusion of a factual history for legendary figures while they entertain us. As long as you don't expect historical accuracy or stellar CGI, the Mummy Returns is a pleasant haunting.


Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good Date Movie
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older

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October 07, 2010
I liked the way that they introduced the new actress playing Evie. I got a giggle out of that. But as a whole the film was a let down --nothing like the third film, of course. That was a fiasco! Nice review.
More The Mummy Returns (2001 movie) reviews
review by . November 16, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: DVD has outtakes! Whoohoo!     Cons: Some ridiculous CGI, dialogue     The Bottom Line: While not as great as the first movie, it makes for another great adventure in the land of Egypt     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot. Because The Mummy was such a success, I guess its creators decided making a second one might not be such a shabby idea. Especially since all the actors were ready to get right …
review by . March 15, 2002
posted in Movie Hype
THE MUMMY RETURNS is a sequel to 1999's THE MUMMY. It is an Indiana Jones wannabe crossed with a classic horror flick and flavored with a dash of cutting edge special effects. The combination works brilliantly, bringing forth a modern action-adventure franchise full of Abbot and Costello self-parody.THE MUMMY RETURNS takes place 8 years after THE MUMMY ended. Rick O'Connell (Brendan Fraiser) has married Evelyn (Rachel Weisz) and they have produced an extremely resourceful and witty son named Alex …
review by . May 02, 2001
Pros: Great Specail effects.     Cons: Bad Pacing, little character development, many gapse in logic.     The Bottom Line: This is one Mummy that should have stayed Buried.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot. The Summer movie season is back and with it comes a slew of big budgeted films all vying for box office dollars. The Summer movie season is also the time when a barrage of sequels are unleashed …
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Quinn Blackburn ()
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Hello, my name is Quinn. :o) I also answer to Mom, YaYa, and occasionally Entwife. I enjoy Beauty wherever I find it... Nature, Music, Art in all its forms... I believe these to be true and sacred things … more
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Proving that bigger is rarely better,The Mummy Returnsserves up so much action and so many computer-generated effects that it quickly grows exhausting. In his zeal to establish a lucrative franchise, writer-director Stephen Sommers dispenses with such trivial matters as character development and plot logic, and charges headlong into an almost random buffet of minimum story and maximum mayhem, beginning with a prologue establishing the ominous fate of the Scorpion King (played by World Wrestling Federation star the Rock, in a cameo teaser for his later starring role in--you guessed it--The Scorpion King). Dormant for 5,000 years, under control of the Egyptian god Anubis, the Scorpion King will rise again in 1933, which is where we findThe Mummy's returning heroes Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz, now married and scouring Egyptian ruins with their 8-year-old son, Alex (Freddie Boath).

John Hannah (as Weisz's brother) and Oded Fehr (as mystical warrior Ardeth Bay) also return from The Mummy, and trouble begins when Alex dons the Scorpion King's ancient bracelet, coveted by the evil mummy Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo), who's been revived by... oh, but does any of this matter? With a plot so disposable that it's impossible to care about anything that happens, The Mummy Returns is best enjoyed as an intermittently amusing and physically impressive monument of Hollywood machinery, with gorgeous sets that scream for a better showcase, and digital trickery that tops its ...

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Director: Stephen Sommers
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: May 4, 2001
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Stephen Sommers
DVD Release Date: July 08, 2008
Runtime: 130 minutes
Studio: Universal Pictures
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"Dashed Expectations"
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