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Reviewer: PSK

The Mummy Returns

Cast: Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, The Rock
Director: Stephen Sommers


There's a disease that runs through the filmmakers, producers and directors that makes a hugely successful movie. When people love a particular movie and the producer makes tons of money, instantly they get one idea on their minds: the sequel. On occasion they do wonders with "the sequel" and make a movie that is either bigger and more fun or unique on its own and better than the original. "Terminator 2" is a good example of this. Money Money is another example considering the Indian context.

On the other hand, most sequels are made by people going through the above said disease that causes the perfectly good filmmakers to make a film that is below the quality of their (or someone else's) original for the simple sake of cashing in on it while it's big.

Sadly, people suffering from this disease made "The Mummy Returns." This is sad for two reasons. The first is that it's far below the quality of "The Mummy," a film that was special not only because of its spectacular action scenes and effects, but also because it had humor to fill the dead spaces and an absolutely superb cast at their best.

The second reason this is sad is because they had the same cast as the original, same talented writer/director and even more special effects, but lost something important on the way. That something was the fun spirit of the original.

Here the plot is almost identical to the original; they just added Dwayne Johnson (a.k.a. The Rock) as "The Scorpion King." Over and above they just decided to bring Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo) and his girlfriend Anck-Su-Namun (Patricia Velazquez, who was much better when she didn't talk in the original) back for another joyride.

Taking place nine years after the original (though made only two years after), it's soon found that Rick and Evelyn O'Connell (Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz) are back in the Egyptian tombs, along with their 8-year-old son Alex (newcomer Freddie Boath). Of course they accidentally open some box and let some spirit out before others bring Imhotep back. They quickly bring Evelyn's brother Jonathan (John Hannah, who has gotten a lot giddier and less funny here than the original) back into the mix, and the guardian of the Mummy Ardeth Bay (Oded Fehr remember those men on horses clad in black) finds his way back to them.

Somewhere along the way it gets really good and for about 30 minutes it really feels like the first one. They're blowing stuff up, killing mummies while driving buses around like idiots -- it's fun! Then come the plot twists, which are confusing to say the least, and this whole reincarnation business, which is just plain silly.

About this reincarnation thing: A certain character has certain dreams that put them back in the time period of Imhotep, and before you know it every character in the film suddenly believes that they were a vital part of Egyptian life in one of their "past lives." This idea is added with confusing edits of that certain character in Egyptian. This makes the whole film shift in a confusing direction, which then spoils the fun that makes these types of films work.

The disease that kills this film also requires them to make it bigger, louder and to add new "mummies" to the mix. The bigger only means adding more special effects and there's so many effects here they're barely special at all.

Yes, this film is bigger, louder and more than the first film was. But more of the same and without the same fun spirit and humor that made the first one a hit. No doubt it'll make a ton of money as well, but let's just hope that Imhotep & Co. don't come back for yet another smash two years from now.

Reviewed by PSK >>>
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