The Mummy Returns

The Mummy was such a guilty pleasure because it had a certain level of fun in it missing from other movies. The Mummy Returns is such a guilty pleasure is because everybody recognized what made the first one work, and slapped all the same elements back into this one. Back are all the principal cast, director and writer, and more importantly, a campy, self-deprecating sensibility, glossy special effects, and non-stop action sequences. So while The Mummy Returns may not be a good movie, it is a fun movie to watch. The Mummy Returns takes place eight years later. Rick O'Connell (Brendan Fraser, Monkeybone, Bedazzled) and Evelyn (Rachel Weisz, Enemy at the Gates, Beautiful Creatures) are married and have a young on named Alex (Freddie Boath). Alex has the courage and toughness of his father and the sass of his mother.

Imhotep (Arnold Voslooo, The Mummy, The Progeny) is back and again wants to rule the world. In a convoluted story by writer/director Stephen Sommers (The Mummy, Deep Rising) he needs the bracelet of the Scorpion King (Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, who, incidentally impressed people so much that he already has a Scorpion King prequel in the works). The O'Connells found the bracelet, and Alex currently has it on his hand. The bracelet shows the way to where the Scorpion King is buried, and Imhotep, along with his reincarnated lover Anck-Su-Namun (Patricia Velasquez, Committed, Turn It Up) kidnap Alex. The result is a race across Egypt, with Rick, Evelyn and Ardeth (Oded Fehr, The Mummy, Deuce Bigalow) chasing after Imhotep and Anck-Su-Namum. Rick is the type of character that Fraser plays well. It falls somewhere between tough action hero and goofy. He has the build of an action hero, and also has that clueless look that serves him well in so many other movies.

Like any good sequel, The Mummy Returns expands on the characters in the first, gives them expanded backgrounds, and gives a sense of closure at the end while setting up potential sequels. The witty banter between all participants is still there, although the sexual tension between Weisz and Fraser is gone. However, the script gives everybody sufficient opportunity to quip back and forth. It is this humorous aspect that lightening the tension that gives The Mummy Returns a lighthearted tone. Although there is plenty of danger, it seems nobody is in any real trouble. It's surprising that these people have time to quip, since Sommers packs in one lengthy action sequence in after another.

These epic scale action sequences actually can be a hindrance. There are just too many scenes of epic battles between thousands of men. They basically run into each other and fight for a while. Each subsequent time it happens makes the occurrence less dramatic and special. The Mummy Returns also overkills the special effects. While the effects here and in the first Mummy were good, they were not great. There was still an artificial look to many of the creatures. Here, the armies of Anubis and the little pygmy-like creatures still have a glossy, "look at me I'm CGI" sheen to them. And where exactly are the mummies here? On the other hand, the almost-fake looking enemies add a little campiness to the entire proceeding. Still, The Mummy Returns accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do, which is be a fun, popcorn movie.

Haro Rates It: Not Bad.
2 hours, 20 minutes, Rated PG-13 for adventure action and violence.

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