The Mummy Returns (2001) – Stephen Sommers

Two years after Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) and Evy (Rachel Weisz) returned the Mummy (Arnold Vosloo) to the ground, director Stephen Sommers brought him back for another adventure, and it serves as the next stop in DK Canada’s Monsters in the Movies, as I explore the chapter on Mummies!

Despite only taking two years between releases, this film is actually set eight years later in the film’s universe. Evy and Rick are married, they have an eight year old son named Alex (Freddie Boath). Evy’s brother, Jonathan (John Hannah) is still a bit of a goof, albeit an entertaining one, and Oded Fehr (an always under-used actor) returns as Ardeth Bey.

The film is a little more fanciful than the first, and features a ton of truly bad computer generated images that really makes one struggle with the suspension of disbelief. Some of it is truly horrible, and makes you realize how far that technology has come (even though today it can still look horrible without the right tech and budget behind it).

This time around, it is the Year of the Scorpion (1933) and the resurrected form of Anck-Su-Namun (Patricia Velasquez) is seeking to exhume Imhotep (Vosloo) again, and give him the opportunity to conquer the world with the bracelet of Anubis and his army… all they need do is defeat the Scorpion King (Dwayne Johnson when he was still simply going by The Rock – he also gets more than his share of bad CGI).

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The O’Connell’s, specifically Alex, is in possession of the bracelet, and the young boy is kidnapped, sending his family after him in a prolonged chase that ends in an oasis populated by undead pygmies, and a giant golden pyramid that houses the augmented form of the Scorpion King.

The story is a bit sillier than it needs to be, bringing in visions, reincarnation, and other goofy tropes (including the family card, though they do work hard to tie it all into the first film), but it just wants to be bigger than the first film. Not always a goof thing. It also just wants to be a fun popcorn movie and a nod to action films of yesteryear, and it succeeds at that, mostly, but that CGI can be so jarring.

Weisz looks stunning, and I like seeing how her character of Rachel, and Fraser’s Rick have changed since we last encountered them. They are still very much in love, have learned from one another, complement each other perfectly, and their onscreen chemistry is one of the high points of the film – they have a wonderful banter together, and they look great together.

There are some fun set pieces, but I think by deciding to go bigger, they lost a little of the sense of discovery and horror that played off the first one’s comedy and adventure so well.

Still, it makes for a fun popcorn ride, and lets Fraser shine as an action hero.

Revisit this one, or check out some other mummy titles in DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies!

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