The Mummy Returns
PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):
In 3067 BC, the Scorpion King, leads his army on a campaign to conquer the world. Seven years later, the Scorpion King and his army are defeated and exiled to the desert of Ahm Shere. His men die of heat exhaustion, leaving only the Scorpion King. Vowing to give Anubis his soul for the power to defeat his enemies, an oasis is created to hide the Scorpion King’s pyramid and giving him a legion of demonic, humanoid jackal warriors to seek revenge. The Army of Anubis sweeps across Egypt, destroying everything in its path, but once their task is finished Anubis claims the Scorpion King’s soul and his army.
In 1933, Rick and Evelyn O’Connell explore a ruined mortuary structure in the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes with their son, Alex. They find the Bracelet of Anubis. In London, Alex puts on the bracelet, which provides him with directions to the oasis of Ahm Shere. Alex has seven days to reach the oasis, or the bracelet will kill him the moment the rays of the sun shine on the Scorpion King’s pyramid; at that point the Scorpion King and his army will also reawaken.
Alex is captured by an Egyptian cult who have resurrected Imhotep; they wish to use Imhotep’s power to defeat the Scorpion King, which would give him command of the Army of Anubis. The cult, led by Baltus Hafez, the curator of the British Museum, includes a warrior named Lock-Nah and Meela Nais, the reincarnation of Imhotep’s love Anck-su-namun. The O’Connells set out to rescue Alex, accompanied by Evelyn’s brother Jonathan and the Medjai Ardeth Bay. Rick’s associate from his past adventures, Izzy, a pilot, provides the group transportation.
The bracelet of Anubis gives Alex visions, directions to Ahm Shere that the cult follows. At each location, Alex leaves clues for his parents, who follow in Izzy’s dirigible. Imhotep uses the Book of the Dead to give Meela Nais the soul of Anck-su-namun but by doing so he also allows Evelyn to unlock the memories of her previous life as Princess Nefertiri, keeper of the bracelet of Anubis and the daughter of Pharaoh Seti I. Lock-Nah discovers that Alex has been leaving clues, so Imhotep makes a wall of water that attacks the dirigible. The O’Connells crash in Ahm Shere. Izzy stays with the dirigible in hopes of repairing it. The O’Connells attack the cult, and both groups are attacked by pygmy mummies. Rick retrieves Alex while Ardeth Bay kills Lock-Nah. They escape from the pygmies, which kill most of the cult except for Baltus. Imhotep and Anck-su-namun are unharmed due to Imhotep’s powers and Anck-su-namun being the keeper of the Book of the Dead.
Rick and Alex run to the pyramid, barely making it before sunrise. The bracelet detaches from Alex’s arm. Ardeth regroups with the Medjai in case the army of Anubis rises. Anck-su-namun stabs Evey and Rick pursues Imhotep. Baltus puts on the bracelet and revives the army of Anubis. As Imhotep walks into the pyramid, Anubis takes his powers, wanting Imhotep to fight as a mortal. Rick finds Imhotep summoning the Scorpion King and they fight. The Medjai engage the army of Anubis. The Scorpion King interrupts Rick and Imhotep’s fight. Imhotep tells the Scorpion King that he is the Scorpion King’s slave, but Rick was sent to kill him. During Rick and the Scorpion King’s fight, the Scorpion King kills Baltus. Jonathan and Alex collaborate to steal the Book of the Dead from Anck-su-namun. Alex uses the book to resurrect Evelyn, who duels with Anck-su-namun.
Alex and Jonathan go to help Rick. It is revealed that the scepter that Jonathan has been carrying extends into a spear that can kill the Scorpion King. The Medjai seemingly defeat Anubis’ army despite heavy casualties, but see that they have only defeated the vanguard, and the full army is charging towards them. However, before the Anubis warriors hit the Medjai lines, Rick succeeds in killing the Scorpion King, sending him and his army back to the Underworld. The Scorpion King’s death causes Anubis to turn the oasis back into a desert, and the oasis is being sucked into the pyramid. Rick and Imhotep are hanging from the edge of a pit that leads into the underworld. Evelyn risks her life to save Rick, but Anck-su-namun refuses to save Imhotep, who falls to his death. Anck-su-namun soon falls into a scarab-filled pit and is devoured.
The O’Connells reach the top of the pyramid, which is being sucked into the desert. Izzy arrives with a modified dirigible and saves the O’Connells. Jonathan grabs the diamond at the top of the pyramid. Ardeth Bay salutes them as they fly over him
Some people hold this film in the highest regards, saying it is the best entry in the franchise. I am not sure I agree with that, I don’t totally disagree. The Mummy Returns is, if nothing else, not a disgrace to other great franchise sequels.
For all that praise this film, there just as many, if not more that chide it for being such a departure from The Mummy or being a bit on the episodic side.
My personal take on this film is that it is a sequel, therefore they wanted to move the story along and not repeat the first film. In that regard, they did what they set out to do.
So, what worked for me?
The story of Anck-Su-Namun and Princess Nefertiri . In the first film, we learned about Imhotep, but it was obvious there was a story itching to be told about the women that more or less caused him to be cursed for all eternity.
The comedic touches are still there. It is always a treat for me when a flick doesn’t take itself too seriously. This is one of the reasons why I love these films so much, they are able to insert those moments of levity seamlessly in there now and then.
The special effects. In the first film, there was giant sand dunes and whatnot, which were spectacular, but this time we get things on a bigger scale, such as the raging Nile River shooting up and bringing down the balloon.
Scenery. In films of this nature, I’m always gushing about how gorgeous the backgrounds are, and this is no exception, especially when they get to the city of Thebes.
They dynamic between Rick and Evy is better this time around, though I think I preferred her as the meek little librarian from the first film.
What doesn’t work?
The Scorpion King. I realize this was supposed to be The Rock’s big screen debut and for what they did with him, it was a good debut. However, I just think his character was one of those that was just thrown in there as a sad attempt to flesh out some kind of false history.
Imhotep. This guy is a force to be reckoned with, even if his mortal, but with a couple of exceptions, they really just wasted him. He mostly walked around smirking and grunting and talking in that foreign tongue, barking orders. Not really that intimidating, especially when you consider how imposing he was in the first one.
Alex and the cult. Alex is the typical annoying pre-pubescent boy who is just annoying for the sake of being annoying and getting into everything. You know the type. The cult just seemed like the token bad guys who were there just to see that there was a way to get the plot moving forward without having to make the ending on the first film seem like it never happened.
All in all, The Mummy Returns is good, clean fun (a rarity outside of family films these days). Now that I think about it, if there is a film that needs to be released in 3D, it is this and its predecessor, at least in my opinion. There isn’t much negative to say about this film. I highly recommend it to everyone!
5 out of 5 stars