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Laramie Movie Scope:
The Mummy Returns

Second verse, same as the first

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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May 5, 2001 -- "The Mummy Returns" is a sequel much like the original film, "The Mummy." It has the same writer-director, Stephen Sommers, most of the same actors and crew as the original, and the story is similar. Unlike most sequels, it is not worse than the original, in fact, it may be slightly better.

The sequel picks up eight years after the original story, in 1933. Rick O'Connell (played by Brendan Fraser, who reprises his role from the first film) and Evelyn 'Evie' Carnahan O'Connell (played Rachel Weisz of "Enemy at the Gates" reprises her role as well) are married and have a son Alex O'Connell (Freddie Boath). The O'Connell's are still digging around old Egyptian tombs, and once again, they awaken the spirit of an ancient power. This time, it is The Scorpion King (played by Dwayne Johnson, AKA, The Rock).

Compounding their problems are a bunch of robed guys who manage to bring back the nemesis from the first movie as well, the powerful wizard Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo reprises his role). Also along for the ride is Meela, the reincarnation of Imhotep's old girlfriend, Anck-Su-Namun (Patricia Velazquez reprises her role). They are aided by the fierce warrior Lock Nah (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje of "Congo") and various other minions. Arrayed against all these evil guys is the O'Connell clan and the Med-jai, the Pharaoh's bodyguards (who pays these guys, anyway? they must have a great pension plan to be loyal for several thousand years). The Med-jai are led by Ardeth Bay (Oded Fehr reprises his role). O'Connell also enlists the aid of Izzy (Shaun Parkes of "Human Traffic"), a fearful aviator.

Imhotep plans to kill the Scorpion King and, with the aid of his army of dog soldiers, rule the world. You have the usual treasure-hunt plot where you have to go from one ancient site to the next in order to obtain the clues needed to find the Scorpion King's resting place. There are traps that need to be avoided, including some very nasty pygmy warriors. It is pretty much the "Raiders of the Lost Ark" idea, complete with the non-stop action, snakes, bugs, etc. There are also dreams and visions related to reincarnation.

The action is almost non-stop from beginning to end. The visual effects, supervised by John Andrew Berton Jr. ("The Mummy," "Men in Black"), are much better than those in the original film. The advances in digital imaging since the first film are fully utilized. Industrial Light and Magic provided the digital image sequences. This is a full-speed-ahead action-adventure-fantasy. If you see this movie without having seen the original film you might not get the whole story, because there really is no additional character development in this film. The story assumes you already know all the characters from the original film. However, the original movie was one of the top box office hits of all time, so there probably aren't a whole lot of people seeing the sequel who haven't seen the original.

One of the things I did not like about the original film was that there were too many gross-out scenes. The sequel actually has fewer gross-out scenes. It does have an unfortunate tendency to depict violence as humor, so I don't know if I would really call it a kid's film, but it is probably O.K. for teenagers (it is rated PG-13). The body count in this film is very high, and that's not counting all the carnage against non-human creatures. Lots of people get shot and stabbed. I'm glad it wasn't more realistic. This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2001 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)