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The Mummy Returns (PG-13)
Universal
Official Site
Director: Stephen Sommers
Producer: Sean Daniel, James Jacks
Written by: Stephen Sommers
Cast: Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, Oded Fehr, John Hannah, Arnold Vosloo

Rating: out of 5


Did you like The Mummy? A woman I know and respect actually walked out on that movie, said it was the silliest thing she’d seen. I loved it.

I’ve been waiting impatiently for The Mummy Returns, half scared that they’d get it wrong this time around. Well, they didn’t get it as right as they did the first time. But it was still a ride, though I’m not sure The Scorpion King (a third Mummy installment) is warranted.

Stephen Sommers (Deep Rising, which I enjoyed a lot) has a nice touch for hairsbreadth adventures leavened with comedy. And that’s just what you get in The Mummy Returns.

Plot? You’re kidding, right? If you truly care about plot, this movie may not be for you, but basically, the movie starts off with storytelling that’s at once way too long and too telegraphic, setting up the legend of the Scorpion King. Then that bad penny, Imhotep, turns up at a London museum, where he is resurrected and immediately embarks on a campaign to Take Over The World by killing the Scorpion King and taking over his army.

Sommers, who clearly likes all the same movies I like, has borrowed from so many of them that The Mummy Returns is at times almost like a parlor game—Name That Movie (“That’s the ugly little vicious kids from Galaxy Quest.” “There’s the golden artifact from Raiders...”). And while even I can’t overlook the fact that The Mummy Returns is formulaic, I have to say, it’s a fun formula. There’s great pleasure to be derived from cinematic derring-do, even if it’s derivative derring-do.

And lest I damn with too faint praise, let me add what The Mummy Returns does well. It’s quite good at capturing the “exotic Egypt” that captured the collective imagination of Britain in the early 1900s. The Mummy and, to a lesser extent, The Mummy Returns took me back to the extreme delight I felt when I first read Tin-Tin comics as and first saw old adventure serials.

You know if this is for you. Julia: Give it another chance.

—Roxanne Bogucka, an Action Grrl!

 

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

It’s worth a full-price ticket.

It’s worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...


Mike Doughty



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