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THE MUMMY RETURNS (2001)
Starring: Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, Arnold Vosloo, Oded Fehr, Patricia Velasquez, and Freddie Boath
Directed by Stephen Sommers
We are in serious trouble...
Those are the words that Fraser so wisely used in the first film, and with that experience he was most certainly on the ball. THE MUMMY, as I'm sure most people know, was a major hit in 1999 and hit theatres in time before the threat of a Phantom Menace hit multi-plexes. It grossed a lot of cash and though Universal, the studio behind it, probably said a sequel was in the works before the grosses, I'm sure the hundreds of millions it made didn't hinder its chances of getting a sequel made a lot sooner. And this is the end result...
Well all the familiar faces are here, with Fraser returning as Rick, our fearless hero. Along for the ride right alongside him are Evelyn (Weisz), who was the mousy little heroine the first time out and is not a head strong Catwoman who, in the eight years that has lapsed from the first outing, has acquired the skill to kick ass without breaking a sweat. The two are now married and have produced an adorable, charming little son named Alex (newcomer Freddie Boath). And there is of course the comic relief in the form of Evelyn's drunken brother, Jonathan (Hannah). Though the two charmless hero's are now parents, it doesn't stop them from searching ruins in Egypt for old artifacts. The artifact they are now in search for is a gold bracelet which belonged to a warrior known as the Scorpion King, who sold his soul to the God of the Underworld (or whatever), so he could have revenge on those who defeated him and his army thousands of years earlier. Those who find the Scorpion King and destroy him will have power over the hellish army he commanded, and guess whose back in business, but our old friend the Mummy (once again played by Arnold Vosloo). Along for the ride right along beside him is his own love (in the film she is the resurrection of the woman he sacrificed his life for, but why wasn't that known in the first film?).
Through a series of incoherent events, it's the tow headed little boy who has the gold bracelet locked on his wrists, and is kidnapped by the bad guys (and of course shows little fear and finds time to crack a few jokes). Through a series of even more incoherent events, mom and dad are hot on the trail and guess what happens? You'll never guess...
I will give the film this much, it doesn't ignore the events that occurred in the first film and pretty much expands on that. Unfortunately for me, I didn't remember squat about the first movie and had a hard time remembering it when this one asks me to remember (at one point the Mummy unleashes four of his supernatural soldiers on our hero's, and Fraser, once again in his infinite wisdom, cracks, Not these guys again! I don't even remember the soldiers). And though the films sole purpose is to make sure it has no purpose, I shamelessly (or shamefully), enjoyed the movie, but not for the movie itself. I enjoyed the experience of going to the film with my wife and two kids. My son (and a friend of his who tagged along), and daughter had the time of their lives and am thrilled they enjoyed the experience. Though the movie wasn't remotely good, and didn't have the power to bring out the kid in me (which is what a good popcorn movie should be able to do), watching them enjoying themselves, and hearing all about the cool scenes afterwards made the whole thing worthwhile (expect by the time we reached Subway, all conversation about the movie had ended and completely forgotten).
I do think the film was lame, the effects atrociously bad (during the Scorpion King's big final battle sequence, he pays homage to video game graphics that are over a decade old), and a lot of it downright boring (the villains scenes are more interesting to watch), but I am recommending the film purely for its sheer stupidity. There is one scene where these tiny little creatures (I have absolutely no idea what the hell they where), attacked both the villains and the hero's and at one point Fraser ignites a stick of dynamite and throws it their way. Two of the little critters actually fight over it before it blows them to kingdom come, and that scene was a little cute and made me laugh my ass off (the only time I cracked a smile throughout the entire thing).
It's a complete waste of hundreds of millions of dollars, but the kids enjoyed themselves and a lot of people in the theatre (full house), appeared to be having a good time. So, if you have nothing to do and money to waste, head on down to the theatre for a forgettable experience. You'll see a movie that makes a half-assed attempt to take itself seriously but you'll know better.
My Grade: B-