Universal // 2001 // 130 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Appellate Judge James A. Stewart (Retired) // July 14th, 2008
Evy: "It's only a chest. No harm ever came from opening a
Rick: "Yeah, right, and no harm ever came from reading a book. You remember how that one went?"
Lots of moviegoers remembered how that one went, and they flocked to see The Mummy Returns, the sequel to 1999's The Mummy and the second movie inspired by the 1932 Universal horror classic. As Universal prepares to send explorers Evy and Rick O'Connell abroad one more time in movie theaters, it's releasing The Mummy Returns: 2-Disc Deluxe Edition on DVD.
Rick (Brendan Fraser, Gods and Monsters) and Evy (Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener) are interrupted in their exploration of an underground tomb by robbers, this time accompanied by son Alex. The robbers are looking for the gold bracelet of the Scorpion King, but the O'Connells have found it first.
Back in England, the O'Connells soon find that the baddies have Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo, Blood Diamond) on their side -- thanks to his seductive reincarnated bride (Patricia Velasquez, The L Word) -- and will stop at nothing to get the bracelet and use it to bring back the Scorpion King. Young Alex has the bracelet -- and the baddies soon have him. That means it's back to Egypt to find Alex and save the world.
From the start, when Evy reads an inscription, "He who disturbs this bracelet shall drink from the Nile," and reasons, "That doesn't sound too bad," you know what's coming. Immediately, the O'Connells find the river flooding the underground chamber and must flee for their lives, and even after that, you know baddies will be after the bracelet of the Scorpion King.
The Mummy Returns has an air of familiarity -- on purpose. It's peppered with references to the first film. It brings back Rick, the reluctant hero who can be counted on in a clinch; Evy, the bold, beautiful explorer; Jonathan (John Hannah, Sliding Doors), Evy's cowardly, greedy brother; Ardeth Bay (Oded Fehr, Resident Evil: Extinction), a mysterious ally; Imhotep, the surprisingly lively mummy; and Anck Su Namun, Imhotep's reincarnated love. What's new? There's a new villain in the Scorpion King (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Get Smart) and a young O'Connell (Freddie Boath). All performances are just what you'd expect: hammy and over-the-top.
It's still fun to watch Brendan Fraser throwing around a poisonous snake or John Hannah making that one last grasp for a valuable artifact. It's predictable, but everything's done with a goofy charm that'll win most people over. If you'd actually like to be scared by an attack of pygmy mummies, though, don't count yourself among those people; the monsters mostly draw smiles and laughs here.
Aside from some CGI effects in the final fight scene that looked cartoonish, The Mummy Returns looks impressive, showing a budget in the vicinity of $100 million on the screen. Sounds good, too.
There was a previous collector's edition of The Mummy Returns on DVD, but a check of Amazon.com indicates that it is out of print. A lot of the special features here -- including the commentary by writer/director Stephen Sommers and editor/producer Bob Ducsay, the bloopers, a music video, and "Egyptology 201" (a text feature on Egyptian history) -- came in that collector's edition.
New features, as indicated on the DVD cover, include a storyboard-to-final-film comparison of three scenes from the movie; "Unraveling the Legacy of The Mummy," which looks back at the original 1932 picture; "An Army to Rule the World, Part 2," another special effects featurette; and a digital copy of the movie, which didn't excite me because I've just seen the movie and it won't work on my computer.
Both new and old special features are interesting generally. Sommers and Ducsay do an entertaining commentary, there's a lot of special effects gimmickry to show, and the feature comparing the recent movie to the 1932 original is fun. An interview with The Rock seems to be mostly a promo for The Scorpion King and probably won't hold much interest by now.
There's also a preview of The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, which doesn't feature Rachel Weisz (a negative sign), but does include Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh (a positive sign).
The Mummy Returns is highly forgettable. I remember going to see this when it was in theaters, but I didn't remember much of what happened.
If you want The Mummy Returns and don't yet own a copy, The Mummy Returns: 2-Disc Deluxe Edition is definitely worth it. It's got a free movie ticket inside, which almost pays for itself if you find a good price. I wouldn't double-dip here, but if it's one of your favorite movies and you really want or need a digital copy, that movie ticket and the preview of the third movie might clinch the decision.
Not guilty. No harm ever came from watching a Mummy sequel.
Review content copyright © 2008 James A. Stewart; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
Running Time: 130 Minutes
Release Year: 2001
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
* Feature Commentary with Director/Writer Stephen Sommers and Executive Producer/Editor Bob Ducsay
* The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor Sneak Peek
* Digital Copy of The Mummy Returns
* "An Army to Rule the World--Part 2"
* "Unraveling the Legacy of the Mummy"
* Visual and Special Effects Formation
* An Exclusive Conversation with The Rock
* Storyboard-to-Final-Film Comparision
* "Spotlight on Location"
* "Egyptology 201"
* Theatrical Trailer
* "Forever May Not Be Long Enough" Music Video
* Original DVD Verdict Review