So when today’s movie came out in theaters, I, like thousands of others, went to go see it in the theaters. So there I am waiting for the movie to start when I feel someone kick the seat behind me. I turn around and see a couple of kids behind me and go back to looking at the screen. As the trailers start to show, the kids continually kick my seat so I turn around and “politely” tell them to cut it out. Apparently, I kind of scared them because they immediately moved to another row. So that was what happened the first time I saw today’s movie, The Mummy Returns.
The plot: In 3067 B.C., a mighty warrior called the Scorpion King leads his army to conquer the world but after a 7 year campaign, his army is defeated at Thebes and is forced to retreat back into the desert. While marching through the desert, his surviving men all perish in the heat and the Scorpion King offers his soul in exchange for the power to conquer Thebes. Anubis grants the request, forming the Oasis of Ahm Shere to hide the Scorpion King’s pyramid, then allowing the Scorpion King to use his own army to conquer Egypt. When the Scorpion King completes his task, Anubis claims his body and soul, leaving only the Scorpion King’s bracelet, while the army of Anubis disintegrates into black sand and is blown away. In 1933 Egypt, Rick O’Connell, his wife Evelyn, and their son Alex are exploring a temple in Thebes and while Rick has Alex wait for them near the entrance, he goes to find Evelyn, who had been having dreams about this temple and is able to lead them deep into the temple. Three mercenaries arrive at the temple and while two of them search the entrance, the leader heads into the temple to deal with the O’Connells. As Rick and Evelyn make their way to a sealed chamber, Evelyn suddenly has a vision, seeing the temple as it was back in ancient times, and when the vision fades, she is able to open the door, where they find a chest containing the Bracelet of Anubis. The lead mercenary has caught up to them and is about to shoot them when the temple starts to shake and he decides to leave as Evelyn had set off a booby trap that causes the chamber to flood, and Rick and Evelyn find themselves trapped. At the entrance, Alex was secretly shooting the mercenaries with his slingshot but when he is discovered, one of the men climb the scaffolding that Alex was hiding on and is about to kill Alex when the leader rushes back and says they need to leave. As they are leaving, the man kicks out the supports for the scaffolding, causing it, and Alex, to fall, where it ends up knocking down several pillars, one of which knocks down the wall and ends up freeing Rick and Evelyn before they drown. Meanwhile, a group of workers, led be Meela and Mr. Hafez, are digging in Hamunaptra and uncover the Book of the Dead, the Book of the Living, and the remains of Imhotep. The mercenaries arrive at the dig site and tell the man in charge that they were unable to obtain the bracelet and the man decides to head to London to get it from the O’Connells himself. Back in there home, while Evelyn is trying to convince Rick that they should search for the Oasis of Ahm Shere, Alex opens the chest and puts on the bracelet, where he is shown a vision of the pyramids and a temple. Meanwhile, Meela and Mr. Hafez lead a group of armed men to the O’Connells house, where the mistakenly believe that Jonathan is Rick and question him about the bracelet. When Rick shows up, the men try to kill him but he manages to kill two of them before he and Jonathan are forced to take cover. Meanwhile, Evelyn and Alex are confronted by Lock-Nah and some more men and Evelyn tries to hold them off with the aid of Ardeth Bay but she ends up being taken captive and the chest is taken. When Rick sees Evelyn captured, he questions Ardeth about what is going on and Ardeth tells them about Imhotep being dug up and Alex recognizes the picture of Mr. Hafez as the curator of the museum. When Alex shows them that he has the bracelet and tells them what he saw, Ardeth says that he started a series of events that would result in the Scorpion King awakening. The group head to the museum and Rick has Alex and Jonathan wait in the car while he and Ardeth go inside to rescue Evelyn. Inside the museum, Mr. Hafez uses the Book of the Dead to resurrect Imhotep and they are joined by Meela, who says she is Anck Su Namun reincarnated. Meela shows Imhotep a captive Evelyn and the prepare to kill her when Rick shows up and rescues her. As Rick, Evelyn, and Ardeth begin killing the cult soldiers so they can escape, Imhotep grabs an urn and summons the mummified Pharaoh’s guards to kill them. Rick, Evelyn, and Ardeth head outside, where they find that Jonathan has grabbed a double decker bus after breaking the key to Rick’s car. Driving through London, they manage to destroy the mummies but when they stop, Lock-Nah manages to grab Alex and make his escape. Alex is taken to Egypt, where a train carries them to the temple. On the way, Alex is taken to see Imhotep, who informs Alex that if he doesn’t reach the temple before the 7th day, he will die. The three mercenaries board the train, carrying the chest containing Imhotep’s organs and Meela tricks them into opening it, allowing Imhotep to kill them in order to regenerate. Meanwhile, Rick, Evelyn, and Jonathan reach Cairo, where they hire Rick’s friend Izzy to take them in his dirigible. Ardeth arrives with the leaders of the Medjai and says he will join them while he sends messages via his pet falcon Horus to the Medjai telling them where they are headed in case they are too late from stopping the army of Anubis from rising. When they reach the location of the temple that Alex saw, Alex manages to escape and make his way into the temple, where he receives another vision of where to go, but he is recaptured by Imhotep. Rick and the others arrive at the temple and find the train deserted but discover Alex’s tie and a sand castle, depicting where they are headed too next. While they are traveling, Evelyn has a vision, just as Imhotep is using a spell to place Anck Su Namun’s spirit in Meela’s body. Through her vision, Evelyn realizes that she used to be Nefertiri, the daughter of Seti I, and that she was the guardian of the Bracelet of Anubis. Following the clues that Alex leaves them, Rick and the others find themselves traveling through a canyon but when Lock-Nah finds out what Alex had been doing, Imhotep uses his powers to send a wall of water through the canyon to kill them. Izzy manages to avoid the water and they find themselves arriving at the Oasis of Ahm Shere but the wall of water catches up to them and causes the dirigible to crash to the ground. Surviving the crash, Izzy wors on repairing the dirigible while Rick and the others prepare to rescue Alex but when Ardeth sends Horus to tell the Medjai where the oasis is, Lock-Nah shoots Horus. Ardeth says he must go to lead the Medjai to the oasis but Rick manages to convince him to help rescue Alex first. Imhotep leads the cult into the oasis, where they find the remains of the soldiers and armies that had tried to find it before. Making there way towards the pyramid, they soon come under attack by the pygmy natives that guard the oasis. While this is going on, Lock-Nah heads towards Alex, preparing to kill him and take the bracelet but Rick manages to rescue Alex while Ardeth kills Lock-Nah, while Evelyn and Jonathan give them cover fire from a nearby cliff. When Rick and Alex rejoin Evelyn and Jonathan, Alex tells them that he has to get to the temple before sunrise. They make there way to the temple, managing to avoid being killed by the pygmies as they go, and Rick carries Jonathan inside the pyramid before the sun hits it. The bracelet falls off Alex’s wrist and he throws it away but when Evelyn and Jonathan arrive, Anck Su Namun stabs Evelyn while Imhotep tosses Jonathan away as they enter the pyramid. Enraged at the death of his wife, Rick leaves Alex with Jonathan while he goes inside the pyramid to kill Imhotep. Meanwhile, Mr. Hafez had picked up the bracelet and used it to summon the Army of Anubis, which appears as a giant shadow across the sand before the warriors emerge but the Medjai arrive to face them. Back at the pyramid, Alex realizes that they can bring back Evelyn by using the Book of the Dead so Jonathan distracts Anck Su Namun so Alex can read the spell, bringing back Evelyn, who faces off against Anck Su Namun while Alex and Jonathan go to help Rick. Rick discovers Imhotep summoning the Scorpion King and begins fighting with him when suddenly, the Scorpion King appears. Imhotep convinces the Scorpion King that he is a servant, but tells him that Rick is trying to kill him, causing the Scorpion King to begin battling Rick. Out in the desert, the Medjai manage to kill the army of Anubis but Ardeth realizes it was only the first wave as he sees the full army approaching in the distance. Back in the pyramid, Rick notices some drawings depicting how to kill the Scorpion King, with the person bearing a tattoo similar to the one on his arm and he realizes what he needs to do. When Alex and Jonathan arrive, Rick tells them that the staff Jonathan has been carrying is really a spear. Alex and Jonathan manage to get the spear to open and Jonathan throws it at The Scorpion King but Imhotep grabs it out of the air. Imhotep attempts to kill the Scorpion King but Rick manages to grab the spear and stabs the Scorpion King, sending him and his army to the Underworld. Out in the desert, the Medjai are preparing to face the army when the army disappears and they see the image of the Scorpion King appear over the oasis before it disappears. Rick and Imhotep both find themselves hanging over the opening to the Underworld but while Evelyn helps Rick climb back up, Anck Su Namun abandons Imhotep and he chooses to drop into the pit while Anck Su Namun winds up falling into a pit of scorpions and is killed. Rick, Evelyn, Alex, and Jonathan head outside and find the oasis is being sucked into the pyramid. They manage to climb to the top of the pyramid, where Izzy appears and manages to rescue them, with Jonathan managing to grab the diamond from the top of the pyramid before the oasis and pyramid are swallowed up by the desert. As they fly away, they see Ardeth, who salutes them before he rides off into the desert.
The Mummy Returns met with mixed reviews from the critics, holding a 47% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “In The Mummy Returns, the special effects are impressive, but the characters seem secondary to the computer generated imagery.” Even though he was only in it for a small amount of time, the studios were impressed with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s performance and decided to do a spin-off on his character which came out the following year. The movie was a box office hit, earning over $433 million off a $98 million budget.
My feelings have always been kind of mercurial regarding this movie. There are plenty of times that I like it and find it pretty entertaining and there are times that I get annoyed at the overblown plot elements. The acting was good, with All of the returning cast doing a good job reprising their character. I did like how they developed Evelyn’s character a little more instead of making her the typical damsel in distress but I thought the past life aspect was a little much. The story was ok but I honestly felt like they were making the plot too elaborate and exciting, which made it feel a little weak. The special effects were definitely the best part of the movie and the interactions between the Medjai and the army of Anubis were definitely well choreographed. I will say that the CGI with the Scorpion King monster could have been a little better. Still, this is a fun movie to watch if you are in the mood for an action movie.
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5