The Special Effect Returns
A.J.'s Rating: 2.5 Scarab Stars 
The Mummy Returns
Directed By:  Stephen Sommers
Written By:  Stephen Sommers
Starring:  Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, Arnold Vosloo, Oded Fehr,
Patricia Velasquez, Freddie Boath, Alun Armstrong, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson
Rated:  PG-13  (Adventure Action / Violence)
Running Time:  121 Min.
    'Adventure is Reborn', heralds the advertising for The Mummy Returns, but 'Adventure is Recycled' would be a more accurate slogan.
    This sequel to the 1999 hit, The Mummy, attempts to please fans by giving them more of what they liked about the first film, but doesn't succeed in providing much of a story to back up the thrills.  Every brief character-based scene in The Mummy Returns serves only to get from one special-effect sequence to the next.  It's easy to understand fans wanting to see more of the Mummy, more fight scenes, and more of the other cool baddies from the first film, but more isn't always better. 
    In contrast, the earlier Mummy film was full of colorful characters and many humorous scenes that had nothing to do with the Mummy itself.  Nothing in The Mummy Returns comes even close to matching it's predecessor for decent storytelling, and much of this sequel's actual plot points contradict the first film anyway.  Instead of a story, we are given a 90 minute chase with one showdown at the end, with no good new characters to root for or despise.  This is not a movie, it's a video game.
    You may ask, 'But what about The Scorpion King?', to which I would answer, 'Big deal'.  The much ballyhooed Scorpion King, played by pro wrestler, The Rock, is onscreen for a total of about one minute.  He has a single line of dialogue, along with a moaning scream.  Wow...  All hail the mighty Scorpion King.  When he finally reappears, it is in the form of the film's worst special effect.  In this video game, he's that big, annoying  'Boss' enemy you have to defeat to get to the next level.
    As for other effects in this movie, the results are decidedly mixed.  First, the Mummy character, Imhotep, is more detailed this time, and there is, of course, more of him.  It appears that the visual techniques perfected in the film Hollow Man have been well utilized here.  Also, there are a couple of spectacular panoramic scenes, courtesy of the fine work done on The Phantom Menace.  Again, as with the story, there is absolutely nothing new or exciting to speak of.
    So, to wrap up, if you are just looking for a rollercoaster-type experience, albeit a shallow one, then I suppose you could do worse than The Mummy Returns.  However, if you want cutting-edge thrills, I suggest you look elsewhere, since this Mummy's true curse is that of eternal mediocrity.
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Review published
May 21, 2001
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