Buy your ticket, take your seat and hold on. Just when you thought it was safe to raid an Egyptian tomb, The Mummy Returns.
It’s 1933, seven years after we watched that dashing swashbuckler Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) and the brilliant and beautiful young librarian of Egyptology Evelyn Carnahan (Rachel Weisz) ride off romantically on camelback into a sunset as golden as the booty in their packs. Now, we find them married and still so in love that their mushiness makes their equally spirited and brilliant young son Alex (Freddie Boath) wince.
The family that raids tombs together stays together. But during their latest expedition, Evie’s dreams of ancient Egypt develop into visions so intense that they spirit her away 3,700 years in the past, revealing powerful secrets of the tomb: a book of Egyptian mysteries and the bracelet of the Scorpion King (The Rock).
Meanwhile, Anck-Su-Namun (Patricia Velasquez), the enigmatically reincarnated consort of the titular mummy, Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo), searches for the watery grave Rick sent him to seven years before. But she needs the bracelet of the Scorpion King now locked around little Alex’s arm to bring Imhotep back from the underworld. The chase is on: The O’Connells must recover their son — and prevent Imhotep from raising the army of Anubis to destroy the world.
Director Stephen Sommers resuscitates The Mummy (1999) with a shot of adrenaline. His battle sequences flash with action and whiplash motion. Sommers borrows from the entire catalog of Hollywood’s adventure-fantasy films, from Boris Karloff’s The Mummy (1932) and the classic swashbuckling epics to (of course) Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones trilogy.
The Mummy Returns may be faster, but it also looks cheaper. It somehow lacks the majestic glory and attention to detail of its predecessor. Disappointingly, video game-quality graphics of some characters invade and take over the live action. Though it reeks less of the colonialism of The Mummy, historical inaccuracy and cultural insensitivity seem part of the genre.
Still, it’s an extreme roller coaster through an ancient Egyptian house of horrors. The Mummy Returns will take you for a fantastic thrill ride.
Click here to read MT Arts editor George Tysh's article, "Second take: mummies, mammies and true lies" (Metro Times 5/26/99), about the portrayal of Arab-Americans in 1999's The Mummy.
Visit The Mummy Returns' official Web site at www.themummy.com.
E-mail James Keith La Croix at firstname.lastname@example.org.