The Mummy Returns (2001)

THE MUMMY RETURNS made some seventy million dollars this weekend, 
suggesting that the Great Ticket-Buying Unwashed either (a.) have a 
collectively lousy memory or (b.) are so starved for big-screen ex-
citement that even a sequel to *THE MUMMY* sounds promising.  (All 
this reviewer remembers of the 1999 original is that same starred 
Brendan Fraser, was set in the Thirties, and sucked.)  The second 
unwrapping certainly opens with a bang-- a Cecil B. DeMille-style 
(desert) battle set Way Back When(tm) and featuring thousands of 
computer-generated extras clanging swords and sun-baked shields, 
all making lots of noise but drawing precious little (on-screen) 
blood.  (After all, the film *is* rated "PG-13".)  The leader of 
the away team-- and later resurrected would-be world conqueror--
is shown in slow-motion and, since he's played by the popular pro-
wrestler "The Rock," is usually accompanied by "oohs," "aahs," and 
"way cools" from the younger members of the audience.  The Scorpion 
King, he's called, will lose that seven-year war, see all his sol-
diers killed, and finally pledge his soul to some Egyptian God, so 
centuries later he can return from the dead and bug Brendan Fraser.  
Cut to present day-- well, minus a few decades-- for some Indiana 
Jones-style tomb raiding with Fraser and back-again Rachel Weisz 
(plus the now-married characters' pre-teen son) first Finding Some-
thing and then fleeing for their booby-trapped tripped lives.  (The 
un-charismatic couple trying to outrace... water instead of Harri-
son Ford's giant boulder.)  

Judging by the breathless reaction of the grade-schooler seated 
next to me-- seated *directly* next to me, grrrrr, as the theater 
was regrettably full on opening weekend-- this one's got it all: 
big sets, loud sounds, video game-paced action, broad humor, card-
board characters, and villains more dastardly than deadly.  (They 
tend to be lethal only when it serves the purpose of a last-minute 
rescue...)  Yup, everything but the kitchen sink.  And, well, wit.  
Or subtlety.  Or even a *baseline* amount of self-awareness.  Re-
turning director Stephen Sommers is no Steven Spielberg-- not even 
a *quarter* Spielberg-- so the film has no visual deft to speak of.  
Nor are the characters interesting.  Same for dialogue, action cho-
reography, and story detail.  (Must say, though, those computer-
created beetle swarms are awfully icky fun...)  Nothing even "B"-
movie memorable, I tells ya; just lots and lots of lame spectacle.  
(And which is the sole seeming difference between it and the first 
film.)  Forty-five minutes was enough for this disinterested view-
er; I left early, feeling... Egypt'd.  (Rated "PG-13"/~110 min.)

Grade: W/O 

Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros 
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

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Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros -Movie Hell™ is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros