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Movies Eddie McMullen Jr. Review by
E.C.McMullen Jr.
The Mummy Returns
THE MUMMY RETURNS - 2001
Universal Pictures
Rating: USA: PG-13

When I first saw trailers for THE MUMMY RETURNS, I was as excited as any fan of THE MUMMY (1999) would be. Universal was returning to their long abandoned, though long beloved "Monsters" which launched the careers of both Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. Both of these men had so created their roles of Frankenstien and Dracula that long after both their deaths, jokesters and Horror fans continue to mimic their vocal styles to describe their characters. Boris Karloff went on to also become the consumate Mummy as well. His plodding, painfully slow Mummy was the template nearly all other Mummy movies duplicated, until Stephen Sommers came along.

When I saw THE MUMMY in the summer of 1999 I was impressed not only by the special effects, but by the aggressive, lightening quick nature of the new Mummy (played by Arnold Vosloo).

When I saw the trailers for THE MUMMY RETURNS, I saw great desert battles, forces of good - The Magi from the first movie - fighting the forces of evil - The Pharoah's soldiers - with the forces of the ancient Egyptian Gods, Anubis and his identical hoardes - I wasn't sure if they were going to be good or not, though I like doggies. The Rock was also thrown in as The Scorpian King - again I didn't know if he was supposed to be the good guy or the bad guy but I generally like pro wrestling.

It made many of us think that THE MUMMY RETURNS, in whatever capacity, was going to end with a magnificent, all out, no holds barred battle! 4 forces locked in deadly combat combined with CGI to knock your eyes out.

Unfortunately that never happens. We are instead, quickly run through the great Scorpion King battles in the very beginning of the movie, which gives us a Cliff-Notes idea of the great battles of The Scorpion King, and which is barely longer than the original trailers themselves. Then the whole thing is tossed away after about 8 minutes and The Rock is never seen again for the rest of the film!

CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?

This movie was SOLD to us with The Rock as a huge feature! He was The Scorpion King (whatever the hell THAT was!) and we expected The Rock to kick ass! Instead we get The Rock for a few minutes of fluff and off we go into one of the most hack pieces of contrived, cliché, untalented, plot-holed, and unforgivably BORING crap I've seen in ages.

And yet, with The Rock cast as nothing more than unnecessary exposition, Universal has already given the green light to Stephen for THE SCORPION KING, which is being made right now!

Understand that, throughout the movie, the characters of Rick O'Connell (Brenden Frasier), Evelyn O'Connell (Rachel Weisz), and the rest frequently identify the fact that what they are going through is nothing more than the old adventure shtick of "destroy the bad guy, save the world." We know this already. Everyone in the audience knows what kind of movie they are sitting through, but thanks for telling us anyway.

And hey! Thanks for not only pointing out every hack scene before it happens, but having the uninspired negligence to actually give it to us, just as described, without any surprises at all! That's very entertaining: like a comic who explains the joke before they tell it, or a magician who pendantically reveals how he does all of his magic tricks. Sheesh but this movie is awful!

You'll notice Evelyn's last name is now O'Connell. Yep, they got married and had a kid to boot. You can imagine the cutesy crap they dredge up with that bit. Their child, Alex, as played by Freddie Boath, plods through every sickening cute child movie trick that has ever been done to death and that the Olsen Twins already did ten years ago when THEY were being cloy and unoriginal.

Does their son torment his captors in a very well-worn way? Of course - even the old "Are we there yet?" gag gets choked to death in this pile of garbage.

When I saw this movie and sat there feeling my bile rise, it helped to remind myself that perhaps this was made for children and at least THEY would like it. There were kids sitting all around me in the theater. At one point in the movie, when Evelyn reveals - to no one's surprise (we've been beaten to death by this point with her dreams of being an Egyptian Princess) - that in a past life she was an Egyptian Princess, a girl of perhaps 8 years sitting a few kids down the aisle from me made the horselips sound. "thpbpbpbpbp!" Even 8 year old kids weren't buying into this!

Special Effects range from outstanding to preposterously bad.

THE MUMMY RETURNS has done quite well though, in its first few weeks.

Thank you over abundant advertising.

Writer and Director Stephen Sommers, who made the very enjoyable DEEP RISING and the very fun THE MUMMY (1999) has laid such a huge egg with THE MUMMY RETURNS, that audiences may not be willing to give him another chance.

Both he and Universal would do well to remember the crap team of Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin. For those of you who don't pay attention to Writers or Directors, these are the insufferable numbskulls who brought us such majestic yawnfests as STARGATE (The TV show is so much better!), INDEPENDENCE DAY - ID4 (with all the wildly unintentional laughs that made this movie both good fodder for a Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode as well as a guilty pleasure), and GODZILLA (1999).

Audiences had been duped by Dean and Roland twice with STARGATE and ID4, and despite the excellent movie trailers for GODZILLA, we all knew that since it was by the "People Who Brought You Stargate and ID4", that it would be a tiresome ride indeed. Word of mouth quickly killed off GODZILLA and Sony Pictures - more by way of an apology than anything else, had another GODZILLA rushed into production in Japan - The Real GODZILLA. But it was still Sony so audiences were still leery.

So Universal and Sommers, feel free to make THE SCORPION KING, but unless you really do have a great movie, I wouldn't break the bank advertising it like you did THE MUMMY RETURNS, you might wind up with Lizard egg on your face; Dean and Roland would know just how you feel.

One Shriek Girl.

KILL IT BEFORE IT BREEDS!

Shriek Girl
This review copyright 2001 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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