The Mummy Returns Reviews
I've reviewed three Brendan Fraser movies this month. That's probably three more than anyone should ever do in a month, much less a year. In all seriousness, I have nothing against Brendan Fraser and it's sort of weird how he just disappeared after this movie came out. I mean, clearly, he's still active, it's just that this was the peak of his career in terms of being a major box office star. And, doing a little research, it seems that he's gone through some difficult times in his life and that's really unfortunate. Seems he's also made a bit of a comeback, if it can be called that, on an FX anthology series called Trust and his performance has been acclaimed, so good for him. I'm happy for the man. I remember, in my review of The Mummy, which I just wrote last night so I SHOULD remember it, that I was hopeful for this movie considering how well the original held up twenty years after the fact. Though, of course, if you see the score I gave it, then you can clearly see that this did not get the same score. I think first things first, if I'm not mistaken, this was The Rock's first major film role. I believe he appeared in an episode of That 70s Show where he, actually, played his father (also a wrestler). His role in this movie was what, really, opened the door for him to become one of the biggest box office attractions the world has ever seen. Well, I mean, if you wanna get technical, it was his charisma and his success in the WWF (now WWE) that opened the door for him. Having said all of that, going back to this for the first time since 2001 (2002 at the latest), it makes The Rock's success even more impressive. The reason I say this is because, despite the fact that he's in like, maybe, 5% of the movie (and maybe even less), The Rock was just downright fucking dreadful here. Like seriousy, I'm not even joking. If you had me choose between this version of The Rock and Keanu Reeves, I'd take Keanu Reeves every day of the week and twice on Sunday. With that said, however, I feel like The Rock's awfulness in this movie makes his improvement as an actor that much more noticeable. Like I mentioned in my review of Skyscraper, he's not gonna win any serious acting awards, but he's a good actor. Hell, he can be very good at times. It's almost like we're watching a completely different person in all honesty, that's how good he is now compared to how awful he was here. Neither here nor there, I suppose, since we're here to talk about The Mummy Returns. Before I so rudely interrupted myself, I was trying to make the point that this movie doesn't hold up as well as the original. And this is strange in that I liked the original movie more despite having less memories of it when I watched it in theaters when I was 11 than I do this one. I liked this one less despite having more memories of it. That's probably not important in the grand scheme of things, there's no real connection to anything, I just thought it was worth pointing out. I just think the major problem with this type of movie, or at least the way this particular film is executed, is that it's the law of diminishing returns. I suppose the whole concept of 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' was in full effect here, but the fact of the matter is that this is practically the same movie without anything that made the first movie so entertaining. That sense of adventure, the tone, the interplay between the cast, the fun, none of it is there. They made the first movie all over again without really understanding why the first movie was such a hit. They repeat scenes here, like Alex knocking down the pillars in a domino-like fashion, like his mother did in the original with the bookshelves. Imhotep doing the same shit he did in the original, where he creates a sandstorm, with his face formed in the sand, to hunt down our leads who are attempting to escape on a plane. He does the same in this movie, except he creates a massive wave, complete with his face formed in the water, hunting down our leads, who are attempting to escape on a blimp. Oh and, of course, Imhotep is also, essentially, the lead villain since the Scorpion King (who's actually meant to be the big bad) appears all of 20 minutes of the actual film. Over half of those being the really terrible CG scorpion at the climax of the film. Imhotep and his undead girlfriend, once again, want to take over the world and, to do this, they need to kill the Scorpion King, to take possession of the army that Anubis assigned to the king. It's all fairly uninteresting, really. As far as horror is concerned, something that I felt the first film handled quite well, is practically nonexistent here. There's a few new additions and none of them really add much to the experience. For the most part, it's the same characters from the original doing the same thing over again. There's a few new additions in terms of character development, like Evy being the reincarnation of Nefertiti and Rick belonging to this order that Ardeth belongs to, the medjai, who were assigned to protect the Pharaoh and his interests. It really doesn't go anywhere interesting and it doesn't really seem to make sense within the context of this universe. If I'm being honest, it's not even that I think this film is bad. As far as popcorn blockbusters are concerned, it's perfectly decent. It's just that it's too much of the same without any of the soul. And that's not saying that the original Mummy was the most soulful movie ever made, I'm just saying that there was a certain charm to the events of the original that both sequels failed to capture. I'm certain that the original Mummy was built for sequels in mind, but there's honestly no reason for this movie to exist other than for it to be a cash grab, which this was. It's not shameless, because I can see how people might have enjoyed this at the time and the overall film is average, so it's not terrible. It's just that, in my opinion, watching the original and this on back-to-back nights was the smartest of ideas. It just reveals how much of the original this one repeats and it's really not a good look. That's the worst part of this, just how much it tries to repeat the same formula without nearly the same success. It's really even anything IN the movie itself, it's just the repetition. And it's not even like the new additions really add up to much in the long run, they just help to ensure that the narrative is even more convoluted. I don't know what else to say. The best advice I can give you is to wait a while before you watch this after watching the original. That time off will, hopefully, make this a more 'refreshing' experience for most of you. Decent at best, but it works more as the starting point to the acting career of one of the biggest stars in Hollywood (The Rock) than it works as a logical expansion of what was started with the original movie.
The Mummy Returns is not even comparable to the first film. It is slow, dumb, and ridiculous. You feel like you are just watching a worse version of The Mummy (1999).
Dated CGI, poor acting, emotionless melodrama, changed characterization, dull action, malaise pacing, and sloppy direction make The Mummy Returns a chore to sit through. An annoying child actor, odd casting, and endless references will have you thinking you would rather be watching the original movie. This is not only a bad sequel, but a poor movie by any standard.
Only die hard fans of the first film should even bother seeing The Mummy Returns.