"We don't have time for subtle," says Brendan Fraser, the star of The Mummy Returns
, neatly encapsulating the relentless pace and hammerheaded tone of the film. As is the way of sequels here we have more, more, more of the same formula: more explosions, more action and more mind-numbingly endless CGI effects. Once again borrowing shamelessly from the Indiana Jones
series, The Mummy Returns
, like its predecessor, has boundless energy but lacks the stylish verve and charm of Spielberg's trilogy. All the original cast are reunited, this time joined by WWF star the Rock in a cameo role designed to plug his spin-off vehicle, The Scorpion King
, and young actor Freddie Boath who plays an English eight-year-old in the 1930s whose dialogue borrows from Bart Simpson ("Get a room" and "My dad's gonna kick your arse" are two of his choice phrases). Other cinematic thefts include a Jurassic Park
-style creatures-in-the-long-grass sequence and a lengthy triple-threat finale along the lines of Return of the Jedi
. Still, despite the wearying relentlessness of its computer-generated effects, endless chases and fights, this is undeniably fun popcorn fodder and provides some memorable scenes along the way, notably Rachel Weisz and Patricia Velasquez battling it out for the affections of nasty old Imhotep.
On the DVD: This two-disc "Special Edition" is a treat for fans of the franchise. The first disc has an anamorphic widescreen print of the movie in its 2.35:1 CinemaScope ratio, and a choice of Dolby 5.1 or DTS for the headache-inducing soundtrack. There's a decent commentary from the director and producer, plus a couple of DVD-ROM features. Disc 2 has all the usual stuff, including a 20-minute "making-of" documentary, a five-minute interview with the Rock about The Scorpion King, plus an exclusive trailer for it that is unsurprisingly reminiscent of Conan the Barbarian. There are also some detailed special effects breakdowns of key sequences, a blooper reel of outtakes and a virtual tour of the Universal theme park attraction "The Mummy Returns Chamber of Doom". Sundry trailers, production notes, a music video and an "Egyptology 201" text feature round out a well-loaded second disc. --Mark Walker
Flanked by fabulous computer-generated battle scenes that would make Braveheart
proud, The Mummy Returns
is a fast-paced sequel that surpasses the 1999 original in terms of action. Virtually the entire cast has come back for another exciting go-round, this time trying to prevent Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo) from gaining control of the Bracelet of Anubis and taking on the Scorpion King (The Rock) for control of the world. But to gain that power, Imhotep and his vicious true love, Anck-Su-Namun (Patricia Velasquez), must get to the Oasis of Ahm Shere before Rick O'Connell (Brendan Fraser), his wife Evie (Rachel Weisz), their son Alex (Freddie Boath), the mysterious Ardeth Bay (Oded Fehr), and Evie's brother Jonathan (John Hannah, who provides much of the comic relief). Set in 1933, The Mummy Returns
combines elements of the Star Wars
and Indiana Jones
films in letting loose a scintillating thrill-ride of a movie, chock-full of terrific special effects and marvelous locations (Morocco, Jordan, London), erupting in a spirited tale of flight and fantasy, sword and sorcery. The addition of Freddie Boath to the cast increases the suspense as well as the comedy--his scenes with the evil Lock-Nah (fiercely played by OZ veteran Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) are among the best in the film.